The early October morning was getting hot. I’d seen a few does far off between the trees, but that was two hours before. I wanted to fill a doe tag and had come to this stand in the early season for that purpose. Before climbing down I decided to try a bleat call, as I didn’t think it could hurt. I didn’t expect much but then, just a minute later, a doe group came in fast. The lead doe had that “searching” expression on her face we more often associate with bucks in the rut. She approached my tree in such a rush that I almost didn’t get my bow off its hook before she was under my stand.
Since then I’ve learned the early season is a great time to bleat like a fawn. This works best near doe bedding areas. It’s not magic—what is?—but I have now killed a lot of does using this method.
There are basically two types of bleats we can utilize when hunting: a fawn-in-distress bleat and a doe-in-estrous bleat. In the pre-rut when I want to fill a doe tag, I try a fawn-in-distress bleat with a single-reed mouth call like Knight & Hale’s Single Reed Fawn Bleat. When the woods are quiet, distress bleats can reach surprisingly far. Later in the rut, a doe-in-estrous bleat can be a convincer to bring in a cruising buck. Honestly, I’ve never heard a doe in estrous make this call, but I have had a lot of bucks respond positively to it. For this, nothing works better than The Great Big Can from Primos. Just keep it in your pocket, and flip it over and back again to bring a buck into bow range.