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Q: How often do you use a grunt call and when are the best times? Also when is the best time to use a doe bleat and how often do you use that? Thanks, Derek R

A: #1 Derek,

I started using a grunt call back in the mid-eighties and had little success with one. I still carried it to the field regularly, but rarely employed it due to a lack of confidence in it as a real effective tool on the hunt. However, that all changed after a long talk with Gene Wensel after he and his brother Barry gave a bowhunting seminar in Tampa in the early nineties.

I asked him if he'd had any success with a grunt call or was it all a gimmick dreamed up by the editors of hunting magazines. He set me straight and his advice changed the way I've hunted from then on. He explained that my grunt tube was a way of actually "talking" to the deer and I had to figure out what it was I was trying to say and then how to say it before I could expect the deer to respond.

When do I use a grunt call? During times of deer activity. If deer are moving about, I'll be calling to them, but I first figure out what I want to say. For example; in most of the places I hunt here in West Central Florida, I want to try to challenge another buck's territorial instincts. I grunt loudy in an eratic pattern of four to five grunts every so often to attract the attention of any bucks traveling in the area. I'm not going to use the deep tone settings on my callers reed because I want to try to sound like a young buck, new to the territory. I want the local bucks to want to come over and try to whip my butt and run me off, not slink away from the deep thundering tones of a buck they think might do that to them. I want to sound like a snot-nosed brat spoiling for a fight, but more of a Pee-wee Herman than a Rambo.

Doe bleets are deadly just before and during the rut when bucks are on the lookout for receptive does. Try to put a little emotion into your call and a sense of urgency. Drag out the bleet loudly for four to five seconds and repeat it a time or two. Don't be shy to make a little noise in the woods; don't be to timid. If they can't hear you they can't come to you!

Do yourself a favor and go to my website and select one of my hand-made, hand-tuned deer grunts and see the difference in your hunting success. www.heirloomgamecalls.com, you'll be glad you did!

Best of luck!

Toby Benoit


DK Flatwoods Pro-Staff

A: #2

I'm probably guilty of overcalling in both the deer and turkey woods. I can't stand to sit passively and "wait" on something to happen by. I grunt off and on every 10 or 15 minutes from the beginning of bow season right on through the end of gun season. During the rut I will mix in the bleats to give the impression that there is a doe in heat being tended by a buck.

I hope the article Aaron forwarded you will help you as well and if you have any specific questions please feel free to give me a holler.

Good luck!

Paul Kish

A: #3 The best times to use either of these calls is during the rut or pre-rut, although I prefer the grunt call because I have never personally heard a doe make that sound before so I don't feel they make it very often.

If you want to use either of these calls, I suggest doing a series every 10 to 15 or so minutes. the idea is to get a deer's attention who may be walking just out of sight or shooting range to come closer to investigate. you may want to try both these calls together.

Either of these calls can also be good to get a deer to stop walking and stand alert so that you can get a good broadside shot at it.

To me, the most effective way to use the grunt call is the "tending" call, where you make short, rhythmic sounds and try to imitate a pig oinking. this is the sound a buck makes who is trailing a hot doe. I have heard and witnessed bucks do this.

Tony Young

Media relations coordinator

FWC-Division of Hunting and Game Management

A: #4

Generally speaking both calls are associated with the rut. I like to use a grunt call in conjunction with a bleat. It gives the illusion that a buck is chasing or attempting to breed a doe. Either call can be used individually.

Bleating by itself simulates a doe in estrus, alone looking for company. This will often stir a reaction to any bucks with earshot, dominate or subordinate.

Grunting at any level is basic arousing the curiosity of any buck in the area. Mature buck grunting can stir a reaction from the more dominate buck or bucks in the area and will sometimes keep your subordinate males from coming any where near your vicinity.

Young buck grunting will often entice either young or old bucks to investigate. The young bucks feel its safer to show their face and the mature bucks will often come looking for a confrontation to their lesser juvenile counterparts.

Scott Ellis

Quaker Boy Game Calls Pro Staff