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Deer calling techniques: The do's, dont's, how's , when's and why's.

Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by Thunderhead, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Thunderhead


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    Steve has asked me to write an article on the Art Of Deer Calling which I'm more than happy to do.
    I know enough to be dangerous, so maybe it'll help a few of you guys out.

    For what it's worth, I'll be giving seminars on Deer Calling at the Hunt'in Time Expo in GR this upcomming show season as well as the Deer and Turkey show in Lansing.

    For you out of state guys, I'll also be giving seminars at the Ohio and Iowa shows too.

    I've been hunting dawn till dusk tracking, trying to pattern and hunting an absoulutly huge old buck and haven't been home in quite some time except to shower then back to camp. That old bugger has given me the slip at every turn, but, his number is up. I found his primary scrape line this morning.............. Packing jerky and water as we speak for an all day'er tomorrow.

    I'll try and have something put together for you guys within the next couple of days. I gotta go over my seminar material and tweek it into an article format.

    I've also came up with several new techniques that I've had great success with that I need to incorporate into it.

    Look for it with-in the next few days.............
  2. November Sunrise

    November Sunrise

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    Hillsdale, MI
    Look forward to reading that.

    I was just thinking this morning about your technique of how to bring in a buck that's with a doe by calling in the doe - was going to give it a try if the opportunity arose.

  3. Scott K

    Scott K

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    If you can, I'd love to hear about deer calling when as it pertains to highly pressured public land deer.
  4. LoBrass

    LoBrass Premium Member

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    Southeast Michigan
    Always a good read TH!!

    Ah, Thunderdome!! They still selling those pizza's?

    You got some GIANT Scrape makers over there again?
  5. 88luneke


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    Four Letter State
    Looking forward to it!
  6. Thunderhead


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    Sorry guys, I'm not going to be able to do this right now.

    Best of Luck.
  7. Kelly Johnson

    Kelly Johnson Mods

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    Such a tease T:lol:

    Go getum brother!
  8. Joe Archer

    Joe Archer Staff Member Mods

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    New Baltimore Michigan
    Can't wait to read your article .... when I get back after 11/16.
    However, your words of wisdon echoed in my thoughts this year when I failed to turn that bick buck back around. From my memory I believbe you wrote.... "call only loud enough to gain his attention...". I believe that in my excitement I "shouted" at a brute last weekend! He stopped looked back, but decided to continue on his way.... :(

    QDMAMAN Premium Member

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    Vermontville Michigan
    See ya at weigh in!:evil:
  10. DeereGuy


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    Eaton Rapids guys going to weight watchers together.:)))

    No seriously I can't wait to read the article myself...
  11. blittle913


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    Looking forward to the article and also seeing a seminar in Lansing!

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  12. Thunderhead


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    I pulled this from my notes and added a few things. It's not in article format, I just haven't got the time right now to do that, but, it'll work.
    This is from a couple of years ago.

    I'll be adding to it as time allows.

    Good Luck Guys.


    This is going to be long fellas, but, it works.

    Speaking the language, talking to deer and calling is hands down the deadliest tactic there is in my opinion willl mean the difference between killing a buck that is just out of range, or going home empty handed again telling yourself, well, at least I enjoyed the hunt.
    ( Which I do. But, being successful and out smarting ole mossy horns is way cooler. )

    The calls I use are Woods Wise HOT MA-MAH , Rod Benson's Wood Deer Call, The Can and my own voice. I also carry several different fawn bawls, different pitches = different age classes.

    No 2 calls are made equal and I'll take it out of the package and play it before I buy it. Each call also has it's advantages and dis-advantages which is why I use different calls for different situations.

    First- Woods Wise : Pure Deer. Not many calls sound this good. I really like the way I can manipulate the rubber on both ends to simulate doe and fawn calls without having to move the rubber " O " ring.

    Rod Bensons Wood Deer Call : One of the best calls ever made. Awesome doe grunt and one of the best fawn in distress calls I've ever heard.
    This call has been around forever and has led to the demise more Bucks than any other call I've ever used. ( so far )

    The Can made by Primos : I don't use this call the way it's supposed to be used, but will turn it upside down and blow thru the little hole on the bottom creating one of the most pitiful hurt/wounded/lost fawn calls on the market

    My own voice : Blocking the air in my nose and bawling with my voice works very well too. It takes pracitce, but I can get the emotion that I want better than a regular call can produce at short ranges.

    Now, outside the box cover calling :
    Walking thru the noisy Fall woods, I'll keep a squirrel caller handy to cover any noise I make, this works well if your drop something out of your stand too that gets a deers attention. A Turkey call diaphram or box caller works great as well. These are the 2 noisest critters in the woods and deer are used to hearing them all the time.
    BTW, Woods Wise Super Squirrel call is the hands down , best squirrel call I've ever heard.

    The trick to calling any animal is to understand what they are saying and why. The call might sound the same to us, but believe me, to the animal is isn't. This only comes with experience listening to the different sounds they make in different situations.
    Like Turkey calling, it's emotion, volume and intensity.

    For example, the word BLUE.
    The sky is blue.
    I'm feeling blue.
    I blew a tire.
    The wind blew hard.

    The word " blue " sounds exactly the same, but with a completely different meaning.
    A guy can speak perfect Russian, but if he doesn't know what he's saying, it's all gobbly gook.

    Deer calling done right is in my opinion the deadliest trick a hunter can master. Out of the 40 + bucks I've killed, over 90% fell to the call. Including 4 doubles.
    I've always said, run 10 deer by me, I will call in 7, probably 8, 2 for whatever reason won't pay any attenton to me, including the biggest buck I've ever seen in my life.
    The day I saw him, there were 3 bucks together.
    2 of'em are in my gallery photos, the big boy wouldn't even look in my direction.
    Those 2 deer came in from 285 yards. The 16pt. died at 12 feet. The 8pt came in at a dead run and I killed him at 15 yards.

    As I write this there is another brusier ( the one I'm talking about in the post below ) I sent to the promised land last year due to calling. After an hour of challanging, grunting, blatting and everything else I could think of, I went to the fawn bawl and called in the girls.

    We men know that our weakest link is the female. We don't like to admit it, but it's true nevertheless. Once we gett'em on our mind, nothing, and I mean nothing is going to pull us away. You know what I mean.

    Anyway, there were 14 does and 5 Bucks, including the one I ended up killing.
    ( One of the other bucks was at least a 125 class 10 pt.)
    They were well over 300 + yards away when I started bawling. The does came in with 4 Bucks in tow, the buck I was after hit the brush and came out under me.
    Long story short, I arrowed him at 28 yards and watched him fall. I continued to " talk" to the deer and could have killed that 10 if I had wanted to as they all milled around and chased till dark.

    Post from a few years ago : *********************

    Deer " talk " all year long. The trick is to know what they are saying and why they are saying it. And remember, deer don't yell. Call just loud enough for them to hear you.

    You really need to have your mind set and focused.
    You need to be a deer.

    Example: Hands down the deadliest call during the chase phase:
    Fawn in distress.
    This will bring every doe within earshot running if done right. It'll also bring in that hot doe with a buck trailing right behind her.

    I picture a fawn hung up in a fence with a broken leg in my mind. Then I start calling. I'm hurt. I'm scared. I want Momma. NOW. Emotion here is the key. You need to feel what your doing. Put every bit of emotion you can muster into the call by way of tone, volume and duration.

    That night I was calling to the buck I'm hunting now, I tried the doe grunt first.
    My first and foremost most successful call. ( pre chase - no doe )
    Sleezy, loose, come to me big boy. Nuthin.
    Maybe he's battin for the other side.

    Then, I tried the fawn bawl. A buck could care less about a hurt fawn, but will sometimes come to look out of curiosity.
    I bawled for 20 minutes. There's still alot of leaves on the trees. I was on the edge of a field, at almost dark, and could hear the deer running around under me in the picked corn and blatting looking for the fawn. I couldn't see'em cause of the leaves and it was getting dark, and my attention was focused on that buck. I only had minutes left of shooting light and he had to come in now if he was going to get arrowed. No go.

    Then I did something I rarely do cause it spooks more than it attracts. I challanged him with a mature buck grunt.
    That didn't work either. He kept looking over in my direction, but wouldn't commit.
    Deer are funny that way.
    Either they want company or they don't.
    It was almost full dark by then and the game was over for the night.


    Here's a post I saved from another thread answering some questions from another member. This is pretty much how I do it. Hope this helps and Good Luck :

    Originally Posted by BOB@BBT ( Pine Farm )
    Thunderhead, I have a couple questions.
    I have had very limited success even getting a response to a buck grunt call.

    Me: First of all, I 99.999999999% of the time I never use a Buck grunt or call in anyway. I always keep my call on the doe grunt or the DG setting.

    Originally Posted by BOB@BBT
    I couple years ago and I decided to call "blind" I was caught totally "flatfooted" in my treestand and he looked right up at me and spooked.

    Me: Which is why I never call without seeing the buck I want to call in. I don't like giving away my position. I know that there are bucks in the area, sit tight, have patience, patience being the most important thing here. If your set up in a good spot, you'll see a buck. Once your busted, it's over for that particular deer for the entire season. I also believe that after he busts you and he changes his pattern, the other bucks will pick up on this and stay out of range from that spot for the rest of the season.

    It's very rare that I have them charge in ( I can't remember one ever doing this to me ) or even circle to wind what they think they are hearing. After hearing the grunt, they usually snap up their head, look in my direction and start wandering/feeding toward me.

    Originally Posted by BOB@BBT
    so as of last year, I don't even take a buck grunt tube with me anymore. I think they do more harm than good in an area like mine. High pressure, mostly 1.5 year old bucks and a few 2.5. Instead, I got the Flextone grunt call and set it on "doe".

    Me : Now your talkin. The doe grunt. This is the key. The whole ball of wax. The big bananna. The area doesn't matter, 8 out of 10 bucks WILL respond to a good doe grunt anytime during the 1st month of bow season, tho it will get harder to call later in season as the rut/hunter pressure kicks in.

    Originally Posted by BOB@BBT
    say I see a lone buck that's just passing by, but not on a trail within bow range? Like 80 yards out sneeking by. What do you do with that doe grunt? Just hit it once? If you get a confirming reaction from the buck, like he stops and looks your way, but keeps walking, what do you do? Call once more? Quit because he already heard you once? Or would I be better served to set on "fawn"? The fawn setting makes sense if the buck is with a doe, but what if he's alone?

    Me :When I see a buck, I'll hit my doe grunt once. Very quick, sharp and just loud enough for him to hear it. A one second burp.
    He'll snap his head up and immediatly look in your direction. ( In all my years of using this, only one buck didn't look, that was at 285 yards, I killed the 2 with him, maybe he was old and couldn't hear ?? ) read what he's doing, most of the time, they'll drop their head and start in your direction. If he continues on his original course, I'll hit him again, maybe just a tad louder with a bit more urgency.
    Now, remember here, deer don't yell so put feeling into your calling, but don't call too loud. I'm that doe and I want you to come to me. His head will snap back up and he'll look your way again. Don't call again till it's obvious that he's not going to come in. Keep up the calling till he's out of sight. Even then, stay on your toes, I've had'em doubleback on their trail 1/2 hour later and look back in my direction and come in on their own.

    As far as the fawn setting goes, a buck could care less if your hurt or want mamma. Not his problem. I ONLY use a fawn bawl for calling in a hot doe with a buck on her rear-end, or to kill a doe that I want to call in range.

    Originally Posted by BOB@BBT
    What do you do about Oct1-Oct 31 vs rut? Would you approach the doe call differently then?

    Me : I use the same doe grunt from Oct 1st thru the very end of muzzeloader season. A doe is a doe and if she's grunting at a buck, she wants his attention. He WILL give it to her, at least till firearm season starts. Also, as bow season progresses, the bucks will be harder to call.
    A buck on the trail of a hot doe the tailend of the 1st. week of Nov. for example. Here's where the famn bawl will work, call the doe and he'll follow.

    The whole month of Oct. is GOLDEN for calling in a buck using just the doe grunt.
    As the rut comes on the bucks are smelling hot does all over the place and it's almost impossible to call one off a hot trail, whether the doe he's smelling is in sight or not.

    Now , once gun season starts it's a whole lot harder to call in a buck. He's already spooked and has been running for his life for the better part of 2 weeks. It's a toss up whether he'll come in now. This is the time to pull out all the stops. I ALWAYS carry 2 different calls. No 2 calls are made equal or make the same sound and I'll take every call out of the package and listen to it before I buy.

    You don't want a reedy, hollow sounding call or one that takes alot of air to work. You want your call to be able to call subtly with a clear, distinct sound and be able to gain some volume without distorting. I personally haven't found many on the market that fits this bill. The doe grunt has to sound distinctly different and higher pitched than the buck grunt. Night and day. In my opinion, this make all the difference in the world. It's a " girly" sound. You'll know when you play the call.

    The thing here again, ( Gun season especially )
    I DO NOT CALL BLIND. Here's why.
    Gun season, the deer are spooked to the max, you call blind and one hears you, 9 tmes out of10 chances are he'll hightail it the other way. He's breeding does that he can see now and isn't taking any chances, at least that's the rule 98% of the time. If he can't identify what he's hearing, he's gone.
    There are young and dumb bucks that might respond, but over all I don't want to take a chance and spook any big bucks in my area. If I can see a buck I'd call to, he's probably in gun range anyway.

    Again, DURING gun season, If he's a buck that I want to kill and he's out of range, and won't respond to a doe grunt, what the hell, you have nothing to lose, hit him with whatever you have. Then, and only then will I consider using a mature buck grunt.

    ......During bow season I won't use the Buck grunt. Chances are VERY good that even if he didn't respond and come right in, he'll be close and eventually come 'round to see who was talking to him.

    During gun season / late bow season/rut, I want does around me. I want them to come to my fawn bawling because they're in heat and will leave a scent trail when they come to me. They will eventually leave when they find no fawn, but the scent is still there. I only call to does that I can see.
    The longer I can keep'em in my area the better.
    If they start to wander away, I'll bawl softly to get them to either come back, or hang somewhere close. This works really good on the edges of the thick stuff where a buck is likely to be and where a hurt fawn will also be likely to laying up.

    Experience is the best teacher in this aspect of hunting and nothing works 100% of the time, but, some things work much better and at different times than others and will tip the odds greatly in your favor.
  13. MIpikeGuy


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    Southwestern Genesee County
    Great post, I read both of your threads on the ghost you finally bagged. I think it has really helped me in my calling.

    Can't wait to read the full article, and thanks for all the great info.
  14. cscott711


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    Thanks TH! You've either posted this same thing or something similar before which I really enjoyed reading. I printed it out this time as well as emailed it to myself. Hopefully I'll get to try out the tactics this weekend.
  15. 88luneke


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    Four Letter State
    Awesome read, thanks again!

    Where do you find the Rod Benson calls? I heard he didn't own the company anymore and his website isn't loading either..