John's Journal...

Calling In Bucks

When a Grunt Call Worked

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: One time when I hunted in Mexico, because of the grunt call, I held a buck within shooting range for over an hour. I also bought myself time to see a bigger deer. When no other trophy showed up, I used the grunt call to position the buck to allow me to take an effective shot. On that day, in that place, the grunt call made the difference in whether or not I bagged a buck. And, often calling deer will make that difference in your hunt, as we’ll learn this week.

I spotted a glint of ivory above the thick scrub brush. I turned slightly in my tripod stand to take the shot when the buck crossed the fence line. But as the buck stepped into an opening, I realized he had only 8 points with about 17- to 18-inch wide main beams. Although a very-nice buck, he didn’t look like the monster-sized buck I’d visualiClick to enlargezed bagging on my Mexican hunt. “We want you to shoot bucks that will score 140 to 150 points or better on Boone and Crockett,” our host had told us when several other hunters and myself arrived at a ranch in northern Mexico. But after the first day when no one even had seen a trophy buck, our host began to lower his standards. By the afternoon of the third day, he said, “You can take any buck you want to, but we’d prefer you bag the biggest buck you see.”

We were scheduled to go home the next day after the morning hunt. No one on the hunt had seen a buck as good as the 8 point I now watched. I let the buck cross the road and jump the fence. He wandered out in front of me into a large field of golden sage, dotted with a few small patcClick to enlargehes of leafless trees. Then I made the decision not to shoot. But the further the buck got away from my stand, the more my subconscious began to tell me, “This is a nice buck. At home in Alabama, you already would have taken him. You haven’t seen a better buck on this entire hunt, and neither has anyone else. Go ahead, and take the shot.” Reaching inside my shirt, I pulled out my grunt call and grunted to the buck. I watched as the deer stopped, turned and looked back my way. He stood still for a long time at 100 yards, while I glassed him with my binoculars. When he looked away and started to walk off, I grunted a second time. This time the buck turned back to face me and started walking straight to me. “If I can keep that buck in close until almost dark, and a bigger buck doesn’t come in, I’ll bag him,” I thought. The buck stopped in a small clump of trees not 50 yards from my stand for at least 20 minutes, looking in all directions. I neClick to enlargever called to him again. As long as the buck remained within range, I had no reason to call to him. I also kept my eyes peeled for another, bigger buck. Finally, the buck turned to walk off a third time. Once more I grunted when the buck had his back to me. He turned, came out of the trees, walked out into the sage about 30 yards in front of me and lay down behind a bush. The deer remained bedded-down for 45 minutes or so as I continued to search in all directions for a bigger buck. However, as the promise of night shrouded the sun, I still had seen no other deer. “If that buck stands up to walk off, I’ll take him,” I promised myself.

Not having seen a buck in three days and knowing I only could hunt for about 5 hours the next morning, I made the decision to harvest the buck. But when the deer stood, he walked with his back to me and didn’t offer a good shot. Again I grunted. The buck stopped and turned broadside. My 7mm quickly and efficiently dropped the buck.

Tomorrow: Why Grunt

Check back each day this week for more about "Calling In Bucks"

Day 1: When a Grunt Call Worked
Day 2: Why Grunt
Day 3: Why Cackle to Bucks and What About the Bleat Call
Day 4: Rattling Antlers, Bags and Boxes
Day 5: Overlooked Keys to Rattling Success



Entry 387, Day 1