John's Journal...

Advanced Deer Calling Tactics

Day 1: Tips for Successfully Calling Deer

Editor’s Note: Deer calling is growing in popularity throughout the nation. Finally, deer- hunting aids are on the market that can stop a buck that is out of range, get his attention and cause him to come back and look for the hunter. Although many-different types of calls are available, they all seem to fall into three basic categories – rattling anglers, grunt calls and bleat calls. Each call has information in its package telling you how to use the call. But the small subtleties and tactics employed by master callers can make these calls much-more effective. These masters of the sport of deer calling have unique insights that will enable you to call more effectively and lure in more bucks each time you hunt. Today we’re looking at ways to increase the number of deer you see when you’re calling.

Know the Land You Hunt:

Click for Larger ViewA hunter who tries to take a deer without a thorough knowledge of the land is like a blind man at a track meet. Although he may reach the goal, he will be a long time arriving there, or he never may get there. Aerial photos and topo maps of the land you plan to hunt are critical tools, because they not only give a visual representation of the area, but also show direction. The hunter who’s familiar with the land and listens to the weather radio each morning can determine which areas to hunt and which regions the wind won’t permit him to hunt. Maps also allow you to find spots that are hard to reach, as well as over-looked places in the woods where others may not have hunted. Ground observation enables you to determine where deer are feeding and bedding, which trails deer are using, where bucks are scraping, whether there’s a big buck in the area, and where good stand sites are located.

Don’t Spook the Deer You’re Trying to Take:

If the wind’s wrong to hunt a certain area, don’t hunt that spot until the wind’s right and won’t carry your scent into your hunting site. Also think about how to approach your stand and set-up your tree stand. The stalk to the stand should be as slow and deliberate as a stalk to the deer. Assume the deer is watching you. The time to utilize a deer call is when and where you expect to see a deer, and you’re prepared to take him – not while moving to your stand.

Use Deer Lures to Your Advantage:

Click for Larger ViewNo deer lure always attracts deer, and no deer call always calls deer. However, because of a deer’s natural curiosity, often a deer will come in when he or she smells a deer lure. Always place the lure about waist-high on limbs or bushes, so the aroma will be at about the same height as the deer’s nose. In the mornings, put the lure closer to the ground, since rising air currents, thermals, actually will lift the scent into the air. Because thermals in the late afternoon cause a downward movement of air, the scents often should be placed a little higher at that time.

Use the Right Call at the Right Time:

Click for Larger ViewAll deer calls have a specific effective range and knowing that range is an important factor in the efficiency of calling. For instance, the grunt, bleat and wheeze calls are only effective at about 50 to 100 yards. But on a still, calm day, they may be heard for greater distances. Therefore, if the hunter has stalked quietly and successfully to his stand and has given the woods a few minutes to settle, he should use these calls first to call-in close-by deer. Wait 15 minutes and call again. If no deer respond, then don’t forget that rattling antlers can call a deer from a greater distance from your stand.

Know Why Calls Don’t Work:

For every one time a deer call is responsible for producing a buck, there are several times that it won’t, if: Click for Larger View
* there are no deer in the area to hear the call;
* the deer don’t want to be social;
* the dominant buck already has an estrous doe with him and doesn’t want to risk losing her in a fight;
* the buck has fought just recently and isn’t ready for another war;
* the buck is a subordinate buck and doesn’t want to challenge the dominant buck; or
* the hunter isn’t saying what the buck wants to hear.

To learn more about successfully hunting deer, purchase John E. Phillips’ books, “The Masters’ Secrets of Hunting Deer,” “The Science of Deer Hunting,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer” at

Tomorrow: Quaker Boy’s Dick Kirby Explains the Fine Art of Rattling for Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Advanced Deer Calling Tactics "

Day 1: Tips for Successfully Calling Deer
Day 2: Quaker Boy’s Dick Kirby Explains the Fine Art of Rattling for Deer
Day 3: David Hale Explains How to Take Deer with Grunt and Bleat Calls
Day 4: Eddie Salter’s Tactics for Taking Deer with Grunt and Bleat Calls
Day 5: Brad Harris and Larry Norton on Techniques for Taking Deer

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Entry 643, Day 1