John's Journal...

Advanced Deer Calling Tactics

Day 3: David Hale Explains How to Take Deer with Grunt and Bleat Calls

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.

Click for Larger ViewDavid Hale, one of the founders of Knight & Hale Game Calls ( in Cadiz, Kentucky, calls-in deer each season not only for himself, but also for outdoor writers, friends and family. “Once I was bowhunting on the edge of a field and saw a buck at about 250 yards. The soft grunting I normally would do when calling a deer wouldn’t reach this buck. I grunted louder and longer than I ever had previously. I was surprised when the buck lifted his head and looked toward me. Although the grunt call normally is very low and often very short, if the sound of the call can’t reach the buck, then you can’t call the deer in to where you are. That’s why I blew the call much louder than I ever had. The buck heard me. When the deer put his head back down and seemed to be disinterested, I blew the grunt call loudly again. Once more the deer lifted his head and began to move to me. The deer was looking for me and had his ears pointed toward me trying to hear the sound of my grunting. I depressed the volume of my grunting as the buck came closer. I only called to him when he stopped, seemed disinterested or began to veer-off the path that would lead him to me. When a buck is coming to me, I don’t call. But once he stops, I call to him. Click for Larger ViewAs the deer moved-in, I turned the tube of my grunt call to the left and then to the right trying to throw my call in two-different directions. Then the buck couldn’t pinpoint exactly where I was calling from and hopefully would not spot me. I knew that throwing my calls to the left and the right and even behind me would make the deer more curious. As the buck stepped-out from behind some bushes, I released my arrow, and the deer went down.

“The bushes the deer stepped from behind were a critical ingredient to my success. Always try to have some type of barrier between you and the buck that he can’t see through and spot the deer he believes to be making the sound. If the buck can see past where you are calling from, he will realize no deer are in the area where he has heard the sound. Then he won’t move any closer to you. Click for Larger ViewA thicket, a large boulder, a blown-down tree or some other type of terrain break in front of you that the buck has to walk around to come to where you are calling from will increase your chances of bagging that buck about 50 percent. I believe most people are too timid with using grunt calls. If you are in deer country, deer are accustomed to hearing the grunt call. I suggest blowing a grunt call more than most folks do. You will not spook deer with it. I think often hunters don’t call enough to make the grunt call as effective as it can be. Too, I have found most hunters are not using the bleat call as much as they should to lure-in bucks. Although the bleat call doesn’t necessarily lure-in big bucks, I’m convinced it is one of the most-effective deer calls on the market today. It is very deadly in luring in does. The fawn bleat will call in a doe whether or not she has fawns, since the fawn bleat stirs the maternal instinct of any doe.

Click for Larger View“To be the most successful with a fawn bleat call, place your stand in an inconspicuous site, and above all else – don’t move. Be prepared to take a shot quickly because the doe will come in running and looking around. If the doe doesn’t see you when she first comes in, she often will circle you two or three times until she can learn exactly from what direction that sound is coming. Then, you may have more than one shot offered to you by the same deer. I also will use a bleat call during the rut to try and pull in a doe that may have a buck following her.”

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: Eddie Salter’s Tactics for Taking Deer with Grunt and Bleat Calls

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 4