How To Make Realistic Calls for Chase-Phase Bucks

by Bill Vaznis

In that frantic period just before the peak rut, when does are running in every direction from prying noses, calling bucks away from their playing-hard-to-get girlfriends may seem like a waste of time. But in fact, the chase phase is one of the best times to talk a trophy into shooting range.

Not quite ready to breed yet, does bolt away when suitors get too close. Invariably, some bucks lose contact with the objects of their affection--and become very susceptible to your calls. Suddenly alone, they use all their senses to relocate a doe, turning your estrous bleats and contact grunts potentially deadly.

What if you don't have a grunt tube or bleat call handy? No problem. During the chase, a handful of unorthodox sound-making methods can lure these bucks.

#1 - Try tapping or scuffing the leaves with a long stick to simulate the footfalls of a doe. You don't even have to sound like a female deer; these lone bucks will react to male company, too. Another good trick is to rub a smaller, dry stick against a sapling to imitate the noise from a buck taking out his frustrations on a young tree. Where there's enough cover at ground level to keep you hidden (and where it's safe to do so) waggle the sapling's crown back and forth. A buck that sees this from a distance can hardly resist investigating.

#2 - Raking leaf litter with a stick or your hand as if making a scrape can also be very effective. I always toss the duff high into the air because the rain of debris pelting the forest floor seems to bring these bucks running. Almost any natural-sounding noise can work. Deer often snap dry branches underfoot, and I've lured bucks into range simply by breaking a few twigs.
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3 - Just stay on your toes**. Immediately after making each sound, drop to one knee and get your gun or bow up. Trust me, when a wild-eyed bruiser charges your position looking for love, you'll want to either shoot or run. So be ready to shoot.