How To Call Deer
Knowing how to call deer means knowing that there's not one correct way to do it. There are a variety of calls you can muster, and each is appropriate for certain situations. Utilizing pheromones can be an effective technique for attracting deer, but mastering a few calls, grunts and bleats will truly round out your hunting experience. The following guide will explain a variety of calls and their most effective uses, depending on the situation and time of year.
- Use a contact call to simulate the sound of a doe. This call can be used year-round, and it is especially effective because a contact call is the sound used by a doe when it becomes separated from its family or group. Additionally, contact calls are non-aggressive, so you can belt this one out a few times with half-minute pauses. Then wait at least fifteen minutes and try again until you stir something up. If you're trying to keep things quiet, try a doe bleat instead. But don't confuse this with the estrus bleat, which will be explained later.
- Try a grunt to beckon surrounding deer. Grunting like a deer is the equivalent of motioning for someone to "come over here." Your pitch will depend on what you're trying to attract—obviously a higher-pitched grunt will better resemble a doe calling her fawns. Volume is crucial with these calls, as a loud grunt will be interpreted as hostility. As always, split your calls with fifteen-minute intervals.
- Simulate a buck's bawl to attract company. Also known as the buck's bleat, this call resembles the bawl of a baby calf. The bawl is an expression of the buck's craving for attention, but the call is typically most effective only during the late season.
- Call an estrus bleat to simulate a doe who is ready to mate. This is a loud call used to attract aggressive bucks during mating season. A similar, yet more intense version of this call is known as the breeding bellow. The breeding bellow signals that a doe is ready to mate right this very instant and, while not exactly aggressive, does convey an urgent message. So be ready for the response.
- Use aggressive sniffs and wheezes. These calls can intimidate and even scare off nearby non-dominant, less aggressive males.
- If you're tracking a doe, use a series of soft tending grunts. This call simulates the sound a buck makes when tailing a doe—in loose translation, he's saying, "Baby, don't go..." Particularly effective when on foot, the tending grunt should only be used during or near the rut phase.