The Daily, The Field, The Woods

Try grunting with a deer decoy

If you’ve never used a grunt tube to call bucks, you may be surprised in two ways: the call, properly used at the correct time, can call a buck within easy bow range.

The second way to be surprised is the sounds the call will make. It vaguely reminds one of … ah, how can I put this delicately? Ah, ah, let’s see … ah, well, ah, sort of like someone four hours after eating a big plate of refried beans.

There, that’s out of the way. For a first-time buck grunter, one often spends the first sequence of calling smiling and silently giggling. Just often enough, a grunt call will effectively pull a nice buck close enough for a decent shot.

A grunt tube sounds obnoxious but it does work…sometimes

There are two things to bear in mind about using a grunt call. No sounds you can make will scare deer away. The second thing is that it works best when you can see a buck.

Here’s the scenario. You are sitting in a ground blind or tree stand, and spot a buck some distance away. A low grunt, breathe and grunt again for three or four seconds may stop a buck if he hears the call.

If the wandering buck stops, appears indecisive about what to do, wait and see what it does do. An amazing thing about grunt calls is that one buck will come to the call, and another one won’t. You always work on the basic philosophy that this antlered critter is one that will. Feel it and believe in it.

Watch the deer. The animal knows precisely where the sound comes from, and may work his way cautiously or come on a dead run toward you. If the buck walks, trots or runs in your direction, do nothing but get prepared for a shot.

Pay attention to how a buck reacts to a call; Don’t over-call

However, if the buck looks around and acts as if it doesn’t know what it heard, wait. If the buck turns, and starts walking away, blow another sequence of calls but do so softly. If the buck stops, turns around and looks, wait to see if he will come. If he turns to walk away, give another calling sequence but even softer and shorter than before. Make it sound as if a doe or another buck is walking away.

That often is all it takes to turn a deer around. Watching how a buck reacts to the deer call is very important. Once they start coming in your direction, get ready for a shot because the buck may move to within 10 feet of your position.

There are any number of grunt calls available. There are calls that a hunter can blow into, but they can freeze up in cold weather. Other grunt calls work by inhaling air through the calls. A few have both features where authentic sounding calls can be made by inhaling and exhaling. This gives a very realistic tending buck grunt.

Try using an extension to position your call on the ground

One company believes that most big bucks are never found in trees, and it has an inhale tube that passes through 18 feet of rubber tubing so the call appears to be coming from ground level. This call appeals to me simply because it come from ground level, and a buddy of mine never sits over 15 feet off the ground and he calls bucks to him regularly.

According to my friend the best time to call bucks is prior to the rut. Bucks, he says, pay little attention to a grunt call during the rut and post-run periods. But other hunters disagree with that philosophy. They feel grunting may work anytime during the hunting season. Nothing about a grunt call  will frighten deer so I believe in using them whenever I but bucks within sight can come if they hear the call. It really can pay off at any time of the season.

Grunting with a nearby deer decoy can be deadly early in the season until just before the rut begins. This same man, who shall remain anonymous by his wishes, uses a deer decoy and a long-tubed grunt call at the same time.

Adding a deer decoy improves the effectiveness of a grunt call

He positions the deer decoy where to whether he plans to shoot a buck or a doe. Bucks will almost always circle and come to a doe decoy from the rear. He uses a small strip of white towel, and tacks it to the hind end of his doe decoy. The cloth is saturated with some type of doe-in-heat lure, and he strings 6-pound mono from him to a screw eye to an overhanging branch near the decoy’s rump. He ties one end of the mono to the white cloth strip, runs it through the screw eye(s), and to his position in the tree.

If a buck is spotted, he gives one or two grunt sequences, making them soft and guttural sounding. Once the buck looks his way, he gently pulls on the mono line, and the combination of a grunt, the sex lure and a moving white strip of cloth on the doe’s rump, makes it looks like a doe flicking its tail. Bucks often move in with caution.

My buddy thinks calling can be overdone. He begins with a short and soft muffled grunt that last one or two seconds, a pause, another longer and slightly louder drawn-out grunt that lasts several seconds, another pause, and a soft and short grunt, and that’s it. If needed, repeat the sequence again, but call every 30 minutes. Sometimes blind calling will attract a buck passing through the area even though it is out of sight.

Using a grunt call isn’t for everyone. If you feel self-conscious, leave it home. It the sounds doesn’t bother you, and you wish to add two more tools to your deer-hunting arsenal, give a grunt call and doe decoy a try.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


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