Deer Calls - Never Leave Home Without Them! By Alex Finigan Article # 5
You wouldn't go to your construction job without your tools, nor should you ever be caught deer hunting without at least one or more deer
calls. I wouldn't have taken half the whitetail bucks I've collected since I've been bow hunting without the aid of my trusty grunt calls. In fact I'm such a believer in their effectiveness that I've gone back to camp, a half hour trip, upon discovering that I had left them behind.
Grunt tubes, can calls, doe and fawn bleats, snort/wheeze, rattle bags, and actual deer antlers, plus electronic devices that create all the afore mentioned sounds are available. Any kind of vocalization a deer hunter might have heard a buck make is available in a call of some kind. Got to admit I've tried everything but the electronic type. My favorite and my best producer has been the True Talker tube call from Hunters Specialties.
Can calls usually mimic a fawn in distress or doe in heat. The fawn bawl is most likely to speak to a does maternal instincts. The doe pleat is meant to attract male suitors. Like the name, can calls are just that, cans. The hunter simply turns the can upside down and a bellows inside falls down pushing air through the reed producing which ever sound the call is supposed to make. Though I've never had a response using one I know hunters that swear they are effective.
The snort - wheeze calls are relatively new to the market place. These calls are meant to imitate the aggressive and loud response a dominant buck will make to a challenger encountered in his territory once the mating season has begun. I've had the good fortune to actually hear a couple of buck fights. Though I didn't see the fight, it was over in seconds, a huge bodied buck took on what I surmise was a much smaller fella. After a single crash of antlers the big guy let out a loud snort followed by a seconds long hiss. Though using this call might intimidate lesser bucks, the loud nature of the call might be good for long range calling in of mature bucks in the area.
Antlers, real and synthetic, are another type of call that many hunters swear by. There is historical proof that aboriginal hunters have employed rattling antlers to entice deer into close quarters for millennia. A dominant buck won't tolerate other bucks in his area during the rut. The sound of other bucks sparring in his domain will stand the hair of his mane straight up. He will come in looking to kick some butt. Rattling should commence as mere tickling of the antlers as many smaller bucks will spar as a test to establish pecking order. I see this on game cameras, often at night. Loud antler bashing, after establishing that there are no bucks close by, is capable of sending out a message several hundred yards.
I've tried rattling on several occasions. Most of the time I use rattling when nothing else seems to be working. My best result occurred when I was waiting for some buddies to meet at the canoe after a morning hunt. I thought what the heck. I had a small set of shed antlers with me and began to tickle the tines together. I just started a second round when a nice eight pointer stuck his head through some pine scrubs, gave me a good snorting and was gone. To say I was surprised is an understatement.
My favorite call and by far my most successful has been the grunt call. I always carry two. My True Talker and another grunt tube that has a slightly louder guttural sound. The reason I like the T.T. is the realistic feel of the tube, its flexible rubber like a bucks larynx, and makes a realistic sound. There are also pressure points on the call that when activated by finger pressure will make young buck, doe and fawn calls.
My routine for grunting is pretty simple. As soon as I get into my stand and I'm ready to shoot, I let out one short grunt , wait a second or two then grunt again. I do this about every fifteen minutes. I use the same routine when I'm still-hunting. It has been my experience that bucks will react in three different ways. They will ignore it and keep on doing what ever it was they were doing, grunt back at you and keep on keeping on, or they come on in looking for the buck that grunted at them. Grunting works whether you are on stand or still hunting. Hear a branch snap off in the distance, blow a short grunt and get ready.
Last Oct. 31 I was in my usual perch for the morning hunt. At twenty to eleven I did my usual two short grunts. At quarter to eleven I heard a grunt about fifty yards behind my tree stand. I got my bow in hand and blew one short grunt. In walked a real nice ten pointer to with-in fifteen yards of my stand. He gave me a great quartering away shot. His antlers are now on my camp wall.
So if you aren't already carrying a variety of calls why not try a couple out. It will greatly improve your odds of getting close to deer you may not even know are there.