Deer Calling Tips To Help You In The Rut

Video how to call a buck in rut

How you choose your words and communicate with others can directly impact everything from your love life and career to your overall personal well-being and quality of living. This also holds true in the world of whitetails since deer rely on specific vocalizations to communicate, procreate, socially-interact and to survive on a daily basis.

A combination of tending grunts and estrous doe bleats can really crank up the action when bucks are chasing, pushing, and breeding does. (Travis Faulkner photo)

As a hunter, if you know how to speak their language, then you’ll ultimately be able to generate more close encounters and shot opportunities with top-heavy bucks this season.

The trick is to not only pick the right type of call, but to learn how to correctly match your calling strategies with specific hunting situations and whitetail behavior. In other words, you basically have to allow current deer activity to dictate when, where and more importantly how you call. On that note, let’s take an inside look at some high-impact calling strategies and rut-hunting tactics that will help you coax some swelled-up bruisers right under your treestand throughout each phase of the whitetail rut.

Rubbing and Scraping Behavior

Without question, general whitetail behavior, habits, patterns and daily activity will undergo some major changes as the season progresses. Factors such as increased hunting pressure, cooler temperatures, shortening days and alternating food sources are responsible for many of these sudden behavioral shifts that occur from late pre-rut on through the actual breeding period of the rut.

When you start seeing a noticeable increase in rubbing and scraping activity, try setting up along established rub or scrape lines and implement both calling and scent application tactics simultaneously. (Travis Faulkner photo)

During this transitional phase, things are basically on the verge of shaking loose and you can almost feel the tension in the air. As a result, you’ll typically start seeing increased rubbing and scraping activity in the woods. Bucks will also become extremely anxious, territorial and short-tempered by nature. In other words, it doesn’t take much to walk on the fighting side of a bone-headed brawler, especially if you know how to touch the right nerve.

See also  .240 Weatherby Magnum for Elk Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Elk Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the .240 Weatherby Magnum a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for elk hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the .240 Weatherby Magnum is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the elk, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the elk in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop .240 Weatherby Magnum Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a elk in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .240 Weatherby Magnum within the ideal range of suitable calibers for elk hunting?” our answer is: Yes, the .240 Weatherby Magnum is A GOOD CHOICE for elk hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .240 Weatherby Magnum Animal Species Elk Muzzle Energy 2430 foot-pounds Animal Weight 720 lbs Shot Distance 200 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .240 Weatherby Magnum? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .240 Weatherby Magnum round is approximately 2430 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male elk? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male elk is approximately 720 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .240 Weatherby Magnum Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in elk hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for elk to be approximately 200 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .240 Weatherby Magnum. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the elk being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .240 Weatherby Magnum is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk - and to this question, the response again is yes, the .240 Weatherby Magnum is A GOOD CHOICE for elk hunting. [Click Here to Shop .240 Weatherby Magnum Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting elk to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

Rubbing/Scraping Calling Tactics and Hunting Strategies

When bucks first start showing signs of being confrontational, try setting up along established rub and scrape lines. Add dominant buck urine and tarsal scents to existing scrapes to help trigger an aggressive response. With this type of setup, utilize a grunt tube to produce a short series of agitated grunts to help pull a potential shooter into view.

If the action is slow, I will try to make something happen by using this calling sequence periodically throughout the hunt. A deadly combination of scents and sounds that emulate an intruder buck is sometimes all it takes to turn things around.

In this photo, the author is practicing what he preaches on a grunt tube. (Travis Faulkner photo)

In most cases, a mature buck’s body language will tell you exactly what he needs to hear. For example, a buck that immediately stops or shows signs of agitation after a single grunt can be a sucker for more aggressive calling techniques.

These signs can include his neck hair bristling up, pawing the ground with his hooves, or violently rubbing trees and even urinating frequently. If you see this type of response, a series of challenge grunts in a deep tone followed by an assertive snort wheeze will often push him over the edge.

Cruising and Checking Behavior

Just before the peak of the breeding period, it’s not uncommon to see mature bucks cruising popular doe hang-outs such as feeding and bedding areas. They’re basically monitoring the field and looking for the first available estrous does. You will also notice a lot of younger bucks starting to harass and chase does that are not quite ready to breed yet. These testosterone fueled basket-racked bucks really don’t have a clue about what’s going on, but they’re fired-up and ready to roll nonetheless.

At this segment of the season, dominant bucks that are active and on the prowl are extremely vulnerable for once. This is especially true, if you’re hunting an area that has multiple bucks cruising and patrolling it simultaneously. Mature bucks that participate in most of the breeding during the primary rut have very little patience or tolerance for other males. During this unique and brief period, mature bucks are probably the most responsive and receptive to aggressive calling techniques.

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Cruising/Checking Calling Tactics and Hunting Strategies

Ambush points that overlook doe high-traffic areas such as feeding, bedding and traveling zones can be red hot under these conditions. These types of setups coupled with double drag-lines that leave behind a fresh trail of both doe and buck urine scent can also be deadly.

As for calling techniques, don’t be afraid to hit bucks with just about everything you have in your arsenal. Whitetails are very vocal during this phase of the season and calling can definitely create more shot opportunities.

Once again, a series of deep-toned challenging grunts and snort-wheezing can do a number on dominant bucks. However, combining these vocalizations with short rattling sequences is a strategy that is capable of pulling-in an absolute monster.

Ideal hunting conditions are scenarios where you have a few estrous does available and multiple mature bucks within close proximity of one another. Increased competition and a limited availability of does that are ready to breed are exactly why rattling and aggressive calling techniques are so effective.

Chasing and Breeding Behavior

Once the actual breeding phase of the rut kicks into full swing, it becomes 100-percent about the does for lovesick bucks with swollen necks and raging hormones. During the peak of the rut, you will begin observing mature bucks tending, chasing and even breeding does.

This is generally when you start seeing a lot of deer being hit along busy roadways and interstates. When things are really coming unhinged and getting chaotic in your neck of the woods, it’s primetime to switch-up your game plan and techniques.

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Chasing/Breeding Calling Tactics and Hunting Strategies

When the majority of does are hitting their estrous cycle, you really need to adapt and adjust to the current breeding behavior and activity. Targeting thick pockets of cover away from high-traffic areas and utilizing doe estrous scents in combination with your calling can be deadly.

Custom-matching your calling tactics, hunting strategies, and setups to current whitetail behavior, patterns, and activity are the keys to consistently tagging hard-to-handle whitetail bucks. (Travis Faulkner photo)

Mature bucks will often push receptive does into protected areas like thickets in order to avoid interruptions by other males and predators. Rut-hunting hotspots like these and major travel corridors that connect such areas should definitely not be overlooked during the peak of the breeding period.

Switching over to tending grunts and pleading estrous doe bleats will absolutely drive dominant bucks crazy. These types of calling sequences directly mimic the sounds of a receptive doe being pursued and ultimately taken by another male. It’s a great way to strike a jealous chord with a single buck that’s lonely and looking for love in all the wrong places. Attacking a mature buck’s ears and nose is undoubtedly one of the quickest ways to get him from the woods to your wall during the primary rut.

In order to achieve consistent success during each phase of the rut, it’s extremely important to recognize current deer behavior and to match both your calling and hunting strategies accordingly. Diagnosing the correct transitional cycle of the rut along with a particular buck’s mood, temperament, body language, and reaction to your calling can make or break your next hunt.

Right now is the perfect time to unleash your calling arsenal and get inside of his head. Don’t be afraid to crank-up the heat, make some noise, and utilize your calls to shake, rattle, and roll!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>