John's Journal...

Calling In Bucks

Why Cackle to Bucks and What About the Bleat Call

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.

Two factors determine whether a buck can hear your call: his distance from the call and the frequency with which you blow the call. In the past, deer-hunting gurus have advised that you, “Grunt three or four times, wait 20 minutes, and then repeat the sequence.” However, a better technique that has derived its name from the turkey-calling indClick to enlargeustry – cackling to bucks – produces numbers of bucks for more hunters. To fire-up a gobbler when turkey hunting, a hunter gives a series of fast clucks and yelps to excite the male bird and force him to come in to where the hunter waits. When you cackle to bucks, you use this same strategy. You blow the grunt call fast and excitedly like a buck’s chasing a doe to breed her. You can give the call a more-realistic sound by moving the barrel of your call around the tree or blowing as you move the call to imitate the sound of a buck’s pursuing a doe. When you cackle to bucks, you call longer and much-more frequently than you do when making a standard grunt. Wayne Carlton of Montrose, Colorado, a longtime Hunter’s Specialties’ Pro Hunt Team member, explains, “I continuously blow the grunt call when using a cackliClick to enlargeng tactic for a minute to 2 minutes non-stop. Then I may wait two minutes and start up again. More people aren’t more successful with the grunt call because they’re not blowing their calls when the deer can hear them. Also, they may not be putting any life or excitement into their calling.” According to Carlton, by grunting aggressively, moving the call around the tree like a buck runs around a tree, pointing the barrel of the call out away from the tree and moving the call toward the tree and then past the tree, you can sound like a buck running all over your area chasing a doe or another buck. “If a buck passes through that region and hears all that grunting going on, he’s much more likely to come and investigate than if he hears a few grunts and then dead silence for 20 minutes,” Carlton emphasizes. “Be more aggressive and more creative with your calling to bring in more bucks.” If you bowhunt, one of the hands-free calls, like Primos’ Still Grunter, will suit you better. But regardless of the type of call you choose, remember never to call when the buck looks at you or comes toward you.

What About the Bleat Call:Click to enlarge
Although I know plenty of hunters who’ve utilized bleat calls to lure in big bucks, you’ll find this not the bleat call’s primary purpose. You can use the bleat call most effectively in the early season to call in does that still have fawns. This distress call of the fawn can bring a doe in quickly. You’ll find the bleat call particularly productive when you tandem bowhunt. When one hunter calls, and the other hunter shoots, the chances of taking a deer increase. The does and/or bucks often will come in quickly after they hear the call. You must get ready to draw and shoot quickly, or else you won’t have time to put the call down to draw and shoot. The hit-and-run method of calling pays the best bleat-call dividends. As quietly as possible, move to within 30 to 50 yards of a bedding area late in the morning. Get in a tree stand without making noise. Wait at least 10 minutes before giving the bleat call. After making two or three series of bleats, leave the area if a deer doesn’t appear. Go to another thick-cover region, and repeat the process.

Tomorrow: Rattling Antlers, Bags and Boxes

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