‘Speaking’ to deer works well

Now that we’re in the midst of deer season and the rut is on, there is no better time for Sunset Country hunters to utilize many of the calls and tools developed to mimic the various sounds that whitetails make.
Grunt tubes, bleat cans, rattling antlers, and a variety of other specific sound imitators all have a place in a hunter’s pack.
I spend a good portion of my fall guiding and hunting, and have witnessed how many of these devices cause deer to act out some amazing actions over the years.
Grunt tubes are the standard call most hunters keep handy during November. They are easy to keep in a pocket or wear around your neck for easy access.
Grunt tubes make sounds that imitate the vocalizations of a whitetail buck. Bucks grunt a lot more than most folks think, and they use different tones and cadences in different situations.
They will grunt softly in single tones when they want to let another deer know that they are around. Things change, however, when they are chasing a doe and they will grunt continuously in an attempt to court the opposite sex.
Their tone is all over the place and they just don’t stop. It’s like a bheep, bheep, bheep cadence.
I’ve actually heard them keep grunting for minutes at a time when they are chasing a doe.
Bleat cans, meanwhile, imitate the sound of a female whitetail that is in heat and is “bleating” in order to let bucks know that she is ready to breed.
If you see or have a feeling that a buck is around, one toot on this can will send an eager buck into a heavy trot in your direction.
These cans should be used regularly during this phase of the hunting season—both to call bucks in and to stop those that may be moving past a waiting hunter.
Rattling—a technique of banging two antlers together to imitate bucks fighting—is, in my opinion, the number-one method to attract whitetail bucks within shooting range.
It is effective in the weeks leading up to the rut, and will call bucks in right through the month of November.
Bucks of all sizes fight and spar much more than most hunters know, and I see plenty of evidence of this on the trail cameras that I use. My cameras have taken at least a dozen photos of bucks fighting this season alone.
Imagine how many are fighting that are not in front of the camera.
I like to rattle with a set of fresh shed antlers that I found. They make a loud racket when banged together and sound very realistic.
Hunters can find imitation antlers and rattling bags made for rattling at outdoor stores, and these sound pretty good, too.
Whitetails are extremely good at pinpointing where sounds come from and this makes rattling a great two-person technique because the person doing the rattling actually can get in a thick spot in the woods and hide while the shooter can hide out in the open and have more options for sight.
When I rattle, I make as much noise as possible for up to five minutes at a time. I’ll smash the antlers together, stomp the ground, and find a dead fallen tree that I can break the branches on.
I have seen mature bucks fighting before and they make a lot of noise.
As far as locations to rattle, I like to find places in the woods where I can see at least 50 yards in a couple of different directions. Try to have a good lane or opening downwind of your position as this is where most of the bucks will show up.
Finally, I like wait for about 10-15 minutes after a rattling session. If nothing shows up, slowly keep moving along for a couple hundred yards and try another session.
Some hunters will wait for up to an hour after a rattling session for a buck to show up, but in my experience, most bucks will show up within minutes of when you finish—looking for a fight.
If you get out in the next couple of weeks to hunt for whitetails, don’t be afraid to try using some of these tools to imitate deer in the wild.
When deer respond to these calls, it is the biggest rush from anything I’ve ever experienced.
You could have the experience of a lifetime with one of the smartest animals in the woods.

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