10 Rules of Whitetail Calling (Part III)

Looking back over the last 30 bucks I’ve shot, I’m not surprised to find that 11 of them came within bow range only because I called to them.


8.) Should You Call Blind? I don't like to educate deer. When the season starts, I have one overriding mission: to hunt every day until the end without educating a single deer. When you call to a deer, it comes in looking for the source of the sound. Don't forget that the source is you. When you are calling to deer you have seen passing out of range, you have the luxury of being able to track their approach. There are no surprises. But when you call blindly to any deer within earshot, you never know when they will sneak in or from what direction.

The odds are much higher that they will hang back in the brush and watch long enough to see you moving around in the tree before you ever see them. Deer are amazingly good at pinpointing the exact location from which a sound emanated. They will have your tree pegged right down to its roots. When they get close, they will go on red alert, hypersensitive to any sound or movement. It is tough to keep from being detected under these conditions.

The main reason I don't call blindly is because I am a fidgety person. I can't sit still for very long. I keep my head moving and keep scanning around my stand, but I also change positions often. I can get by with it because I am usually hunting relaxed deer that are moving naturally. They aren't sneaking around looking for me. I don't like my odds if they are hunting me.
If you are good at sitting still, then blind calling is a good way to up your odds. If you are fidgety, then blind calling will likely result in some dramatic encounters where the biggest buck snorts and blows out just before you can grab your bow or gun. You'll never see him from that stand again.

9.) Wandering Bucks are Easiest When bucks are wandering aimlessly through the woods, they will usually stop and consider your call. Half will take at least a few steps your way and about half of those will come close enough to cause an adrenaline rush. There is no doubt that bucks moving without a destination are easiest to call. It makes sense to work especially hard on these bucks because they present the highest odds.

If they don't respond to your first attempt, such as a simple grunt, you should try other calls such as bleats, rattling and even a snort-wheeze. Do everything possible to exploit aimless bucks. This is especially effective in the search phases of the rut, before and after the peak. Bucks at this time are cruising hard, looking for an estrous doe under every bush, and so should respond to a grunt presented the right way.

10.) Best Time to Call Without question, the rut is the best time to call. Every study I have read concludes that the week leading up to peak breeding and the week after peak breeding produce the highest response rate. Most of my success with calling has occurred during the rut as well. However, rattling and grunting are effective much earlier in the season. Bucks begin sparring to establish dominance and to test their new and bigger headgear as soon as they lose their velvet. You can interest them with the sounds of sparring.

Bucks are curious during the early season and they like to show other bucks they are the boss even if the encounters lack the vicious intent they will so prominently feature a month later. Soft rattling will attract bucks in the early season.
There are certainly a few gimmicks in the hunting world, but calling is not one of them. Grunting and rattling are tried-and-true methods that have the power to increase your success rate dramatically. Keep it simple, but more importantly, keep doing it. 

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2 Responses to 10 Rules of Whitetail Calling (Part III)

Lorn Anschutz wrote:
October 08, 2012

I have had a great deal of success with my grunt call. I generally use the three grunt succession spaced apart 5-7 seconds. I typically will grunt blind once and hour and also at every passing deer >100 yards. Last year I took a 173 12 pt with double two inch drops using this method. I first saw him at 100 yards on the prowl through some pines shortly after the blind grunt. The buck was on a mission. After two more soft grunts he turned 90 degrees without slowing and walked right under my tree. It is impressive that deer are able to pinpoint a call in the woods relying strictly on their ears. Magnificent animals! I've tried rattling my entire life and have only seen it work once. It happened on a bitter cold day the second week of November. After a brief rattling sequence 5 different bucks came within view all from different areas. I'm assuming there was a hot doe in the area to help and it was peak rut. No shooters however I was awful proud of myself and it sure boosted my confidence in rattling. I was beginning to wonder if i was doing something wrong and scaring deer before that day. Confidence is key with whatever you do and I firmly believe I have seen more bucks due to calling then not. Stay safe and good luck hunting!

Your Namesteve may wrote:
November 28, 2011

Comments...I have never been able to call in a buck. I read your post and might have learned a few things. going to the woods to try them out right now. thanks.