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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The morning was overcast and dark and it was threatening to rain. There was about four inches of crusty snow on the ground and very noisy for walking. With the air being hollow that morning, you could hear a chipmunk "pass gas" at four hundred yards so I chose a perch on a knoll overlooking some transsition woods.I had walked the half mile from my truck, alerting every thing with a mile, I suspected but hudddled in my heavy hunting clothes and lugging my trusty 3.08 Savage, I settled on a fallen log. Within minutes, deep silence settled over the woods once more so I brought out my elastic banded harmonica style doe bleat and started calling. Another few minutes of deep silence, punctuated by the occasional cracking of a tree limb and...crunch, crunch, crunch. It was faint at first but was growing louder as it approached. I had stopped bleating as soon as I heard the first crunches but it was approaching steadily, not stopping or hesitating and I sat there straining my eyes to see what it was. The anticipation that it might be a buck...maybe a big buck started me trembling and breathing a bit ragged. My heart raced as adrenaline surged through my veins and suddenly...there he was...sixty yards and closing. His tail stuck straight out behind him, quivering and the big buck sniffed the air as he finally stopped between two big cedar trees, just fifty yards down below me. I was actually shaking as I raised my rifle, much like a cat twitching its tail as it spots its prey. My first shot was a bad one and instead of hitting him high in the brisket, stung his left ear as it punched right through. He shook his head violently, snorted, ran in a small circle and stopped right where he'd been at first.I couldn't believe my luck! My second shot was more controlled and he collapsed immediately as the bullet slammed into his brisket. He was a big seven pointer with a wide, fairly heavy rack and he field dressed at 190 pounds. Had he come to my doe bleat call or was it just curiosity? After many years of calling and rattling in bucks since then, I am convinced he was coming to find that hot doe he thought he had heard.
Now, that is the topic you use calls or rattling antlers...doe bleats or buck grunters...or rattling antlers and have theey worked for you or are you the "silent" type of hunter?

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I use a deer call that you have to blow in. It has an adjustable reed in it, so that I can cover fawn to monster buck.

The reed selector has detents that ensure a consistent sound so you are not guessing.

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I'm definitely a caller.I've called in many deer by bleating,using only my mouth,and more than a few using a grunt tube.One of the nicest bucks I've seen taken was a fourteen pointer taken on the first day of hunting season many years ago.I was guiding a fellow who had never taken a deer and was desperate to get one.I knew where a dandy was travelling,so I put him up in a large pine tree overlooking a nice chopping and I told him after things settled down to give a few bleats on his band type call.A short time later,I heard him shoot.He told me that buck came right in to the call and stood off about sixty yards and proceeded to demolish a small maple.He took his first buck with a single shot to the spine and what a buck it was!I will also say I haven't had great sucess with rattling horns.Not sure why,just doesn't seem to happen for me. Cheers!.....RB

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I have had some success with grunt calls, and bleat calls, but I don't believe that our buck to doe ratio in NB is currently at a level that would be good for rattling or most calling, beyond a curiosity attractant.(in my area at least) does so far outnumber bucks that you don't see the chasing and competition for does.

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Mostly silent, but when I get bored I'll haul out the ol' rubber-band bleater or, more rarely, the grunt tube -- very sparingly.
I've never grunted in a buck.
I've attracted a few deer of either sex with the doe bleat, but that's over many years.
I've tried rattling in the past, to no avail. I'm done rattling.
I'll be mostly silent unless I'm confident there's a deer hung up that won't commit, then I'll try the bleat or the grunt, one or the other, very sparingly.
The way some hunters tell me they hoot and toot on their calls, you'd swear they were playing French horn for Miles Davis' backup band. Geez....

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I cant tell you how many times i've rattled but i've only been hunting deer 15 years so i would guess around 40 times during my deer hunting.I doubt its been fifty times over the years and i have rattled in 4 bucks that i've seen and pressume a few more.The deer i got last fall run out of a clearcut when i pulled in with my truck, i tried following him on bare ground and kept jumping him.I made a choice to run back to the truck and drive to the other end of the cut and walk towards where i'd last jumped him.When i was within 200 yards of where i'd last seen him i sat down behind a big spruce and said the heck with tickling the tines and smashed them together for 45 secs to a minute, not 90 seconds later i spot movement up through the woods and see a deer makin his way towards me.I let him come and he would have walked by me within 10 feet but took him at about 25 yards.3 yr old ten point, dressed 188 lb.The most aggresive answer i got from rattling was my second deer a yr old 4 point who came running from way off as i started rattling.It was a very noisy morning and i could here him running towards me from a long ways off, he stopped about 30 yards away and started rubbing a small fir tree.

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I have rattled a few times back in my rifle hunting days. But I never really had much luck at it. I do know of one instance where a buck (I think) responded, but I spooked him before I got a clear look at him.

Most of the time I was never really comfortable rattling, with other hunters in the woods.

I also carried one of the rubber band deer calls for many years, used it occasionally with not much response as well.

But once I "did" have a doe approach and stand broadside 25 feet from me (in the woods) with not a leave or twig between us, and me in my blaze hunter orange vest and hat! Bow in one hand, one of those doe bleat can calls in the other. Lucky for her, I wasn't interested in a doe!

But grunt calls, now that is a different subject all together. Here are three stories (I'll try and keep them as short as possible) to do with the subject of buck grunts. These hunts were all on crown land in the Grand John area.

I was bow hunting one day over a scrape, and had just left my stand to head out to the cut for lunch. On the way I ran into a spike buck. He froze and I just dropped to the ground, got my pack off and nocked an arrow. He then ran about 50 yds back the way he had come. This was in hardwood, so I could still see him. I got out my call which had a doe bleat on one end and a grunt on the other.

The doe call got no response, but at the first grunt he started my way. I grunted a few more times, and it brought that little buck right around in front of me in a clear shooting lane.

Of course I then drew and put my 20 yd pin on him, fired and the arrow hit the ground under his belly. oops! More like 30 yds!

This next incident happened in 1985 near Grand John lake. I never had a grunt call back then. I don't even remember too much hype around them at that time. I didn't put much thought into them if they did anyway.

I used to hunt all along the top of the steep contours of Middle Brook Ridge. This morning it was warmer than usual for late November. There was about 3 inches of snow on the ground, but it was drizzling that morning and so foggy you could only see a few yds.

I had still hunted very slowly for a few hours, when I heard a raven croaking up ahead of me. I hadn't heard any shots so far that morning, so figured someone had maybe taken a deer the day before, and the ravens were on a gut pile.

I kept hearing the deep guttural sound that distinguishes a raven from a crow. I must be getting close I thought.
Just then a deer ran across in front of me. I couldn't tell if it had antlers or not. I took a few more steps trying to get a glimpse of it again.

I could still hear the raven croaking, but was starting to doubt my gut pile theory. A deer would not stay near one I thought. And that was when it hit me. I had read about bucks grunting, but had never actually heard one. But this must be a buck making that sound. My heart did a double take. And within a mere minute or two, out stepped a huge buck walking across right where the doe had crossed.

He stopped right in front of me broadside at about 50 yds. He brought his head up and looked in the direction the doe had gone. I brought my rifle up, and got him in the crosshairs, but there was a big hardwood directly in front of his shoulder. I moved to his neck, and just as I was about to fire he turned and looked in my direction. I assumed he saw the movement.

His neck was now covered as well. So I moved back to the shoulder and got in as close to the tree as I could. I was afraid of paunching him, but thought he might bolt at any moment.

At the shot he ran directly away from me, and to this day I can still remember how high his rack looked from behind.
I hurried after him in case a second shot was needed. But the old 7mm did a great job, and I had actually not been too far back. The bullet had hit high in the lungs and exited leaving a good blood trail. He only went about 50 yards and was down.

He was a really high basket nine point with a hole in the underside of each main beam. That was the first time I had ever heard a buck grunt, and actually haven't heard it too many time since. A few. But not many.

Now this next story was even more exciting than that one.
The year was 1991, and I this day I was hunting over on the other side of Middle Brook ridge near Malarchy Brook.

I had sat on a hardwood knoll and ate my lunch. Then I decided to hunt my way down towards a series of dead waters I had hunted many times before.

I was hunting through a hardwood strip, when I caught a glimpse of a doe about a hundred yds ahead.
She was there, then gone…there…then gone again. It was like she was running around in circles.

I don't know why, but I took out my grunt call (yes I got one after the buck grunting incident), and blew on it a few times. All of a sudden she ran like a rabbit from right to left all the way across in front of me. She ran up the slight grade to a hill on my left. And then…right on her trail was a buck, trotting fast, nose to the ground. I then understood why she was running around, he was dogging her bad!

I tracked him in the scope and he stopped. I aimed for his shoulder and fired. He took off on up the grade, and stopped once more. I could see him rubbing a small hardwood sapling, and thought man…he should be going down!
I put the crosshairs right in the point of his neck and shoulder, and fired again. Once more he took off on up the hill in the direction of the doe and out of sight. I was sure I had hit him…once…twice? Hopefully once at least?

But for some strange reason I didn't just run down to the spot. And to this day I don't know why? Instead I stood there and blew my grunt call a few more times.

Then I heard a noise coming from my left towards the hill. There I thought…that's his final crashing around in the leaves. But the sound seemed to be getting louder!

I had been using a tree on my left to rest my rifle against, and actually had to lean way back behind around the tree too see in that direction.

On that side, the 50 yd hill had a really steep drop down to the bottom.. then leveled out to me. Well …to my shock!…coming hell bent down that steep incline is a buck!

He gets to the bottom and stands a mere 30 feet from me with his front feet up on a hump of ground, eyes wide…facing down in the direction that the deer had originally come from. I simply poked my rifle out around the tree next to me and hit him squarely in the ribs. He went down hard.

I stood there in utter shock! And I swear …at that moment I honestly believed I had two bucks down! I could not believe it …not until I backtracked the deer trail down in the hardwood.

It was the same buck! And was even harder to believe that I had actually missed him twice! I stood where he had made the rub and blew my grunt call again to see if another buck would indeed appear as well. But instead as I stood there, here comes the doe running right down the steep hill where the buck came from and stood in the exact spot I had done the shooting.

We stood there looking at each other with the dead buck between us. That buck had heard those last few grunts and was "hunting" me! He was a fine buck, 11 points with long swept back brow tines. The only reason I can think of for missing him twice was that the bullets must have been hitting saplings....or at least thats my excuse!

So I do believe in the power of a grunt call for sure. I just don't use it much for farm country bait hunting. Not random grunting…but maybe if a buck comes in and won't commit. In the right instances and in real close…they can make a difference for sure. I'll always carry one with me just in case.

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Rattling and calling on my grunt works,in the last five years iv'e taken five bucks by rattling and calling, four of them were trophy class bucks,the buck I got last year was a young six point,he came within fifteen yards after a rattling sequence.The trick to rattling in bucks here in n.b. (IMO) is to keep doing it....often...I use a rattling and calling sequence about every half hour or so without fail.A lot of hunters say that it doesn't work very well here in n.b., but like I said, you have to keep at works,the proof is hanging on my wall.
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