Calling in that Buck

We all have seen them, those pro hunting videos where the hunter is sitting in a tree stand and is discussing to the camera how the area they are hunting has been recently scouted out for signs of bucks and shows the potential for a good one to show up. After the build up the hunter starts to use a deer call then switches to a rattle bag and rattles for a few seconds with the confidence of seeing that good buck. Moments later the hunter swings to the camera and says, "here comes a good size one." Then as we watch, the hunter draws back his bow and waits for that perfect shot. He releases the arrow and it hits its target perfect. Another well-planned hunt comes to a close and the hunter turns to the camera with a big smile on his face and says, "heís down".

The first thought that comes to our mind after we see the short but fast and productive video is to go to a local sporting goods department and purchase some of the items used on the video. As we all know videos leave out the hard work and patience needed to use those calls and rattles in the real woods we hunt in. And unlike our woods, the farms most of these hunters tape on are so overpopulated with deer, the time and patience are left out and these folks are more concerned with selling a product than on how to actually use them the correct way. So what happens is we buy these products only to find out they donít produce the deer, as fast as we expect and they end up in a drawer along with other unwanted hunting equipment.

As I write this article I am hoping to stir up those feelings of accomplishment we all want to see while using calls and rattling.

What calls to use and why.

The fawn bleat and doe bleats are the calls I use for pre-rut. One reason for this is because the deer travel in groups and second, you will see that most of the time the bucks are within these groups because they have not broke away from the doe yet to prepare for mating and there own domain areas. The doe and fawns are usually the first to act on these calls due to the calls non-aggressive manner. And usually as these deer react to these calls a buck will more than likely be there for you to get a shot at. I have used the fawn bleat and doe bleats many times without a situation where I scared the deer off because of their use.

The fawn bleat alerts young ones to the manner of being curious enough to venture a few yards away from their mothers to see what it is about. Adult doeís with there motherly instinct, even while out feeding, will be even more curious to the distress call of a young deer in trouble to the point of going to the area of the sound and investigating.

The doe bleat has also called in many deer for me during pre-rut. I have called in both doe and buck within minutes of hitting this call. I seem to think that the call lets other deer in the area know that the deer are present and are looking to get together for feeding purposes.

The buck grunt is a good all purpose call. I use this one for pre-rut and rut. But this call is one that is the most carried and most over used one in the huntersí bag of tricks. I have used this call through out the whole hunting season and have stopped deer dead in their tracks. The trick with this call is to not over do it. Some hunters seem to think if you hit this call real loud and many times it will get the attention of the deer, mostly a buck. Well this is one thing not to do. The grunt call should be used only in a non-aggressive manner and only in a certain time span.

The estrus bleat should only be used strictly for rut. This is a call to carefully use and not over do. I also only use this call when I know I have scouted and area and buck signs, mostly territorial rubs and scrapes are there. If you use the estrus bleat with no rut signs then chances will have it you will alert the area with a sound that would be unnatural and either the buck are not in rut and ready for this, and the does are not in estrus. So you would not get any responses and even worse, scare the deer away because of not being ready for the sound for that time of year.

Rattling antlers. (Shed or synthetic) or bags. These are something else I reserve strictly for rut. I have tried them in pre-rut with no response at all. But once you see the bucks territorial rubs and scrapes, this is the best thing going in calls. When a buck hears this in or around his domain he will beat a path to your stand within minutes to challenge what ever buck he feels is in there. I prefer the rattle bags over the antlers. They are easier to carry and are so much safer. They also use two sets of rods inside the bag to make the tones of two different bucks fighting instead of one set of antlers clanking together.

How to use deer calls.

This is the biggest question of them all and the easiest to do and remember but the hardest to mentally control. All calls with the exception of the rattle I use in this manner and has proven to be the best way to work the calls without scaring the deer off into the woods. It also has produced the most deer seen for me.

I always use the fawn bleat, doe bleat, buck grunt and estrus bleat the same way. I have experimented with this for years before I was 100% sure this was the most productive way. One thing I had noticed was how the deer respond to the way these are all called on. What I mean is the same pattern. I would say that the deer defiantly have a set pattern they listen for with all deer. Buck, doe and fawns. This proves what I said about calling too much. They know this is not a natural call.

Hit the calls the same.

Use a non aggressive hit 3 times in a row,no more than 15 minutes apart.

Thats it.

Like I said, control is the key here. Donít be tempted to go hard and loud, and more than the explanation above. Some will say they have done it different and seen deer, I donít doubt it, but this is what has proved to be the most productive in any situation in the woods for me over the years.


One key point I would like to stress here is not to go so crazy with motion. If you are out of breath to the point of huffing and puffing after a rattle sequence you are giving it too much. These are whitetail deer not elk banging antlers. That is why its called rattling, not banging. Its ok to give a little more effort on a windy day to push the sound through the woods, but not to the point of being worn out. Keep in mind, if the buck is in your area of hunt, it will not take long for him to get to your shooting lanes, and you donít want to be breathing heavy and exhausted to mess up that shot.

Here is the steps of the rattle sequence:

1. Start out with a quick snap of the bag or bang of the antlers. Then pause for about 2 seconds.

2. Then slowly work the antlers or bag together for about 5 seconds then snap apart. Repeat again.

3. Then tickle the antlers or bag together, in a way bucks would step into each other and work there antlers, sort of a calm tease or breather.

4. Then repeat the first step again. End the sequence with a quick snap of the bag or pull apart of the antlers.

This should last no more than 40 or 45 seconds in time length.

Another key thing to think about here is to think of 2 bucks doing this while you are going through the sequence instead of just making noise. You will be surprised how this helps out in concentration.

Combination calling.

Another thing I want to mention is what I call the combination calling method. Doing this has created the most excitement while hunting and using calls for me. This method works great if control and patience is at hand.

It is taking 2 or even 3 calls using the methods I mentioned and combining them to make the deer sound like they are not by themselves but out in the woods looking for each other or even have spotted each other.

This method I also reserve for the rut.

The buck grunt and estrus bleat combined in this manner has called in both buck and doe for me. I also combined these 2 with a rattle bag to call in a nice buck.

Just use the calling and rattling methods above and follow them up with each other or even mix them together.

Realism at its best.

One more combination method that I have done is with my hunting partner.

Use the combination calls with a fellow hunter positioned no more than 60 or 70 yards away from you. While you are hitting the buck grunt they could be using the estrus bleat or be rattling. This will give depth to the calls in the woods and put the real in realism.

My hunting partner and me have called in a lot of deer over the years doing this. It is deadly. A method learned from the turkey hunters.

How Deer Calls Sound.

This will sum up the sound you should be hearing.






I truly hope this will help out hunters and understand some of the mystery surrounding calls and rattling. I have done a lot of years experimenting and studied information on how these all work but until I started seeing the results myself, thatís all it was, experimenting. Therefore that is why I would like to pass this information on to you, the real woods hunter, so you can get those calls out or go purchase some and use these methods I have covered and start seeing quicker results for yourself. Like I said, patience is a must here, you wont always see the deer, but I know for a fact, the methods I have covered here work to get those does and PAbucks moving to your advantage.

BY Henry Weatherwalk

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