John's Journal...

Click to enlargeTWO ON BUCKS

Double-Calling Bucks

EDITOR’S NOTE: What would you do if you discovered where a trophy buck lived? Would you bet that this older-age-class deer wouldn't die or get killed before the next hunting season? And, if you didn't bag this big buck yourself, would you willingly share him with a buddy? Many hunters face these questions each season when they hunt big bucks. Before you answer, consider some of the reasons buddy hunting is better than hunting alone.

Each year, hundreds of magazine articles come out about rattling and grunting deer. These two tactics can work effectively by calling in bucks, but they pay the most buck dividends when you know where to find the deer, and you can see the Click to enlargedeer moving toward you. For this reason, Texas and many other western states make ideal locations for calling in deer. For example, in the arid states of the West, you often will see small patches of large cover in the middle of wide-open areas. If you rattle or grunt to deer in that cover, and a buck responds to your calling, more than likely the deer will come out of the cover into the open where you can get a good shot. However, even in the West, the bucks generally won't come charging in to your calls. They'll try to circle either to your right or to your left to get downwind of the spot where they hear the rattling and the grunting. A deer will circle downwind so he can smell and possibly even determine which bucks have gotten into a fight, their sizes and their locations. A young buck does not want to arrive at a fight just as it ends. If he does, whichever buck has won the fight likely will attack this young buck next. The young buck also wants to see the fight before the combatants spot him. Click to enlargeEven the dominant buck in the herd will circle downwind to come to a fight rather than walk straight into the sound – especially if that dominant buck has just finished a fight.

Let's consider how the deer come in to rattling antlers and how grunting affects eastern hunters. Although the East probably has more deer than the West, the foliage grows much thicker in the eastern half of the country. If you rattle and grunt bucks in the East to you, you never may see the deer. They may circle downwind of you, using the thick cover as protection, pick up your human odor and run in the opposite direction. To solve this problem, two buddies of mine, Bill Amos and Joe Thompson, have learned how to work together to double-call bucks. "Bill will set up about 50 or 60 yards from a bedding area," Thompson explains. "He'll sneak into the bedding area and climb about 20 feet in his tree stand as quietly as possible, trying not to spook the bucks that have bedded-down in the thicket. Once Bill gets in position, I'll move 50 to 100 yards directly behind him, climb into my tree stand as quietly as I can and face the opposite direction from the direction Bill faces. Bill and I can see straight in front of ourselves and off to our left and our right. We each effectively can see about 180 degrees around us. However, because we sit back-to-back, our combined vision Click to enlargeequals 360 degrees. If Bill starts rattling and grunting, and a deer comes running straight toward him, he'll take the shot. Or, if the deer tries to circle downwind of Bill to his left or to his right, he'll take the shot. However, if the buck circles wide around Bill, the deer usually will appear to my left or to my right – or almost directly in front of me. This way I can see and take the bucks that Bill may never see or take." After Amos and Thompson have called for 10 to 20 minutes in the same region, they'll come down from their tree stands and set up on another patch of thick cover where they believe deer bed. Each time the two hunters change locations, they'll switch jobs with Thompson becoming the caller and Amos the back stander. Using this effective double-calling tactic, these two hunting buddies have bagged more bucks than any two hunters I know.


Check back each day this week for more about TWO ON BUCKS

Day 1: The Dilemma
Day 2: Buddy Hunting the Giles Island Monster
Day 3: Double-Calling Bucks
Day 4: Hollow Hunting Bucks
Day 5: Other Advantages of Buddy Hunting



Entry 334, Day 3