John's Journal...

Year-Round Deer Calling Secrets of the Masters

Grunt Calling with Eddie Salter

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you want to learn any sport or any technique in any sport, you seek out the professionals who make their living in that sport. The men who create outdoor TV shows, videos and game calls must have the ability to produce those calls on cue on film. Why can they call deer, and you can't? What do they do that you don't? Here are their secrets. Eddie Salter of Evergreen, Alabama, has hunted deer with a bow all his life. A master at talking to deer, he's hunted deer professionally for three decades, has served on Hunter's Specialties’ Pro Staff for more than a decade and has starred in more TV shows and more videos than anyone cares to count.Click to enlarge

"I use a grunt call four different ways at various times of the year," Salter advises. “Deer talk to each other 12 months a year, not just during hunting season, saying various things to each other. During the early season, I use the Hunter’s Specialties’ True Talker grunt call to make high-pitched grunts like a young doe and deeper grunts like an older doe. With this call, I'm simply trying to say to a buck, 'Hey, I'm a doe. Come over here, check me out, and let's be friends.' I don't use any deep grunts like a buck or any challenging grunts like a dominant buck that wants to fight. You can run bucks off if you try to be aggressive this time of year. With the True Talker, you move your finger up and down the reed to change the pitch of the call. If I squeeze the barrel of the True Talker in the middle, I can make the call of an older doe. If I move my finger closer to the mouthpiece and push down on the reed, I’ll make the sound of a younger doe. These two sounds are the only ones I use in the early part of the season. I use the True Talker to make all of the sounds that I want.

"During the pre-rut, I don't use the young doe call at all. I'll make the old doe grunt and the youngClick to enlarge buck grunt on my True Talker. When I'm using the older-doe grunt in the pre-rut, I'll put more feeling in the call. I'll start off calling low and then call a little louder and more aggressively. Then I reduce the air and call more softly. The series is soft grunts, loud aggressive doe grunts and then soft doe grunts again. In the rut, I'll use the same grunt calls of the older doe, but I'll follow those calls with some deep, guttural, dominant buck grunts. I'll move the call so it sounds like a doe's grunting as she's running, and a dominant buck is following the same path as he chases her. During the late season, I'll primarily be usiClick to enlargeng a dominant-buck call with clicking sounds on the end. Clicking is a one-note grunt, produced with a short, quick burst of air. A buck uses it when he's pursuing a doe. I want that buck to think there is one estrous doe left, and another buck is chasing her. Many times this call will bring in a buck, even after the rut's over. If you know which calls to use when and time your calling sequence to the most-appropriate time of the year, you'll call in more bucks.

"A call that I use all year that most hunters only make during the rut is with a rattling bag. I've found when you use a rattling bag and a deer decoy, you can call in a lot of deer that you normally won't. The advantage you get with a rattling bag is that you can get a buck's attention, even if he's at 400 or 500 yards. When a buck hears antlers rattling, he will stop and look. If he stops and sees a decoy he believes is another buck, many times he will come in to investigate. If he stops while he's coming, I'll rattle at him again to keep him coming. When I use a decoy, I'm also going to use a deer lure. I'll put a dominant-buck scent on that decoy or at the base of it.  If the buck circles downwind before he comes to the decoy, he'll smell what his eyes have told him that decoy is. When he hears, sees, and smells a dominant buck, more than likely he will investigate that decoy, and that's when you can take him."

Tomorrow: The Most Critical Deer Call with Gary Sefton

Check back each day this week for more about "Year-Round Deer Calling Secrets of the Masters"

Day 1: Deer Calling’s Not Magic with David Hale
Day 2: The Truth About Calling with Will Primos
Day 3: Add Realism to Your Calling Sequence with Alex Rutledge
Day 4: Grunt Calling with Eddie Salter
Day 5: The Most Critical Deer Call with Gary Sefton


Entry 483, Day 4