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10 Rules of Whitetail Calling (Part II)

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.

5.) Use the Right Tone Some calls, such as Primos' RubberNeck Deer Grunt, will change tones from young to mature buck grunts. Though this is part marketing, using the right tone with a buck does help. For example, if you see a young buck cruising that you want to call in, don't start making deep, guttural grunts, because they might scare him off. Some calls also sound more realistic than others. Larger, especially soft tubes tend to make the most realistic grunts. But most calls can get it done if you know the tune. Watch hunting videos and replay scenes that air buck grunts. If you get to hear a real buck grunt, take note of its age and what it was doing when it made those sounds. Just like people can say "thank you" and mean very different things based on their tone, so can a buck's grunt.

6.) Call to Traveling Bucks One of the largest bucks ever killed in the Midwest with a bow fell to Roy Allison's arrow in southern Iowa in 1995. It was the biggest buck killed in North America that year. Roy saw the buck chasing some does in a small, isolated soybean field in mid-November. As the group began moving away, Roy got aggressive. He grunted, rattled and finally smashed and scraped a big branch against the tree. Nothing would draw that buck away from the does. However, two hours later, right at sunset, Mr. Big came sneaking back to investigate the ruckus-all 1935/8 net typical inches of him.

The buck didn't respond initially to the calls he heard until he finally grew tired of the does' continual rebuffs. That is when he came back to investigate. Roy shot the buck at 20 yards as it slipped past his tree.

I once shot a buck a full hour after I called to him. I saw him go past in the distance following a doe, but he merely stopped and looked my way before continuing. Eventually he found himself alone and came back for a look. I shot him at 25 yards as he stood staring into the cover near my stand.

The moral of these two stories is simple: Call to every buck that goes past out of range, even when they are so preoccupied that you know they won't respond immediately. And then stay alert because you never know what will happen.

7.) Keep It Simple Fancy calling is fun, but I have had my best luck with simple calls-three-note grunts. I use the first grunt to get the buck's attention and then give him two more, spaced apart about five seconds, to home in on. There are probably times when a long run of hyperventilation grunts, sounding like a dog panting, will pay off. A buck makes this sound when he is chasing a doe. He grunts with every lunge. Yet, just as 90 percent of the gobblers will come in to the simplest of hen yelps, 90 percent of the bucks will come in to a simple three-grunt series.

There is also no reason to make rattling any harder than it needs to be. I've watched several buck fights-one right under my treestand. They try to kill each other. It is the most uninhibited violence in creation. Snot, flesh, sticks and hair fly in all directions. There is no way you can physically duplicate this horrible life-and-death battle merely with a set of antlers in your hands sitting 20 feet up in a tree. So anything you do will pale by comparison. However, you can duplicate the sparring and the first engagement of two bucks when they square off.

There is really no right or wrong way to rattle. Clash the antlers and grind them as loudly as you can for about 30 seconds and then hang them immediately and get ready. If nothing appears within a few minutes, repeat for another 30 seconds and then hang the antlers for an hour.

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1 Response to 10 Rules of Whitetail Calling (Part II)

Doug Butts wrote:
December 06, 2013

Calling is fun. It keeps me in the woods during midday when a doe can bring a bruiser by my stand. Calling makes things happen. I called up a nice 8 ptr. one day and he stopped behind a large clump pf poplar trees and he was out of my view, but guess what he was not out another hunter's view, he nailed him. I enjoy trying to learn the do's and don'ts of calling.