It's time to take your gloves off when deer keep you in your treestand when you want to leave!
Tips for Using Deer Calls
With crossbow, firearm, and late-season muzzleloading deer seasons sneaking up on the Northeast, New England, and Midwest states, it is time to start practicing all the different deer calls including the all-season versatile snort, grunt, adult blat and fawn vocalizations. It is even more crucial to understand which calls to use during different hunting scenarios.
For instance, how many times have you been in a treestand and are ready to leave (particularly as the light is fading), but because there are deer around your stand, you end up having to sit there until they leave? It can be hard to tolerate waiting in your stand, particularly in bone-chilling weather. Should you make the poor decision to try to sneak out (especially if it is dark and cold), the odds are you will spook the deer. In so doing, you’ll alert them to the fact that your stand represents a danger point. Here’s how to end that problem once and for all.
Use the most resourceful vocalization, albeit the most misunderstood call -- the primary snort. The specific cadence of the primary snort that you want to use is the alarm distress. This cadence is one that all hunters have heard. It is the sounds made when a deer blows several snorts in a row. The first two snorts are loud and have a SLIGHT hesitation between them – WHEW, WHEW. They are quickly followed by four to five more snorts that are less loud and blown back-to-back. Whew, whew, whew, whew, whew. As the last snorts are made the volume naturally tails off as the deer expels air and loses its breath. In addition, most times the deer that blew the alarm-distress snort is already running off – hence another reason that the last four to five snorts should be less loud than the first two snorts. When you make this call, you can blow two complete cadences of the alarm distress in order to emphasize to the deer that this is another deer sending a vital message to get the heck out of the area -- post haste. Using deer calls, rattling techniques, or decoying is all about creating the ENTIRE ILLUSION.
When you want to clear deer away from your stand during any time of the day, blow the one or two cadences of the alarm distress. Blow the call in the opposite direction of where the deer are -- if that is at all practical to do without alerting the deer to your presence. When you do turn to blow the call, don’t turn around to look and see if the deer have left. Since their attention will be focused in the area where they heard the call, seeing your movement will only alert them to your presence. Instead, wait a couple of minutes and slowly turn to see if they have vacated the area. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that they have – but only if you made the call correctly.
By using this snort vocalization to spook deer from around a treestand or blind when you want to leave the stand – you have eliminated the age-old problem of having deer relate the stand as a place where they encountered a human predator. Once that happens, the stand loses its surprise element. It now becomes either a point of concern for deer to be cautious around or worse yet, a place for an adult doe or buck to totally avoid in daylight. This is particularly true if deer are spooked a time or two from the same stand – especially after an afternoon hunt has just ended.
To practice this call, try blowing it in a non-hunting scenario. You should be someplace other than where you hunt and try it with a bunch of deer feeding contently in a field, for instance. If the deer immediately lift their heads and begin to run off, tails up or tucked, you have correctly made the call. If they come to alert but do not run off, the odds are you made the call too lightly, didn’t include enough snorts, or the volume of the entire sequence was not right. In other words – blow the first two snorts loudly, and then the next four or five must become lower as each snort is made. This is especially important as it imitates what happens naturally when a deer blows the alarm-distress.
This vocalization is also a powerhouse call to intentionally roust or spook deer from cover. It can be used to force deer from blowdowns, standing corn, swamps, thickets, swales, or anywhere else you think a savvy buck may be hiding hoping that you pass him by. For more detailed information on how to blow the alarm-distress, or the alarm, social or snort wheeze (note that I did not say the snort-grunt-wheeze) go to YouTube and watch and listen to me demonstrate all the different snort vocalizations and when, where, why and how to use them.
Lastly, the snort you see me use on our DVD “Tactics for Talking to Deer” and on YouTube is the old Lohman #32 snort call. We were the exclusive distributors and retailers of the Lohman snort for several years. About four years ago, Lohman discontinued manufacturing and selling the #32 snort call. It took us two years to find another company that could manufacture a snort call to our precise specifications. Our new snort on our website (www.deerdoctor.com) is called The Deer Doctor’s Ultimate Snort Call. One of the downsides of the old Lohman snort call was that when it was blown incorrectly it made a sound like a kazoo. Our new call totally eliminates this potential problem because it does not have any reeds. It sounds identical to the old Lohman snort call and it is used in the same exact way that I demonstrate the old Lohman #32 snort.
It’s time for deer hunters to be in their stands! October 31st has proven time-and-time again to be the onset of increased buck movement for the start of the “big chase” phase of the primary rut. From today until about November 15th buck movement will steadily increase as bucks’ testosterone levels increase. This is the time when bucks regularly chase after does, even in daylight, and check to see which female deer are beginning to come into estrus. The “big chase” phase of the primary rut historically begins from October 31st and progressively increases until it peaks around November 14 – give or take a day or two on either end. From that point on, the primary rut takes place – when bucks are actually “tending” does (breeding them). That traditionally begins around November 15th. About 28 days later, the late or post rut takes place in December. Most times, the post rut occurs during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons. Game department biologists regulate deer seasons to match rut phases – a significant point to confirm the above dates.
One more critical point about the rut. There are four phases – not three. The false rut, the big chase, the primary, and the post rut. All phases take place no matter what the temperatures are. A cold rut simply generates more daylight rutting activity. During a warm rut, deer activity peaks in the wee hours of dusk to dawn. The rut is brought on ONLY by a decrease in light which is picked up by the pre-orbital gland in the corner of a buck’s eye. This change in light sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland located in a deer’s brain – and rut behavior is set into motion. Photoperiodism is totally responsible for kicking off and ending the white-tailed deer’s mating season. The rut happens the same time throughout the country based solely on light within the different latitudes and longitudes in North America.
If you want more detailed info about the rut, you can find it in two of my books, Whitetail Tactics: Cutting Edge Strategies That Work in a chapter “Anatomy of the Rut: Real-World Timing,” and in my other book Rx for Deer Hunting Success in the chapters “Mother Nature Sets Rut Dates – Not the &^%$#$@ Moon,” and “Scientific Research Debunks Moon Phase Theories”. So, to help get this info into your hands at a great price, for the next five days (Oct. 31 thru Wed. 11/4) both books are discounted 50% off their retail price. They are marked down from $24.95 to $12.48 and from $19.99 to $9.99.
Next week I will cover the most misused of deer calls – the grunt.
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