How To Use a Deer Call Properly

In this post, we’ll discuss how to use a deer call properly. If you’re unfamiliar with the different types of deer calls, first check out our post “Different Types of Deer Calls and What Works.”

As long as humans have hunted, they’ve used calls to mimic the sounds of their prey. Over the millenia, we have developed different types of calls, and different techniques, to suit the situation and the season. But some general rules apply to all deer calling. 

Assess and Know the Situation

First, calling deer exploits the animals’ natural reactions before, during, and at the end of mating season, otherwise known as pre-rut, rut, and post-rut. These are all unique situations, with unique behaviors to mimic with your deer calls. 


During pre-rut, for example, the bucks are trying to establish their hierarchy over one another. It is a less aggressive time than you might think. They aren’t fighting, because they aren’t yet in direct competition with one another. They’re just feeling things out, trying to determine where they stand when the rut gets started. This is important to remember when making your call sounds. Don’t start too loud, or too aggressive. A quality buck might be scared away. 

 Adapt to Deer Reactions

Starting soft, and building in intensity, is true during the rut as well. You want to lure bucks toward you, not scare them away. Also, if a buck is moving in your direction, and especially if he’s looking at you, don’t call him. That will give away your position and likely spook him. 


Mimicking the sounds of does or fawns by bleating can also be an effective way to lure deer. Bleats can lure bucks by convincing them that females are in the area, and in heat. Bleats can also be used to fill doe tags by luring does themselves, by convincing them a fawn is in distress.

 Be Ready for the Shot

Lastly, be ready with your bow or gun when calling. Deer may be closer than you think, or respond more aggressively than you anticipated. The last thing you want is for a shooter to appear before you’re prepared to take a shot.    

Written by Frank Erwin