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Deer Calling Tips

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Tom Wiley

Tom’s Tips for using the flextone All-N-One Deer Call – or using two or three calls of another brand at the same time.

Let’s start with Early Season, or bow season in most parts of the country. This is one of the toughest times of the year to call a buck; luckily it is also one of the best times to catch a buck out feeding while his defenses are still down from going all summer without being pressured. That does not mean that I don’t call at all during this time of the year. It does mean that I don’t get to aggressive with my calling. I generally stick with the social type grunts, and playing on a deer’s maternal response.

Buck Collector from the Bone Collector series

Buck Collector from the Bone Collector series

All deer are conditioned to respond to the maternal grunt of a doe. This conditioning begins when fawns first hit the ground. It is the method that a doe keeps up with its fawns and simply means I am over here and stay close. As deer mature they will continue to use and respond to this type of call although the meaning may change to a small degree. Instead of the demanding stay close or get over here meaning to a fawn, as deer mature it starts to be more of a “I am a deer and I am over here”.  If my goal is to call a doe I pretty much stick to doe grunts, however I have had good success calling in bucks with the doe grunt as well, again I think the response is just a conditioned response from birth. If a buck is my primary focus I may use a social grunt of a buck to elicit the response of a buck’s nature to be in a bachelor group during this time of year. As the season moves toward the pre-rut period I start using the young buck grunt so I don’t intimidate subordinate bucks and may get a territorial response from the dominant buck if he has started defending his turf. If I am hunting over a food source I believe that the social grunt of both the doe and a young buck are interpreted as I am a deer and I am over here scarfing up all of the acorns or food. This gives a deer a couple of reasons to respond, one the maternal response and two they don’t want to miss out on all the grub. To produce the social grunt just blow into the call while squeezing the appropriate button (D) for a doe, (YB) for a young buck or don’t squeeze anything for a mature buck. It should be blown conservatively, two or three grunts in a series spaced out over about 30-45 seconds. It should sound something like this Uurrrp,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Uurrp,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Uurrp.  I generally give it at least 20-30 minutes before using the call again, as it sometimes takes a while for a deer to respond. I once called at a deer while it was feeding in a green field. It heard the social grunt as I blew it and looked in my direction but continued feeding. About fifteen minutes later, just about the time I had given up on it responding it started walking directly to me looking for the deer it thought it heard. It is also important not to blow the call while a deer is looking for the location of the deer it thought it heard because you don’t want to get pinpointed. When it is getting dark I may get a little bit more aggressive and call a little more often in an effort to make something happen before it is too late.

During the Pre-Rut Period (two to three weeks prior to the peak) I use a bucks desire to breed against him. While a lot of people are rattling and grunting, trying to take advantage of a buck’s dominance and territorial responses, I am imitating the sounds that you would hear during the peak of the rut. It is not that I don’t believe that the territorial theory doesn’t work, because it does especially in places that have a high buck to doe ratio, but you can get the same response as well as a breeding response by using peak of the rut sounds that incorporate buck grunts and doe estrus bleats. If you will use a call like our flextone All-N-One Deer Call you can produce the sounds of a tending buck hot on the trail of an estrus doe that is about to “stand” for the buck. This method elicits a territorial response, from the areas dominant buck, by sounding like another buck that has invaded the dominant buck’s territory. But even worse he is attempting to “steal” one of the dominant buck’s does. Using the call in this manner also plays on the bucks desire to breed, since a buck is ready to breed long before the does come into estrus. All the bucks are waiting on, is the time when a doe will stand for him. If it is a couple of weeks early, it is all the better for the lucky buck. Also, if you have ever witnessed a buck hot on an estrus does trail, this is definitely the time that they are the most venerable, indicating to me that the desire to breed is the emotion that I want to use against him. To use the flextone All-N-One Deer Call to produce the sounds of a tending buck and an estrus doe I start with a series of about 5 to 10 short grunts of a mature buck (to do this with the flextone call-just blow into the call without squeezing any of the buttons). It should sound kind of like this Urp, Urp,, Urp, Urp Urp, Urp, , Urp. When blowing the tending grunt, you can imagine the deer grunting at about the same time interval that one of his legs would be hitting the ground as he walks on the trail of a hot doe. Then without delay you can squeeze down on the (D) button on the call and blow one or two estrus bleats. They should sound something like this Neaaaaa,,,,Neaaaaa. I usually follow this with another series of Buck Tending Grunts. I would suggest giving it about 30 min. just to be sure there are not any cautious bucks in the neighborhood trying to spot the deer that he thought he heard before repeating this calling sequence. Last year I used this method to call in several bucks, one of which was starting to bed down in the middle of the day in a CRP field but once he heard the buck tending an estrus doe he left the bedding area and walked into the edge of the woods to within about 5 yards of the end of my muzzleloader barrel. I have the scenario on video but I chose not to shoot the buck. He was a nice 2 ½ year old 8 pointer that will make a good deer soon. Had he been on a piece of property that was not managed quite as well, it may have been a fatal mistake. I hope he falls for it again this year.

During the Post-Rut Period (the following month) I pretty much follow the same school of thought. With the exception that I am not using the (D) button for the estrus doe but instead I squeeze between the (D) doe button and the (F) fawn button to imitate the sounds of a doe fawn that may be coming into estrus for the first time during a secondary rut. Take in mind that most of my experience deer hunting is in the South where we often get to hunt a secondary rut that occurs in late January and we have a low Buck to Doe ratio. In this circumstance there may not be enough Bucks to breed all of the estrus does in the primary rut and some of the first year does may not have been mature enough to breed during the primary rut.

Happy Hunting!

TOM'S IL BUCK LO RES

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