WHITETAIL DEER TALK LEARN THE LANGUAGE
While working a trade show, three hunters came to my booth. I asked them if they were ready for deer season. They all said that they were about ready. I asked them if they had a grunt tube Two of the three replied with a nod, but the third one said I have one but I don't use it . And why do you not use it? I asked. It spooks deer, he replied hesitantly. You are absolutely right. It does spook some deer when you sound like this, I said as I made a series of mature buck grunts. The deer you spooked was a young buck, right? I asked as I looked at the puzzled hunter. Yeah. How did you know that? he asked. I explained to the perplexed hunter that I have called deer for many years and seen a lot of different reactions by different bucks of different age class, and I have seen young bucks react negatively many times. I told the young hunter that when you make the grunt of a mature buck and a younger buck hears it, he instantly thinks that he has intruded into a bully's space. Most likely, he has been thrashed a time or two by an older buck, and he will go into a submissive posture, often lying down on the ground, or he will break and run to put some space between him and the older buck. I also told him not to give up on his grunt tube because I feel it is one of the most important pieces of equipment that a deer hunter can have, regardless of where on the planet he is hunting whitetails but you do have to know what to say, and when to say it.
Not long ago I called in a young buck. He came into the edge of the overgrown field I was set up on, and as soon as he left the brush, he laid down in the tall sage grass. I watched him for a half-hour or more. He stayed until a doe entered the field, but he did not get up immediately. He watched the doe for maybe ten minutes, long enough to make sure the coast was clear, and then he ran the doe out of the field. He was sure he had heard another buck there, and he came in to see what was up, but he was very careful about what he did.
You have to know the language before you can speak it. If you do not want to spook young bucks, don't use mature buck grunts. Mature buck grunts are deep and low pitched. Younger bucks have a higher pitched grunt. If you are hunting an area with a number of older class bucks, use the mature buck grunt when you call. Regardless of what you have seen on TV and hunting videos, bucks normally do not make a series of grunts, unless they are trailing a hot doe. Most of the time when a buck is moving through the woods he makes a single grunt that we will call a contact grunt. He is saying, Hello, I'm over here. He may grunt several times over a period of minutes as he moves, but only one at a time. When he hears another buck grunt, he will answer, and then the grunting activity will pick up. This time when he grunts, he is saying, Where are you? and he expects to hear a reply. I have heard this many times, and in the pre-rut and the peak of the rut, these grunting matches often end up in a knockdown, dragout fight between two bucks of similar age class. Most of the time, there is a doe in estrous or a doe that is about to come into estrous nearby.
During the pre-rut, using a doe in heat bleat call in conjunction with a grunt tube will bring some great results. Again, you have to know the language. I was muzzleloader hunting just before the full blown rut hit, and I had twelve deer pass my stand, two of which were small bucks. The rest were does and fawns. I could not help but believe that there was a mature buck somewhere nearby, monitoring the group of does and fawns. I took my grunt tube and made three doe in heat bleats followed by a series of tending grunts that a mature buck makes when he has his nose up a hot does tail. When the buck makes the tending grunts, it means that he is either breeding a doe or is going to mount her in the next few minutes. Within three minutes, I saw a grizzled old warrior of a buck coming in a stiff-legged trot with his hair bristling. This was his turf, and if anyone was going to mount a doe, it was going to be him. I was not using a decoy and the buck stopped to look for the buck and doe he had heard. When he presented me a good shot, I tripped the trigger on my T/C Encore muzzleloader. Hit behind the right shoulder, the old buck didn't go very far.
In this situation, I did not care if I spooked the young bucks; they were not my intended quarry. I was hunting a mature buck and I made him think that another mature buck had intruded on his turf, and was infringing on his mating privileges. It was a few days before the peak of the rut, but it was late enough for there to be a few does ready to come into estrous, so I took advantage of the situation.
Using a deer call is a great way to harvest a buck. I always make sure my calls are in my back pack when I am hunting. As mentioned I have experienced some very exciting hunts while using calls. While calls work and they work well donít expect to call a buck in every time you blow on a grunt tube. Some bucks are very aggressive and may come to a call quiet easily, looking for a doe or a fight. It is these aggressive bucks that end up on a hunterís wall.
Other bucks may be more passive and cautious and try to avoid confrontation. These bucks may be reluctant to come to a call and slip through the woods like a gray ghost, breeding does in their own quiet little way. These are the bucks that are very difficult to kill. Bucks such as this grow old and pass their genes on down to future generations.
Sometimes bucks may not come to a call simply because they can not hear it or they may be preoccupied with a doe. There are several reasons why bucks do not come to a call every time, but be assured calling deer is exciting and it is very effective.
If you do not have a grunt tube, go buy one before your next hunting trip. Learn the whitetail language. Here are some of the basic calls:
Contact Grunt bucks use this call to communicate with each other. Bucks will come to this call just to check out the unfamiliar buck that they just heard. Normally, they will respond by making one grunt. When you hear them grunt, grunt to them again. After the initial contact, do not make more than one grunt each time you respond. A young buck will have a higher pitch grunt than an older buck. Deep grunts may spook young bucks that have been whipped by an older buck.
Trailing Grunt often when a buck is trailing a doe, but she is not receptive yet, the buck will grunt every few seconds. The grunts that the buck makes are just short grunts, but he may do it for several minutes as he goes through the woods with him head held close to the ground.
Growl this is simply an elongated grunt that a buck makes when he is upset. Some like to call this a roar, but it is the same sound, different name used by different people
Tending Grunt is a series of very short grunts ran together that sounds like tattat about as fast as you can do it on a grunt tube. The name tending grunt tells us that the buck has either mounted a doe or is going to mount her immediately. This is more than a mature buck can stand because he thinks another buck is breeding or going to breed a doe on his turf. I use this call in conjunction with a doe in heat bleat
Doe in Heat Bleat is a fairly high pitched, drawn out bleat. Most call companies have turn over, snuff can type doe in heat bleat calls. If you don't have one, I strongly recommend that you go buy one, or buy a True Talker grunt tube because you can easily reproduce this sound with it.
SnortWheeze This sound made only by a mature buck is a quick series of exhaled air followed by a long exhale of air. It sounds very much like you have punctured a tire on your truck. What a mature buck is saying when he makes this very aggressive sound is I don't like you and I am going to teach you a lesson right now! If you see a mature buck that is out of range, there is a serious possibility that you can use the snortwheeze to bring him into shooting range, especially if you are using a buck decoy.
There are other calls that deer make, but these are the ones that you will find most useful. It is not hard to learn these calls and learn when to use them. Well known whitetail hunter and guide Russell Thornberry made the statement one time that he didn't care if his hunters took a set of rattling antlers on a hunt or not, but he insisted that all of them have a grunt tube around their neck. This emphasizes the fact that Mr. Thornberry puts a lot of faith in using deer calls to call in bucks