Skip to main content Skip to main content

8 Deer Vocalizations You Must Master

Learn the lingo to improve your odds in the whitetail woods.

8 Deer Vocalizations You Must Master
Shutterstock image

When the woods explode with deer activity — and sounds —master the following vocalizations to maximize your chances for success.


The best-known deer call is the simple social grunt. A buck uses this call to keep tabs on other deer, especially a doe he knows is near but may not be able to see. It is a low volume call, usually a single note. A hunter making this call may induce a buck to answer or come closer.


A buck trailing a doe that is rife for breeding makes rapid, multiple, low-volume calls that may even have a ticking sound. To blow the ticking call, use the same technique duck hunters use for blowing a mallard feed call, tonguing the mouthpiece while saying “ticket, ticket, ticket.”


The tending grunt is low and reassuring in tone, more frequent than the social grunt and less frequent than the trailing grunt sequence. The note may also be longer in duration. Hunters using this call near active scrapes may draw in a buck that thinks another buck has a hot doe in his sights.

4. ROAR (Buck)

The loudest buck call is one many hunters have never heard,and it sounds like a chainsaw or an ATV. The call rises and falls in tone with successive calls lasting as long as a hunter’s breath. The call’s best application is attracting a dominant buck at the peak of the rut.


This buck call can mean that a buck has seen another buck, caught the scent of another buck or smells urine scent placed by a hunter. It can indicate dominance over another buck or that there is a potential to other deer, especially to a doe the buck is following. A hunter who sees a buck with a doe that is out of range can use it to draw the buck closer. It may also draw an unseen buck from cover. However, it could have the unintended consequences of a buck ramming a doe with its antlers to chase her into cover or chasing a subordinate buck away.

6. GRUNT (Doe)

Does make grunts that have several meanings. A single, short grunt sounding like a low, monotone moo calls her fawn from cover and attracts deer of all ages and sexes. A loud, short grunt made infrequently indicates she wants a buck to keep tabs on her. A loud, short grunt is an aggressive or territorial call used to warn another doe or unwanted buck away from her fawn or a food source. It is excellent for attracting a doe to fill an either-sex tag.


The doe in estrus bleat is a pleading call of longer duration than a grunt. It may rise and fall in tone and taper in volume and can bring a buck on the run.


The fawn in distress call is blown in the same manner as a dying rabbit call for predator hunting. Blown loudly and plaintively with full force, the call is made with as many squeals as the hunter has breath. Its best use is to chase deer away from a hunter’s stand. Blown less aggressively, it may attract a doe with a defensive instinct.

Calls that help

Primos Can: Primos makes Can calls in different sizes. The Great Big Can sounds like a buck, the Original Can, a doe, and the Lil’ Can simulates a fawn. Holding the can with one hand and bumping the underside with the heel of the hand mimics trailing buck grunts.

Flextone All-n-One: When I hunted with Tom Wiley, inventor of Flextone calls, his latest call was the All-N-One. When he demonstrated its use as a predator call, I remembered witnessing a bobcat killing a fawn and nearby deer scattering. Consequently, as far as I know, I became the first hunter to blow a fawn in distress call to repel deer, chasing 18 from a food plot. Before that, Wiley and other hunters did other things, including rattling rocks in a tin can. Pinching marked tabs changes the length of the reed for blowing buck, doe and fawn vocalizations.

Mad Snort-Wheeze: The Mad Snort-Wheeze simplifies this complicated combination deer sound. Used to incite a territorial or aggressive breeding response, this call stops a dominant buck and pulls him closer.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Crash Course: How to Fish Bass-Rich Shoreline Points

Crash Course: How to Fish Bass-Rich Shoreline Points

In this episode of "Crash Course," host Shane Beilue covers techniques for catching bass on shoreline points. When your time is limited, target points to intercept bass throughout the day.

 The Inspiring Side of Skeet Reese You

The Inspiring Side of Skeet Reese You've Never Heard Before

If you're a longtime fan of professional bass fishing, it's all but impossible to not see the presence that California angler Skeet Reese has had in the sport.

Umarex The Modern Air Rifle: Air Archery with the Umarex AirJavelin

Umarex The Modern Air Rifle: Air Archery with the Umarex AirJavelin

The AirJavelin takes airpower into a whole new direction, with no strings attached. Powered by CO2, it launches a 170-grain arrow at 300 fps. With a full-length Picatinny rail on top and a short section below the barrel, it can be accessorized to the hilt. So, if you're interested in launching dozens of arrows downrange without ever pulling a bowstring, consider the Umarex AirJavelin.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now