Deer Grunts and Calls

by John Eaglesmith

Deer Calls, Grunts and Sounds for Deer Hunters


Deer calling can be an effective way to lure bucks, especially when used in conjunction with rattling. It takes a good bit of practice to become proficient at using deer calls. To be a really successful deer caller for monster bucks you need more than just a grunt tube, you also need to know how to vary your calls to match those of the big bucks at that particular stage of the rut, how to make the right vocalization, and when to use certain vocalizations. To be successful will take a lot of time to practice and experiment using different calls, vocalizations, tones, and intensities which will work at different times of year. Calling deer works better than rattling during the off-rut season, but is still more effective during the rut. Even big bucks will sometimes come to the call of another out of curiosity when not in rut, but will have more of a tendency to come rushing during breeding season.

It is best to master your grunt sounds and calling techniques during the off season. You can buy several calls and grunt tubes and practice recreating the sounds at home. Then try some of the calls out in the field during off hunting season to see if you can lure any deer. Non-aggressive calls and grunts will usually work better than rattling at attracting the attention of deer until rutting season.

Following are samples of the most common deer grunts, calls and sounds useful to hunters with a description of when they are most effective and how best to imitate the actual sound that deer make accurately. The recommended times to use are generalizations made on average rutting seasons. This will vary from location to location and season to season depending on the estrous schedule of the doe in that area during that season. The instructions on how to create the sounds effectively are also generalizations and you should adjust these recommendations to what works best in your area.

Buck Sounds

Buck Bleat

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Pre-rut
Time of Year to Use
– Early October through early November
What It Means to Deer
– This sounds a buck’s desire for company and female companionship
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow this call with moderate intensity once or twice every twenty minutes or so.
Listen Here:

Buck Bleat

Buck Grunt

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Pre-rut
Time of Year to Use
– Early October through early November
What It Means to Deer
– Bucks use this call to let other deer know his location and to call for company
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow softly once or twice every fifteen to twenty minutes. A deeper pitch indicates a larger buck. During the heat of the rut you can blow with more intensity.
Listen Here:

Buck Grunt

Buck Grunt – Rage

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Rut through early post rut
Time of Year to Use
– Late October through early December
What It Means to Deer
– This indicates a buck’s frustration when he has found a doe in estrus but she won’t breed.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow this call with moderate intensity once or twice every twenty minutes or so.
Listen Here
:
Buck Grunt – Rage

Buck Grunt – Tending

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Rut through early post rut
Time of Year to Use
– Late October through early December
What It Means to Deer
– This call is a request for doe to stop or come for breeding.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow this call softly ten to fifteen times in rapid succession several times per hour.
Listen Here:

Buck Grunt – Tending

Sparring Sounds

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Pre-rut
Time of Year to Use
– Early October through early November
What It Means to Deer
– This is the sound bucks make during play fights before the actual rut to sort early social order.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Make these mild rattling sounds for a few seconds up to a couple of minutes a two to four times per hour. Combine with soft grunts for additional realism and effectiveness.
Listen Here:

Sparring Sounds

Buck Sniff

Aggression Level- Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through rut, second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Mid October through late November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– This sound is made to intimidate other deer and is often made by bucks during the heat of the rut before physical confrontations
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Make three sniffs just before rattling to indicate a confrontation is coming.
Listen Here:

Buck Sniff

Buck Wheeze

Aggression Level- Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through rut, second rut
Time of Year to Use
- Mid October through late November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– This is another sound bucks make during the rut for intimidation prior to confrontation.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Make one to three drawn out wheezed before aggressive rattling.
Listen Here:

Buck Wheeze

Aggressive Buck Grunt

Aggression Level- Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through rut, second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Mid October through late November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– One more sound that bucks make for intimidation or during the rut prior to confrontation.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Make one to three angry grunts every fifteen to twenty minutes or before aggressive rattling.
Listen Here:
Aggressive Buck Grunt

Aggressive Rattling

Aggression Level – Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through rut, second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Mid October through late November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– Aggressive rattling indicates that fights for breeding superiority are in progress. Other dominate bucks are attracted to make their bid for a doe.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Make a big crash then rattle the tines for a minute to a minute and a half, followed five to ten minutes later with another shorter thirty second to one minute episode. Wait for twenty to thirty minutes between rattling series.
Listen Here:

Aggressive Rattling

Doe Sounds

Estrus Bleat

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut to early rut, early post-rut, early second rut through mid second rut.
Time of Year to Use
– Late October through mid November, late November through mid December
What It Means to Deer
– This is a doe communicating that she is nearly ready to breed
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow two to three moderately loud calls three to four times per hour.
Listen Here:

Estrus Bleat

Breeding Bellow

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through early post rut
Time of Year to Use
– Early November through early December
What It Means to Deer
– This signals that a doe is ready to breed right now.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow a series of loud bleets followed by a guttural moan every fifteen to twenty minutes.
Listen Here:
Breeding Bellow

Contact Call

Aggression Level - Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Mid pre-rut to early rut, early post-rut, early second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Mid October through mid November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– Does use this call to locate other members of her family when she has become separated or lost.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow two to three loud calls about every twenty seconds three or four times per hour.
Listen Here:
Contact Call

Doe Bleat

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Late pre-rut through mid rut, early post rut, early second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Late October through mid November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– Does use this call to communicate their location to fawns and family groups.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow two to three moderate calls three to four times per hour.
Listen Here:

Doe Bleat

Doe Grunt

Aggression Level – Non-Aggressive
Phase of Rut to Use In
– Mid pre-rut through mid rut, early post rut, early second rut
Time of Year to Use
– Mid October through mid November, late November through Early December
What It Means to Deer
– This is a does soft call for company and for bucks to come.
How to Recreate The Sound Effectively
– Blow two to three soft grunts every fifteen to twenty minutes.
Listen Here:

Doe Grunt

Deer Hunting Tips

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