November 26, 2019
By Mike Marsh
When the woods explode with deer activity — and sounds —master the following vocalizations to maximize your chances for success.
1. SOCIAL GRUNT (Buck)
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.
2. TRAILING GRUNT (Buck)
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.”
3. TENDING GRUNT (Buck)
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.
5. SNORT-WHEEZE (Buck)
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.
7. ESTRUS BLEAT (Doe)
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.
8. FAWN DISTRESS
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.