Deer Hunting Calls

white tail deer

Deer hunting calls have been around for a very long time. I have been using them for 20+ years. Over the years they have gotten better and more realistic sounding. Technology has helped to advance the calls and their sound made. There are many different types of calls and each have their pro’s and con’s.

There are many calls to choose from. They range from simple grunt tubes with a reed to electronic calls. A word of advice I would give is to check on state regulations as some states do not allow the use of electronic calls for deer hunting.

Deer can be vocal animals. They use grunts to communicate with each other and to show dominance. If you have been hunting for a little while, you have probably been snorted at when a deer figures out you are a human. As a hunter you can use the vocals against them by using calls to get deer to come closer to be ambushed.

Over the years I’ve had both good results and the deer will come into the call. I’ve also had deer turn and run from the sound. Experience has taught me not to call aggressively early in the season. Simple grunts every 15 minutes to half hour work the best. Once the rut starts, I will call more aggressively.

I have called bucks back even after a miss using doe grunts. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. I always carry at least a grunt tube with me. Once the pre-rut starts, I will sometimes carry rattling antlers or rattling bag to call in deer.

Once you finish with a call set be ready right away. I’ve had deer come screaming in after I finish a call. You have to be ready to shot right away. This is even more true once the rut starts. Bucks are in love and a doe in heat call will get them to come running if they are in the area.

Grunt Tubes

Grunt tubes have been around for a very long time. I have used them for many years with good success. With anything dealing with deer hunting a grunt tube isn’t going to always call in deer.

A grunt tube works by the hunter plowing across a reed making a sound. The sound can be changed by changing the pinch point on the reed. The tube can also be muffled with your hand or can be changed by bending the tube in different directions.

The tubes now days will use a rubber o-ring that can be moved up and down the reed so the hunter doesn’t have to pinch the reed.

Most of these tubes have a cord so the call can be hung around the hunter’s neck. This allows easy access when needed. The less movement the better.

The “Can”

This call hasn’t been around to long. It is produced by a company called Primos. This type of call works by flipping the call over. As gravity pulls on the diaphragm inside the can, it produces a sound. To make the sound again, all the hunter has to do is flip the can over again.

This style of call does work really well. I have found that the fawn bleep works the best. I have had does come back even after I shot them with an arrow to this sound. A does motherly instincts will sometimes overcome the instinct to flee.

The downside is that is this call can make noise in your bag if is gets flipped over during transport or while you are handling it. Once you get used to using it, it pretty much becomes a non-issue.

Electronic calls

Electronic calls have become more and more popular lately. With the advances in technology, it makes sense that electronic calls would become more advanced. These calls have become very popular in varmint hunting such as coyote and prairie dogs.

The calls can be activated remotely or from a unit in the stand with the hunter. A word of advice is to check with local regulations as some jurisdictions restrict the use of these types of calls.

I have had good success using these type of calls for predators but have not used them when hunting whitetails.


Rattling works very well during the pre-rut and rut. They work by rattling them together to mimic the sound of bucks fighting. During the pre-rut and rut, the bucks will chase off or fight competition for does that are going into or are in heat.

In the pre-rut I have found that small tickling of the antlers work very well. Full out fight sounds may actually drive the bucks away.

A few companies have come out with rattling bags. They are bags that have block type items inside that mimic the rattling sound when you roll around the blocks. You can clap your hands over the bag to mimic the sound of a fight. The advantage of a bag over antlers is there is much less movement and can be hide much easier once game is spotted.

These are easier to transport but can make noise during transport or when you are moving them around. With time this will become a non-issue as you become accustomed to the bags use.

Wrapping it up

Calls should be a part of every hunter’s arsenal. Don’t get me wrong, I have killed many deer over the years without using a call. Deer are creatures of habit for the most part. They will deviate from those habits however. For the most part they will follow trails that they have created over time.

The use of calls has increased my success rate. Having the ability to possibly call a deer into your direction is better than no possibility at all. On the flip side I have had deer turn and run from a call. The later has been true much more than the former. I’ve also seen deer be indifferent to a call. Completely ignoring the call or rattling.

I would suggest you try out different calls to see how it works for you. Deer in different areas will also sometimes act differently to calling. The time of year can also affect how you call. Early in the year I call very lightly if at all. During the rut I get much more aggressive. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

I look forward to your comments and questions below. Thank you for reading my post. Dan

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2 thoughts on “Deer Hunting Calls”

  1. This article particularly for deer hunting tells you a lot about how many things you have to take care when you hunt. I loved reading article and came to know about so many different things I didn’t know about. I actually had no idea about deer hunting calls. This article also tells you how many kinds of calling there are and which one is apt for using. Thank you for writing this article I enjoyed reading it.

    • Hunting is a way of life in northern Wisconsin.  Calls have come a long way over the years.  My first call was a grunt tube what only made mature buck grunt.  Now they have tons of different options.  Rattle bags as well.  When I started I used two actual antlers from a deer that I had taken.  Thank you for your comment. Dan

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