You’ve tried tempting bucks into your kill zone with grunt calls, but haven’t managed to spill any blood. Consider some expert tips before you retire your grunt calls to your hunting junk drawer.
Many of the same reasons rattling works—or more specifically, doesn’t work—holds true for grunting. As renowned whitetail biologist Dr. Mickey Hellickson determined, soft rattling is far less effective than loud, aggressive rattling. With that in mind, consider just how quiet a grunt tube really is and consider the various factors working against you. No matter how often you blow on a grunt tube, there’s a good chance no buck is within earshot.
During extensive testing and trials, Hellickson actually pulled in a few bucks with only a grunt tube, but he typically incorporated one into his rattling sequences. That’s exactly what Knight & Hale Game Calls Special Promotions Manager Jim Strelec does, too.
“Bucks grunt year-round, so there really is no wrong time or place to use one. I describe it as a way for bucks to look for each other. ‘Here I am. Where are you?’” he explained.
Most of the time he’ll offer just a quick grunt or two, but as the rut draws nearer, he’ll start using the tending grunt—a series of grunts Strelec compares to a winded child who is trying to talk while attempting to catch his breath.
“It’s almost as if bucks are grunting as they inhale and exhale, they are so excited,” he said. “They do it as they are chasing a doe, but I will also throw in grunts between rattling sequences to add more realism. I also grunt between rattling sessions the same way two fighting bucks would communicate between blows.”