One of the most exciting aspects of hunting the whitetail rut is that bucks can be moving at all hours. Mature bucks that wouldn’t step outside of their sanctuary thicket before dark are out and about, seeking and chasing does.
But even though bucks are active and looking for does, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to see one. That’s when calling comes in.
Last week in central Georgia a hunter was sitting along a logging road when he heard, in his words, a sound like a cow bellowing, but not quite as deep. It was very loud and repetitive, with a mourning, almost desperate noise.
Shortly thereafter, he saw two crazed bucks running around after a doe that was making the sound. The doe was in estrus and was emitting this mournful bellow, which the hunter believes had attracted the rutting bucks.
The hunter passed on the bucks, and later decided to try to mimic the doe’s sound. He let out some loud bellows, and to his surprise, two different bucks popped out of the brush to stare in his direction. He had stumbled on an effective call that brought bucks running in.
On certain occasions, a doe will make this bellowing call to draw in bucks. It sounds very similar to what is made by the popular can style of calls. These calls sound like a cow in some regards and are supposed to mimic a doe in estrus. The problem is, they are just not very loud.
I’ve found that you can blow into the hole on the can calls and make the same sounds at a different cadence. You can make repetitive bellows or any other sort of pattern that you think may work. But it just doesn’t seem to be loud enough to reach out to the ears of a buck at a decent distance.
In addition to the can call, buck hunters should carry a grunt call, scents, and something to rattle with. My favorite is the Pack Rack because the sound is loud, authentic and easy to carry. When the rut is on, as it will soon be in Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas, calls can make the difference between seeing bucks and seeing nothing at all.