John's Journal...

Calling In Bucks

Why Grunt

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.

To get a fight started, just make a statement such as, “Billy Bob’s call company was the first to manufacture the grunt call.” When my first article on grunt calls appeared many years ago, I had nine different manufacturers call me and claim to be the first to invent the grunt call. Click to enlargeI knew hunters as far back as anyone ever had deer hunted probably had grunted to deer. Early sportsmen used their mouths to grunt. But like other calls, different manufacturers crafted tools to mimic the grunt sounds outdoorsmen made with their natural voices. After that first article I wrote on grunt calling, I decided never again to get in an argument about who developed the first modern-day grunt call. More than likely, several people all worked on similar devices at the same time. Knight and Hale Game Calls in Cadiz, Kentucky, produced the first grunt call I ever used. The company gave me a grunt call on a hunt at Land Between the Lakes. David Hale, one of the owners, showed me how to use it. On the first morning of my hunt, I spotted a spike at about 50 yards, quartering away from my tree stand. I blew the call, not expecting anything to happen. To my surprise, the spike came in and bedded down not 5 feet from the tree where I’d placed my stand. The young deer stayed beneath my tree and slept for about 45 minutes before finally standing up and starting to walk off. But when I grunted, the spike came bacClick to enlargek to my stand. A few minutes later, the little buck finally walked off. I realized I’d discovered one of the most-deadly deer lures known to man – the grunt call.

However, always remember that much like duck and turkey calls, no grunt call will produce game every time you use it, regardless of the quality of the call or how well you blow it. But I much prefer to hunt with a grunt call than without one. To choose a grunt call for your hunt, always consider the call’s ability to change tones and pitch and whether you can direct the sound of that call. If you can change the sound of the call to give a variety of calls, you can simulate more than one deer’s grunting in the region where you hunt. For example, if you use the grunt call in combination with rattling antlers, you’ll want to change the pitch and the tone of the call. Then you’ll sound like two bucks grunting as they push and shove each other. If you try to mimic a buck’s chasing a doe in during the rut, give a deep grunt to sound like the buck and a higher-pitched grunt to resemble a doe. To givClick to enlargee the impression of several deer feeding in an area, alter the sounds of the grunt call to reproduce the grunts of several deer. A call with a tube on the end of it allows you to throw your call wherever you choose by pointing the barrel or the tube end of the call in that direction, much like a ventriloquist throws his voice. I always try to throw a call beside or behind my stand when I have a buck at less than 100 yards form me. But you can throw your call in front of your stand, behind your stand and/or on either side of your stand to make the buck to look at those places as he responds to the call. Never cause the buck to look straight at the spot the call has come from – the hunter. Also consider the distance you want the call to cover when you try to decide which call to buy. No grunt call will lure in a buck if the deer doesn’t hear the call. If you plan to call deer across wide-open spaces, use a magnum-type grunt call that’s extremely loud and able to sound across great distances. You’ll also find this call productive on very windy days when you’ll have a difficult time hearing anything but the howling of the wind and the rustling of the leaves. If you hunt thick cover where you only can see 50 yards or so, you may want to utilize a softer call that won’t blow a deer out of the cover and spook him but will coax him to come in to you.

Tomorrow: Why Cackle to Bucks and What About the Bleat Call

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 2