One of the tools hunters use for deer hunting are deer calls. If you are a beginner and plan to hunt deer then utilizing a deer call will certainly improve your game. What is a deer call? In a nutshell; deer calls are tools that help hunters to lure in the deer they want in the spot where they are hunting. To use them effectively you’ll need some basic information regarding deer language, which you will find in the info section of this buyer’s guide.
We looked at various deer calls and tested them extensively in the field during the pre-rut, rut, and post-rut. We came to a shortlist of six calls that we consider the best deer calls to purchase in 2022. The aspects that we include in our considerations are durability, versatility, effectiveness, and overall value.
In a Hurry? Here are our Top Picks!
Best Overall: Illusion Systems Extinguisher Deer Call
Best Bleat Call – Primos The Original CAN Deer Call
Best Grunt Call – Hunters Specialities True Talker OG Grunt Call
Best Deer Rattle Call – Illusion Systems Black Rack
Best Versatile: Nationwide Scents Hunting Wooden Cherry Call
Best Affordable – Primos Trophy Grunter Call
Illusion Systems Extinguisher – Best All In One Deer Call
The Extinguisher is the latest generation in the Illusion Systems Extinguisher line of deer calling products. It is the best all-in-one deer call in 2022. The first thing you’ll notice about this call when you use it is that it sounds ultra-crisp and authentic. The call’s throat tube uses dual-layered technology which creates these ultra-realistic sounds. The call’s ModiSlide allows its user to switch between fawn, doe, and buck settings. You can also use the call for directional calling. The call is highly effective, in fact, of all calls we tested, this one came out best in terms of effectiveness.
In terms of durability, the Extinguisher also scores points as it has a freeze-free design, meaning that the call works well during cold weather and in freezing temperatures. The call is also remarkably durable for an electronic one, we tested it in harsh conditions and tested it on durability specifically in other ways.
The Extinguisher is available in black or camo. Also worth noting is that the NAHC field test gave it a 100 percent approval rating and Illusion Systems has educational and instructional videos on its website. These resources can help you to use their call more efficiently.
Primos The Can – Best Bleat Call
The Can from Primos is a classic bleat call that produces the doe bleat and works particularly well for Whitetail, Blacktail, and Mule Deer. The animals react very quickly to the Bleat sound the can produces.
This is one of the most effective calls that we tested to call in bucks during the pre-rut, rut, and post-rut. The Can is also very simple to use and well suited for beginners. All that you have to do is “tip it over” to make the estrous sounds of a doe.
My family is still eating the buck I got last year that came to the can doe bleat. I saw the buck walking about 150 yards away and I used the can to produce a bleating sound. The buck looked over toward me and gradually wandered right over to 20 yards from the treestand I was sitting in. The can is a classic call that is still one of the best on the market!
Illusion Systems Black Rack – Best Deer Rattle Call
I have always been using real horns to produce deer ratling sounds so at first I was skeptical towards the Black Rack Rattle system from Illusion Systems, however, the Black Rack sounds authentic enough because we found it to be very effective.
The tech responsible for the realistic antler-like sounds is Bone-Core Technology. The Black Racks are very lightweight and easy to pack and carry. With the Black Rack, we managed to rattle a couple of small bucks here during pre-rut.
The design of the Black Rack gives you the tines and leverage needed to replicate a breeding rights battle. Its black concealment keeps your rattling sequences concealed, we noticed that we could rattle at much closer distances during a big buck encounter. We are happy to report that the call is also durable so you can use it for years to come.
Tip: Illusion Systems has free instructional videos on their ‘Deer Society’ mobile app. There you can learn in-depth rattling tips and tactics that professional hunters use.
Nationwide Scents Hunting Wooden Cherry Call – Best Versatile Call
The Hunting Wooden Cherry grunt call is proven in the field and backed by the Nationwide Scents team that has twenty-eight years of experience hunting and raising whitetail deer. It is a custom-made deer call designed by experts with an extra-long tube for volume and realistic throaty grunts.
The Wooden Cherry is designed to mimic a rutting buck grunt, young buck call, breeding buck, estrus doe bleat, regular doe bleat, and fawn bleat with an easy-adjust ring on the reed and easy to adjust low – high volume calling. The call is also lightweight, and easy to carry.
The call can do loud to gentle calling by the flick of your wrist covering the small or large hole with a freeze-proof tip for the harshest conditions. This call is lightweight and easy to carry, it is so light that you can comfortably hang the call around your neck.
Table: sound: Grunt for Doe, Fawn, Bucks material: wood type: mouth call
Primos Trophy Grunter – Best Affordable Deer Call
The Primos Trophy Grunter is a simple and affordable plastic call that has plenty of different adjustments. It has a good tone for all the different settings from mature buck to fawn. I’ve used this call for several years for its ease of use, versatility, and effectiveness. The call is very light and easy to use. It is a great call for beginners. To adjust the reed you can wrap it around your neck or slip it into a front pocket. Remove the mouthpiece (twist and pull it off) then roll the band up or down the reed to the desired setting. Another great call with accurate sound!
Hunters Specialities True Talker OG Grunt Call – Best Grunt Call
The True Talker OG features the original materials and design of the first True Talker ever produced. A soft rubber exterior for unbeatable grip and rubber sleeve over the bellow/grunt tube allows for the manipulation of volume, tone, and direction of the call sound.
Like True Talkers of the past, the OG produces mature buck grunt, young buck grunt, doe bleat, and fawn bleat sounds. As an additional feature, however, the True Talker OG features an improved reed design which not only is extremely resistant to freezing up but produces a fifth sound – an aggressive “growl” sound for gaining the attention of aggressive mature bucks.
The sound is very good and the extending or shortening of the tube for tone changes works great. When it is cold I keep it around my neck inside my coat to keep the reed warm.
What to Look for Before Purchasing a Deer Call – Buyer’s Guide
Below we’ll look at all aspects that we would consider before purchasing a deer call. We look at the ease of use, durability, sounds, cost, and what the best brands are. First, let’s take a look at all the various types.
Mouth calls are the call that you see your fellow hunters use the most. The best deer mouth calls are versatile and easy to use. The hands-free mouth calls are especially popular these days. For beginners, we definitely recommend using mouth calls.
These calls are basically perforated cans that are very easy to use and so much suited for beginners. With just one hand you can tip the can upside down and then upright again to let the call make a bleating sound. These calls are also great for beginners because they are very easy to use.
Electronic Deer Calls
Electronic deer calls are the most versatile. Most of them contain multiple sounds. These sounds are recording of deer sounds so they are extremely accurate and effective. They are of course also the most expensive of all types. They are not always beginner-friendly and sometimes you’ll have to put it together by following the manual.
There are hunters that use real antlers. Most these days go for imitation antler calls. Rattling antlers come in different types. You have your imitation antlers like the Black Rack call in this buyer’s guide. You also have boxes and bags that produce the rattle sound. This is a difficult call to do correctly, therefore it is recommended that you practice.
There are different deer call types for different deer species that produce different sounds to communicate with one another. You of course want a call that comes close to the unique sound of a particular type of deer you plan to track and hunt.
Rattling antlers is the sound bucks make when they are fighting for breeding rights. Hunters use rattle calls to attract whitetails by making them believe there is a fight taking place. You can make this sound by smashing two real antlers or by using rattling antler calls like the Black Rack.
A grunt helps a buck to identify where a doe is. We recommend that you use the grunt call when you spot the animal as it’ll help to draw it closer to your location.
The snort-wheeze sound tends to be the sound that the alpha buck (the boss) makes when he wants the other deer to be aware of his presence. The snort wheeze is a sound that carries far.
Bleat is the sound that does and fawns make to communicate with each other or to find each other. Bleat sounds similar to a cow’s moo. Estrus Bleats tell bucks that a doe is ready to breed. Therefore if you’re targeting bucks, the best deer call is one that can produce a bleating sound.
Fawns can also use the bleat call for a similar purpose. If the fawns get too far from their mother or are scared, they let out what is called a fawn bleat. You can attract deer to your area by combining bleat calls with grunt calls.
When you’re in the woods you want a sound that is at the right volume. Too soft and the deer will begin to doubt and possibly change direction. On the other hand, something that is too loud may scare the animal away.
Ease of Use
Deer calls are not difficult to operate, however, some calls have a steeper learning curve compared to other more simple calls. If you are a beginner then we recommend beginning with a cheap simple call.
Hunters use deer calls only for a few weeks a year, the rest of the time they will lie in storage. Therefore you want a call that survives multiple hunting trips but also remains intact when in storage. The best deer calls are made of good materials and are constructed with durability in mind.
What material a deer call is made of mainly determines its durability. In some cases, it can also influence the quality of the sound.
Wood: Wood is a great material for a deer call because it can be oiled. This of course will keep it from damage caused by drying. Deer calls that are made from wood also have the ability to withstand freezing during cold temperatures. We find that the best durable deer calls are wooden ones.
Metal: Some deer calls are made from metal. These calls are durable, however, they are not as resistant to freezing temperatures compared to wooden calls. Therefore we recommend not using metal calls in freezing temperatures.
Plastics: Some deer calls are made from plastics, rubber, or nylon. These calls are not as durable as wooden or metal calls because they are not resistant to the sun’s UV light. How durable a plastic call depends on what plastics it is made from.
Some deer calls only produce one sound, some can do multiple sounds, and some all deer sounds. If you hunt from a stand then we recommend a versatile call If you want that trophy buck then we recommend a more fine-tuned call.
Versatile calls are less durable in most cases because they have a lot of moving parts. You’d have to read manual instructions to learn how it works.
Many call manufacturers have instructional videos on their website, some even have an app for your smartphone where you’ll find instructions for your particular call.
Hunting calls are not the most expensive equipment a hunter needs to buy but it is good to look at price ranges. Deer calls can be categorized into three categories. Inexpensive, which are calls up to $8, medium-range, which are calls from $8 to $20 and expensive calls, which are calls that cost $20 or more. How much you want to spend on a deer call depends on your preferences and of course your budget. We find that the cheaper calls can be just as effective as the more expensive ones. However, the more expensive ones are more durable so probably cheaper in the long run.
We recommend buying a case to store the call when it is not in use. A case also protects the call from damage when it is in your backpack. A case also has an aesthetic purpose that is not unimportant, it looks nice when your call is in a good-looking case. You want a case that resists freezing.
The Primos No-Lose Call Case is one that I use a lot. It is a great case that holds up to 10 mouth calls. It has a ventilated design that allows calls to breathe, which gives them a longer life. It is an affordable case that I always use to secure my calls during a hunting trip.
Primos makes fantastic deer calls in our opinion. They introduced their first deer grunt call in 1984. It was made from select hardwood. This call was an instant winner. Now, the quality and rich tones of old have been combined with a few twists of new technology. They make calls for elk, deer, turkey, predator, and waterfowl. They also make blinds, shooting accessories, trail cameras, attractants & supplements, clothes, and other hunting accessories.
Illusion Systems is a company that is Veteran and family-owned and operates since 2000. They offer their customers a premium line of hunting calls that utilize the most advanced technology on the market today. Each Illusion calling system is put through years of rigorous field testing before we take it to market, ensuring customers that our products will work for them in the field. All Illusion Systems products are proudly made in the U.S.A.
Calling a deer is all about timing, so be patient. Adding any of these sounds, or in combination, during any time of the year can assist with a great hunt. I hope this buyer’s guide helped you to learn about deer calls, learn what to look for when buying one. If you have any questions regarding deer calls please reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks for reading this post and happy hunting!
Deer Calls – Frequently Asked Questions
What deer calls should I use?
If you are new to deer hunting then you would want a bleat call with grunt calls. Or two calls that produce these sounds. The Illusion Systems Extinguisher Deer Call would be a great pick.
When should you use deer calls?
Calling deer is all about timing. At the beginning of a season, you’ll notice that the deer are not really responsive. When you are searching for deer then a bleat call works by letter a deer know that there is another deer at your location. When you see the deer then make a grunt call every once in a while.
As the pre-rut arrives, we recommend the Can call like this sound is for a doe in estrus. So when it’s the pre-rut, try the can.
The snort wheeze is a sound that carries further. If you see a deer at a long-distance wheeze at him. That sound travels further and as soon as he hears that wheeze call he’s gonna stop and turn that head. Then make a grunt call.
Bucks tend to be more aggressive during the rut so a lot of fighting will be going on. We recommend using rattle calls during the pre-rut.
How many times should I call a buck?
Do a sequence of deer calls approximately every 60 minutes throughout your hunt. Don’t call too often because this can have a negative effect on mature bucks in your area.
How do you rattle a buck?
Just rattle and remember, imagine how cucks fight and try to replicate that.
How to call deer?
If you’re looking to call deer during rutting season, it helps to understand how they behave and what calls are most effective for each stage of the rut.
What is the best position to call a deer?
We recommend putting a barrier between you and the deer. This makes sure they can’t circle behind and get downwind and smell your presence. It is also wise to position yourself on a riverbank.
Combine the deer calls with the best Deer Scents and Deer Decoys!