Put Down the Grunt Call

Put Down the Grunt Call
A grunt call is only one of several calls that Harold Knight, of Sheffield Financial's Ultimate Hunting, uses to pull in trophy bucks. (Photo courtesy Knight and Hale)

Sure, the grunt call gets all the press, but sometimes it takes a different kind of sound to bring in the big buck. Here are a few deer calling tips that will have you on using the full range of deer vocalizations to your advantage.

Doe Bleat and Grunt

Deer are far more vocal than many hunters believe. It's just that the sounds are often so quiet that hunters never hear them unless the deer is directly under the stand. A doe bleat and grunt is most effective from late pre-rut to post-rut. Remember, the secondary rut occurs a month after the peak of the first rut. The reason doe sounds are effective at this time is simple -- bucks are looking for does to breed.

Follow the normal deer calling rules when using doe bleats or grunt calls. A tip-over call or mouth-blown doe bleater should be used sparingly. Produce a couple of bleats every 20 or 30 minutes at most, and watch down wind for bucks to sneak in and attempt to smell the doe. Use some doe estrous urine set to both sides of your stand, and hunt as scent-free as possible. Anytime you call you can position the deer downwind, and if it smells you instead of the hot doe he heard, that buck is out of there.

When using a mouth-blown doe call, practice at home or in the truck on the way to your deer hunting spot so you can consistently produce the proper "baaaawwl." Use it sparingly to avoid letting a buck pinpoint your exact location, and if using in the early morning, wait until good shooting light to produce your first bleat.


Fawn Bleat

Fawn bleats can be effective all season long for one reason – a doe's maternal instinct. The mournful bleats of a lost-fawn will bring any doe within earshot in to investigate. If you're hunting does, have at it. But this does not mean that a fawn bleat will only work on does. During late pre-rut to late post-rut, the doe that investigates may have a buck in tow, so while all of the other hunters are blowing their best grunts at every buck in the woods, a fawn bleat can be your ace in the hole. This is comparable to calling to a gobbler with hens. You can't call the gobbler away, but you may attract the hen and she pulls in the gobbler.


Another way to use a fawn bleat call is to call in a distressed manner. The payoff is that the hunter never knows what will approach the sound of the deer call. It could be a buck or a doe, or it could be one of your local predators looking for a free meal. When using a fawn-in-distress call, begin quietly for a minute or so before cranking up the volume. Remember that fawns have smaller lungs than you do, so keep your breaths into the call short. The fawn-in-distress call is excellent for bringing does in to investigate.

Snort Wheezers

The snort-wheeze is a sound bucks make that is interpreted as aggression. It's a fantastic call to go to when your grunts are being ignored. The snort wheeze is a call that can be effective all season long.Snort wheeze calls often are used in association with grunt calls and rattling. Use the "fffttt, fffftttt, fshhhhhhhh" of a snort wheeze call to add another component to your rattling/grunting sequence or to top off a grunt to a visible buck. Often the snort wheeze call is more than a buck can take, kinda like talking about someone's Mama. Them's fightin' words.

Rattling Devices

Rattling calls evoke the sound of two deer clashing, and if used correctly, can be effective all season long, but really shines from the late pre-rut to the post-rut. It's the sound of two bucks fighting, and brings in bucks for several reasons. First and foremost, everything loves to see a good brawl. Just like the Fighting Purr system in turkey hunting, rattling for deer brings in young and adult animals alike.

Another reason rattling works is its volume. A good clashing of antlers can be heard much farther away than a grunt or snort-wheeze call. Don't be shy when rattling. Ensure there are no deer in view prior to producing a sound, then really go at it. Buck fights can go on for more than a minute, so don't be afraid to get into it. Quick slams and hard grinding of the antlers or Rattle Bag can reproduce the sound of two bucks really going at it.


Add in a few grunts and maybe a snort wheeze at the end (or even during, if possible) of your rattling sequence provides the realism you need to pull in a buck. Again, watch downwind for bucks sneaking in and trying to get a whiff of the bucks it hears.

More of a visual learner? Watch Sheffield Financial's Ultimate Hunting, and Chris Brackett’s Arrow Affliction and Fear No Evil to learn how to calling in the big boys.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

See More Trending Articles

More Hunting How-To

Many predator hunters fail at the outset with improper setups. Don't be one of them. Predator

5 Steps to Successful Predator Setups

Matthew J. Breuer - December 27, 2019

Many predator hunters fail at the outset with improper setups. Don't be one of them.

Dog days of November in the Appalachians, where four-legged experts are eager to find and scatter flocks for you to call to the gun. Turkey

Bucket List: Fall Turkey Hunting of Your Life

Larry Case - November 25, 2019

Dog days of November in the Appalachians, where four-legged experts are eager to find and...

Achieving perfection requires practice and an understanding of fundamentals. Guns

Field Skills: The Perfect Trigger Press

Todd Burgreen - December 25, 2019

Achieving perfection requires practice and an understanding of fundamentals.

The challenges of the late season can also yield ruffed grouse success. Waterfowl

Late-Season Ruffs When It's Tough

Matt Soberg - December 18, 2019

The challenges of the late season can also yield ruffed grouse success.

See More Hunting How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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