John's Journal...

Advanced Deer Calling Tactics

Day 4: Eddie Salter’s Tactics for Taking 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 ViewEddie Salter, a longtime professional caller and hunter on Hunter’s Specialties’ staff, from Evergreen, Alabama, believes the bleat call is the most effective early in the season. “When the fawns are young, the does will respond to the bleat call quickly. I believe one mistake most hunters make with the bleat call is they remain in a place too long. I go into an area, put up my tree stand, blow the bleat call and stay there about 10 minutes. If a deer doesn’t respond, I know no deer are within hearing range. Click for Larger ViewThen I move to another calling spot. From daylight until 11:00 am I may call from 15-different places in the woods. I usually travel no more than 100- to 150-yards from the last site where I have called. For the bleat call to be effective, the doe must be able to hear it. If she hears it, she will come. However, if you’re calling in a region with no does, the call will be non-productive. Common sense tells you the more times you change locations and the more areas you call from, the greater your odds will be to bring in a deer. Using this tactic, in one morning, I called-up 11 deer. If you hunt aggressively, you can call-in and bag many more deer than if you sit on one stand and try and call from it all morning. Also when you hear a deer coming in, don’t stop calling. Continue to call until you spot the deer. Then you can bring the whitetail all the way to within shooting range.

Click for Larger View“After I use the bleat call early in the season, I generally will begin blowing the grunt call. I have found the most-productive time to grunt-up deer is in the middle of the day after there has been a full moon at night. One year in Ohio, I took a stand in-between two trails the day after a full moon the night before. I had been grunting periodically. I saw a deer moving on the trail above me. But because the deer started walking away from me, I grunted very aggressively by blowing louder and louder on the grunt call than I normally would. Although the deer had crossed the creek, he stopped when he heard the grunt call. I grunted at him a second time. He came back across the creek and was within seven steps of me where I took him with my bow. Click for Larger ViewSince deer bed early in the morning after feeding all night under a full moon, they seem to be more active during the middle of the day. That’s why I believe the grunt call is much more effective during that time period.

“I think all hunters should carry deer grunt calls with them every time they go into the woods. With much of the South’s buck/doe ratio skewed more toward the does than the bucks, I’ve found rattling pays the best buck dividends for me after the rut. Then few does are available for the bucks to breed. If bucks hear rattling antlers at the end of the rut and think two bucks are possibly fighting over the last estrous doe in the woods, I have found the bucks will come in quicker and are easier to take.

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: Brad Harris and Larry Norton on Techniques for Taking 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 4