LABELING A LONG, plaintive doe call an “estrous bleat” is marketing hype. Does make the sound year-round. Likewise, dubbing a loud, drawn-out grunt a “growl” or “roar” is a stretch. But don’t let that stop you from making either call.
Why? First, because deer do indeed make these sounds, no matter what they’re named. Second, both are loud natural calls. When you need to turn a buck that’s about to walk beyond bow range, the single most important factor in your calling is that the deer hears it. And here’s how to ensure he does:
Grunt Like You Mean It
By now, every hardcore deer hunter has heard of M.A.D.’s Buck Growl (1; flambeauoutdoors.com and Primos’s Buck Roar (2; primos.com) calls. According to the hype, both emit a unique vocalization of sexually frustrated bucks’basically, a long, loud tending grunt. To me, these models stand out because they offer plenty of what most standard grunt calls lack: volume. They’re capable of making quiet grunts but also loud short grunts, loud medium-length grunts, loud longish grunts, and full-blown “growls” or “roars.” Thus you have a lot of options for turning a departing buck toward your stand.
Come to Ma-Ma
In many situations, the sound from a can-style bleat call doesn’t carry far enough to be effective. That’s why I like to make a ma-ma call on a mouth-blown reed model, like the Woods Wise Breeding Bellow (woodswise.com). This is a louder, more protracted sound. You produce it by saying’you guessed it'”ma-ma” as you exhale then inhale into the call. It works extremely well to attract does (especially mature ones) and is great for getting a rutting buck’s attention.