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Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

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Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Old 12-19-2004, 06:06 AM
  #1  
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Default Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Hi all,

I'm a novice deer hunter. Earlier this year during gun season, I shot my first deer...a button buck. In my county, the bag limit is one deer, so I'm done for the season. So yesterday afternoon, I tagged along with my dad while he hunted with a crossbow

We got back to the blind about 3:00 PM. The blind sits on the edge of a woods beside ditch. After we put out some Wildlife Research Center Excite Doe in Heat Urine, I sat on the side facing the woods while my dad with his crossbow sat facing the wheat and corn stubble fields. I immediately began to blow on the doe bleat call....on or two short bleats every 10-20 minutes in the direction I figured the deer would be bedded down in the woods. At about 4:30, a buck emerged from the woods on the other side of the ditch about 50 yards away. He walked slowly out in into the corn stubble. He stuck his nose into the wind and smelled the doe urine. He took a few steps towards us and stopped...sniffing the wind. He must have gotten wind of us because he turned and started to walk away across the field. I got out the doe bleat and gave it a short, soft blow. He stopped immediately and stared at us. Then he headed back in our direction and stopped...and then turned around and walked away. I blew the call again. This must have gone on for 10 minutes...the buck basically walked in circles as I blew on the call ever 3 minutes, but I could never get him to come close enough for a shot. When an ambulance drove down the highway a quarter mile away, he spooked and ran away into another woods.

This was the first time I'd ever used a deer to call a deer that I could see. Did I do it right? Why didn't he come closer? I can think of two possible reasons. Perhaps he could smell my dad and I...our clothes weren't totally scent proof. We tried to use a lot of cover scent for what we didn't have time to get washed. Or maybe he didn't come closer because couldn't see what he heard. Are calls made to only bring a deer in 40 to 60 yards? If it was shotgun season, or we could use rifles around here, that buck (a 4 pointer) would be dead. Would it be worth it to try it again to bring a deer into shooting range for a crossbow?
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Old 12-19-2004, 06:43 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

It sounds about right. I'm not the best because I haven't had much success with the calls but more this year then other years. I would guess he was winding you all. He knew it wasn't right. With a call you only want to get their attention. When you have it you stop and see what he does. When you lose his attention you want to blow on it again to regain it. They will come all the way in. A call can be the bow hunter's best freind to bring in that monster to get a shot.

Good luck
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:25 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Thanks for your reply Fieldmouse.

Glad it wasn't my calling that spooked him. What are your exact tactics when using a call? Like, how many times do you blow it how often...and then how do those tactics change once a deer is sighted?

Before we go out again, we are going to have to take our scent cover more seriously. During gun season, I did the whole scent thing...washed all my clothes with scent-free soap, used scent neutralizer, and cover scent. I had two deer walk five feet away from me outside of the blind...with my scent blowing right at them. You could tell that they smelled something, but they didn't seem overly concerned and started to munch on the green wheat. That's when I dropped one of them.

I don't know how I'm going to get my clothes washed this time though. Our dryer is out of service and it's too cold do dry stuff on the line. If by chance we get a warm spell, I still couldn't dry them on the line because of the smoke from our woodstove...it'd smoke 'em up. Would that scare the deer or work for a cover scent?
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:52 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

It certainly sounds like you played him right. I'm guessing that he caught wind of you as well as the doe in esterous and was torn. Doe in esterous is a lethal tool but if he caught wind of you you've got little chance to get him within range.

Do you practice scent control or hunt from stands at all?

Being odor free or high enough that you scent isn't carried into but actually over the deer will give you some advantage but hunting the winds is IMO of paramont importance.
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Old 12-20-2004, 07:06 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Scent control is something that takes time and planning, we had little of either the other day when we went out. We plan on going out again on Christmas Day, so by then I hope to have everything washed and put into garbage bags. We'll take our showers, brush our teeth with baking soda,...the whole deal.

The other option to radically complete scent control is, like you said, to hunt from a treestand. I have one set up about 200 yards away from my blind on the corner of the woods. Although the blind is appearently the hotter spot, from the tree stand, I bet the deer in an adjacent woods can hear my call, whereas from the blind they couldn't. So basically from the treestand I'd be hunting two woods instead of one. Ah ha...there's another question, how long is the range for a call?

The problem I have with the treestand is that only one person can hunt from it. I've bagged my deer so I'm done for the year, but I'd still like to go along with my dad or bro as they try to get theirs. That's mostly why I don't want to hunt from the stand cause then I can't go! lol.

Playing the wind is easier when stalking or whatever. But when you are stuck in your blind, you are basically at the mercy of the wind. If the buck happens to walk around to the wrong side of the blind, the one did the other day, then you're sunk.

If a hunter hunts the same area for days and weeks using the same call, will the deer eventually figure out that it isn't real? I mean, does don't normally bleat that much. Think the bucks could figure out what's going on?
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:18 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

As one of my hunting buddies says, and I tend to agree with. "You have to fool a couple of senses at one time to successful when calling." One of the main senses is the sound, but if he was that close, he wanted to see something. He never seen anything and he knew it should have been close. If you would have had a decoy out, that probably been enough to get him in range.
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Old 12-20-2004, 11:39 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Also keep in mind that not every deer you call to is going to react. Over the years I have literally grunted at over 75 different bucks and most of them do not react. I have only grunted at deer that are walking the other direction. I would estimate that most of them keep walking and act like they never heard anything. I know in most cases I was grunting loud enough but they chose to ignore it. The 2nd most common reaction for me is for the buck to stop and listen, sometimes looking around and sometimes just twitching an ear before continuing on their way. The least common reaction for me is when the deer actually changes direction and starts coming towards me. A positive note is that I have never had a negative reaction where the deer spooked, usually they act like they never heard it. Also I have tried several different calls over the years and get the same reactions with all of them. The one I am using now sounds the most like the actual grunting I hear when hunting.

The reaction to the call will depend on the time of year and probably varies from one geographic area to another. The point I am trying to make is that many deer will not react and it does not mean you did anything wrong. I will keep trying myself, one of these days it's going to bring in a big one!
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Old 12-20-2004, 11:49 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

since he was that close and it sounds like he was in the rut i would have gave the first call like you did but make another one after you had his attention but call away from him to simulate the doe was walking away.
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Old 12-21-2004, 05:47 PM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Today I went back to the blind with my brother at about 3:45. This time, I got all the clothes washed with scent-free detergent, sprayed with scent neutralizer just in case, and then sprayed with cover scent and stored them in bags until we got to the field.

I used the same calling method I did the other day with my dad...blowing once or twice every 10 to 20 minutes. At about 5:15, the same buck we had seen the day earlier come out of the woods about 125 yards away. We watched him for about a half hour as he wondered across the field towards another woods. I blew on the call occasionally, even tried the method recommend about blowing in the away from the buck, but all he did today was look up for a second or two, and then went back to looking for ears of corn in the stubble. Before long, he crossed into the wind that was blowing our lure and odor towards him. The doe uring seemed to have little affect on him, but hey...he didn't smell us either, so that's good. Before long he was at the other side of the corn field where he met up with 3 does and started chasing them around. It was getting dark, but I saw another deer, maybe another buck, come out of the woods by them and run off another deer, maybe the small buck. Perhaps there are two bucks in the area.

Appearently, he had a date planned with the does from the other woods and that's why he didn't pay attention to the lure or the call. My brother and I decided we should try some bait to get this guy. The plan is to dump some 5 gallon buckets of corn on the opposite side of the ditch...about a 20 yd. shot from the blind...and to use Trail's End #307 instead of doe urine. Do you think it would be a good idea to try and bait him instead of playing with his hormones? Do you think maybe he figured out that the call was nothing to pay attention to and will he ignore it from now on?

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Old 12-22-2004, 06:15 AM
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Default RE: Calling in a buck...did I do it right?

Do you think maybe he figured out that the call was nothing to pay attention to and will he ignore it from now on?
Read my post above. 90% of the time the deer are not going to respond to a call.

Your best bet would be to move to where he is coming out of the woods at. Try to intercept him on his normal travel patterns. I have never tried baiting so don't know how well that would work but with stubble corn fields he may have no reason to come to a pile of corn?
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