I spent the past couple of days calling whitetails, and let me be the first to let the cat out of the bag: They’re responding! The last week of October and the first 2 weeks of November are definitely the best time to put your deer calls into play.
Yesterday alone, I rattled-in two different bucks just from my morning stand. In fact, my cameraman wanted me to do a rattling video segment, so we rattled and I started talking only to discover a buck was bounding our way. He passed by just outside of bow range, but he was on the hunt for the fighters. Although I tell people there is really no way to call wrong, you can implement the calls in a fashion that won’t guarantee success. If you want to experience success, try these tips.
1. Use your calls sparingly. It’s not a musical instrument, so rattle short and sweet, or grunt a short cadence and then let the buck do the rest. Calling too much gives deer too much information and they may detect a ruse or spook.
2. Call when animals are behind cover or moving. If you call when a buck is in plain sight of your stand it could see you and even pinpoint the vertical sound to within a few feet. If deer are moving or you’re blocked by cover, it gives you more cover to mask your location.
3. Only rattle when bucks are far away. If you rattle when bucks are less than 100 yards away, especially from a treestand, it could cause them to spook. I rattle when I don’t see deer or if they’re 200 yards away or farther. It’s great for long-distance luring.
4. Put your grunt tube away when deer get inside of 50 yards. The same is true of subtle grunts. If you toot away when deer are close, they’ll focus in on the sound and it won’t sound right. Again, call when they’re on the move or behind cover to confuse them slightly.
By mid-November, bucks will be busy breeding and looking for more does. That’s not to say the fight won’t be in them, but they’ll be looking for love more than a bout with a fellow buck. Now is the time to call.
Good luck and good calling!