John’s Note: Often deer hunters don’t consider rattling in the early season for deer. But some nationally-known hunters use a combination of rattling and grunting to bring deer to them in the early season.
Eddie Salter – Grunting and Rattling:
Eddie Salter, two-time World Champion turkey caller and Sportsman Channel TV personality, lives in the woods during deer season. In his home state, he hunts pre-rut, rut and post-rut deer from October 15 to January 31 each year. “I believe the most-effective rattling and grunting during the early season occurs when you produce just enough sound to prick the buck’s curiosity,” Salter explains. “I like to use a rattling bag and very-light grunts to try and call deer at the first of the season. I believe that causing a deer to come and investigate the sounds you’re making will result in more bucks being bagged than simulating a life-or-death buck fight in the early season. At the first of deer season, light calling will bring in young bucks as well as older bucks. I’ve found young bucks are usually easier to call in than older bucks because they’re just like young children on a playground. When a fight breaks out, the youngsters want to see which deer are fighting, and what the outcome of the battle will be.
“I’ve found that rattling and grunting are the most-effective before the does come into estrus and after the peak of the rut’s over. Usually when the rut’s on, the very-big bucks will be with estrous does and aren’t as interested in coming to antlers and grunting as they will be before the rut or after the rut.
“Always keep in mind that the white-tailed deer is a very social animal. Any time you make any type of deer sound, you can call in bucks. I believe the hunter should take his deer grunt call and his rattling antlers with him every time he hunts, just like he puts on his camouflage whenever he goes in to the woods. Although at the first of the season you’ll probably rattle and grunt-up young bucks rather than older bucks, I prefer to see a buck, any buck, than no deer when I’m hunting deer.”
Brad Harris on Rattling:
However, the grunt call is not the only call to utilize to bag deer. Nationally-known hunter and TV and video personality Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri, says if you’re not concerned about the size of the deer but are concentrating on putting meat in your freezer, use the bleat call. “The grunt call is very effective in bringing in does and young deer – especially early in the season. I use the grunt call as a contact call to let a deer know another deer is in the area. It also is a distress call that calls in does. To use it as a contact call, simply make short, non-aggressive, monotone notes. Short, single, calm-sounding notes seem to communicate to deer in the region that, `I’m another deer. Come over here.’ Because deer are both social and curious, they want to know what other deer in their area are doing and will come to investigate when they hear the simple contact bleat.”
To communicate the sound of a young fawn in distress with the grunt call, Harris recommends you blow the call from a high-pitched note to a very low-pitched note to resemble a cry. “When you give a distress bleat, you trigger the maternal instincts of the doe,” Harris reports. “Then she’ll come in quickly and even may run hard toward you to see if a young deer has gotten caught up in a fence or is cornered by a coyote. As soon as you hear the doe moving, go ahead, and draw your bow. Once the doe comes in, stops and doesn’t see what she expects to, she will leave quickly. However, if you’ve got your bow drawn and are prepared for the shot, you can release before the deer knows you’re there. But too you possibly may scare the deer away when you blow the distress call. You have about a 50/50 chance of calling deer in with a distress call, which is why I prefer to use the contact bleat most of the time.”
To get John E. Phillips’ eBooks and print books on hunting deer, including his newest deer-hunting book, “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks,” available at http://amzn.to/2bYwYOK/, click on these books to learn more, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings.” Or, go to www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. You also can find John’s books on Nook at www.barnesandnoble.com.
For free information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.