If you’re hitting the woods this fall, knowing how to grunt for deer could be the difference-maker for a successful hunt. Many whitetail hunters refuse to use calls, instead opting to sit and wait inactively for a buck to cross their path. But grunting for deer can give you the edge needed to bag a nice one this fall. Calling, especially for deer, is a delicate art. When done improperly, using a grunt call may hurt your chances more than helping. Use these five tips, well known among experienced hunters, to make sure you do it right.
- Know what a grunt call is. The actual noise a grunt call makes, a low, guttural groan, is designed to imitate a buck. During the rut, when most hunting is done, it signals to real bucks that does may be nearby. This, in theory, is supposed to draw them into the hunter’s gun or bow range.
- Give your grunt call the right sound. Deer grunts are generally kept simple. Despite the fact that some hunters prefer long, complicated calls in an attempt to convey a certain message to deer in the area, the inexperienced deer hunter's best bet is three grunts of the same tone and volume about three seconds apart. This method has been shown to draw in deer just as well, despite its simplicity.
- Grunting for deer shouldn’t be overdone. Though it may be tempting to grunt constantly when you’re in the woods and things seem dead, calling too much will only drive deer away. Use the aforementioned three-grunt method once or twice and then wait for a half hour or more. Calling too often is a dead giveaway to deer that something fishy is going on.
- Usually, try to call only to deer you can see. Calling for a buck without seeing one means that one may come from any direction. This, of course, increases your chance of getting busted and scaring the deer off. So, unless the hunt has been dead all day and you’re getting desperate, use the grunt call to target specific deer you can see in the distance.
- Know, and use, the call to stop trick. Any seasoned hunter will tell you that the most effective use for a grunt call is to stop a deer in its tracks. If a deer is passing by within range and is moving a bit too fast for you to take a shot, hit the grunt. It will almost always stop and raise its head to find the source of the sound for a second or two. This leaves you a short window to get your gun or bow up and make the kill.