Deer calls can be a very effective way to bring deer close to your stand. When used properly, both bucks and does can be enticed to follow the right sound to its source. Deer respond to calls for sex, companionship, and violence.
Let’s start with the violence. Most people do not associate deer with violent behavior, but big, mature bucks can be extremely aggressive. During the rutting season, big bucks do not want smaller animals servicing their females. They will find these interlopers and drive them from the area. That being said, this aggressive behavior occurs most often just a before or right at the beginning of the rut. If there are a lack of does, this calling works well. However once the breeding commences and if there are plenty of does about, this calling becomes not only ineffective, it can chase deer away.
The aggressive calls include rattling and blaaaats. The blaaat call works to get the attention of the bucks in the area. Once or twice is all you need. The rattling process is quite different. Deer can hear a long ways and are used to picking up non-typical sounds. Remember that a fight between bucks can go on for ten seconds or twenty minutes, but the secret to calling by rattling horns is to not be caught with the horns in your hands when the buck comes running.
Big bucks often use intimidation rather than actual contact. A big buck can bluff a smaller buck right off the mountain. Often, however, a big buck will approach the scene of the rattling with caution. They will circle the action, coming in upwind to make sure of the size of the enemy before engaging. So it is best to rattle a bit, put down the horns, and wait at least ten minutes before engaging again.
Think of buck behavior. If you had the choice between fighting another buck or chasing a doe about, what would you choose? Right! This is why the sound of a doe is the sweetest sound that ever comes to the ears of a buck. As a result, the most effective way to call in a big buck is to sound like a needy doe.
The trick is that the calls have to be soft and social. We are not trying to scare anything away, we are trying to entice them closer. Deer are very social animals. They like being next to each other. If you have ever had the chance to observe a herd of deer in action, they talk to each other all of the time. They are usually low grunts or light bleats that can be only heard a short distance away. They also snort when they are startled or want the attention of another deer that has moved off.
The soft doe grunts are how a doe communicates with their fawn or other females. She uses it to call the fawn to her to feed or to just keep track of them. A Usually a single grunt is all that is necessary. Therefore, when calling with a grunt call do NOT OVERDO it. One or two grunts every ten minutes or so is all you need. If you see a deer, STOP CALLING. They have heard you and will come in to the source. If you overcall you stand the chance of detection.
When does come in heat they bleat. It has a particular tone to it that differentiates it from a fawn bleat. When bucks hear that bleat they come a-running because they know what it means. Try about three bleats three to five seconds apart and then stop for ten minutes. Follow that up with a series of grunts.
All of calling is an attempt to bring deer to your stand. Like calling turkey, geese or ducks, when you get them coming....SHUT UP! You can only screw it up if you continue. Remember that sitting in a stand is more than dozing off in the warm sunlight only to be surprised by an animal right under your feet. Hunting from a stand is an active sport. You have to remain attentive at all times and be ready for the action when it happens.
I like quizzes. True or False:
1. Aggressive rattling is the best way to bring in a big buck.
2. Does do not grunt.
3. Bucks can only be called during the height of the rut.
4. A tending grunt will only call other bucks.
5. Calling often and loudly will increase the number of deer coming to your stand.
6. Call only when you see deer.
7. Fawn calls or bleats are good for calling does in heat.
8. The best way to call a buck is to sound like another buck.
9. The grunt is the only deer sound that calls bucks.
These are all false or at best sometimes.
Be sure to practice bringing your gun to your shoulder. Think of all of the angles a deer can approach your tree and have a plan for each. Listen, watch and call once in a while.
Make your stand a comfortable place to be so that you are relaxed and can sit quietly for long periods of time. Enjoy the process of hunting more than the result.