Nine Bar Ranch Blog

When to Use Calls for Whitetail Deer Hunting Success

when to use calls for whitetail deer

It’s common knowledge for hunters to wear brightly colored clothing and to come prepared on hunting outings with things like: the right equipment, hand warmers, weapons, first aid kit, tree stand and spotting tools. However, all of the tangible “must-haves” will get you nowhere without a solid knowledge of how to hunt. Besides understanding how to properly use your hunting weapon(s) of choice, it’s helpful to know how to use certain aspects of nature to your advantage. For example, it’s wise to utilize “deer language” to attract deer closer to you. Successful hunters not only know what type of call to use, but when to use calls for whitetail deer and other wildlife.

Before you learn a new skill, it’s always smart to understand the purpose of the ability you’re honing. The same holds true for hunting calls. A deer’s vernacular includes two reasons for grunts, a form of “deer language.” Bucks use grunts to either: attract an estrous doe or hound a doe that’s not quite ready to breed. Bucks also grunt to prove their dominance in the presence of another buck, in terms of claiming a doe or territory. Knowing this, it is only advantageous to call a buck at certain times. In general, the best time to use deer calls is the time of year in which bucks are just beginning to show interest in pursuing does.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Deer mating seasons will not be the same time of year in every hunting region, so you should always research deer mating season timing relating to your specific geographic location if you intend to use buck calls.

One of the first rules of deer calling is not to use too many calls. Deer do not vocalize all of the time; therefore a hunter calling in excess will alert the deer of a red flag in the area, which will likely drive them away. Because deer aren’t constantly bleating or grunting, you shouldn’t be either. The general rule of thumb is to use a short sequence of bleats or grunts about every thirty minutes or so. Call for about 30 seconds and then take a moment to observe any reactions. It’s also helpful to start out on the softer side with a call, gradually increasing volume as needed. A sudden, loud call that abruptly cuts through the wooded silence will scare deer away.

when to use calls for whitetail deer

While you can attempt to use hunting calls blindly, you’re bound to have more success with a deer in your sites. Having an eye on a buck before calling is useful since it allows you to read his body language. You’ll be able to know when the buck acknowledges the call so that you can be sure he heard it. This will help you learn how loud your calls need to be at certain distances. If you are watching a buck while you call and he turns to look at you, toss one more grunt his way. If he doesn’t move toward you at this point, you would be wise to either continue observing him in silence or switching tactics to a snort-wheeze or rattling sequence to see what will bring him close enough for you to get a good shot.

Finally, take into account the distance between you and the buck. If a buck is too far away to hear your calls, allow him to wander a bit closer before taking action. Distance is crucial in getting the buck to commit to you. Additionally, if a buck is too close to you when you grunt, it will most likely scare him away. The ideal distance to begin calling is about 80 to 100 yards, depending on the situation, landscape, weather, etc.

Calling takes patience and experience. You may not have success with calls the first few times you use them, but as you get more experience under your belt, you’ll be enticing the big boys in no time. Continue to further educate yourself and make a habit of talking to other hunters who have knowledge about making effective calls. Good luck on your next hunting trip!

Learning About Deer Calls for Hunting


calls for hunting

Human beings are the most intricate and incredible beings to ever be created. This unparalleled creation has evolved throughout its existence to prevail over all other creatures. Despite physical transformations for Homo sapiens, one aspect of life that has conquered time is communication. From the beginning of civilization, the way that individuals communicate has changed, but nevertheless, it has always endured. Though humans have the most complex forms of communication, they are not the only creatures that correspond in order to survive. One of the most well-known animals, deer, are exceptional in connecting with each other. Because we are able to observe these interactions, we know exactly what kind of sounds they produce. Recreating these communicative noises tricks the deer into believing another deer is close by or seeking a mate. Specifically, in the hunting world, calls for hunting, or mimicking deer sounds can bring success to hunters of every level.


Piquing the interest of a lurking buck is incredibly thrilling. Unfortunately, just one badly-timed call or incorrect call will crush those dreams in an instant, as well as leaving you sounding like a dying goose. A little bit of deer calling advice will give you the ability to “talk the talk” (so to speak) the next time you find yourself in the beloved tree stand.


First, it’s important to know that deer are the most receptive to hunting calls in the weeks preceding the peak rut. This is the season in which you’ll find them pursuing a mate, meaning bucks will readily respond to lonely doe calls. During this time of mate-searching, the testosterone-fueled state will make bucks more likely to challenge other males to territorial fights. Strategize and take advantage.


Grunt Calls

Unlike humans, bucks communicate using a grunt in order to test other bucks and attract does. Because the grunt is versatile and common, it’s a given for a hunter to have that call along with them. A longer, low grunt is meant to signal a challenge to another buck. A pattern of short, abrupt grunts is made when chasing an estrous doe.


Snort Wheeze

Reserved for the big boys, this call is typically made from one man to another. By man, we of course mean buck. A buck produces this sound by forcefully pushing air out through his nostrils.  It’s meant to be an aggressive form of communication between two bucks, letting one know that the other is near. Obviously, this would imply a situation between two bucks in which they are possibly challenging each other over one doe.



Following the grunt calls, rattles are the second most common lure utilized by hunters. Buck tend to make this specific sound when fighting during the rut period, and rattling attempts to mimic it. This form of fighting occurs during the pre-rut to post-rut season, known as the rut cycle. In nature, there are differing stages of the rut. For instance, during the pre-rut, bucks are attempting to figure out where they stand on the dominance scale. Depending on the stage of the rut cycle, the buck will make varying sounds in attempt to successfully challenge another buck.



Moving to the other gender, bleats are sounds produced by does and fawns during the time in which they are being pursued by bucks. It’s helpful to know that bleats from a fawn are higher pitched than bleats from a mature doe. This sound seems is a long, “bawling” noise. A tone of a doe bleat is altered slightly when they are estrous, signaling to bucks that they are ready to mate. Any buck that doesn’t already have a mate will quickly become interested.


Learning about communication between inhabitants of nature could make one believe that human communication is rather simple. Despite the variety of calls, deer only have one main form of communication: making noises. This makes a bit easier on the hunter, but before heading out to the tree stand, be sure that you know the correct timing, tones, and choice of call to make.