What Are Some Ways to Successfully Call A Deer?

Have you ever been out in the woods hunting and just had no luck at all? Maybe you are wondering how to attract the big deer? You could be hunting in the perfect spot, wearing the perfect camouflage and using the right rifle or bow and still not see a deer the whole hunting trip.  If you were relying on luck to get that big deer to come to you, then chances are you could benefit from learning some basics on calling deer.

A successful deer call can convince deer in your vicinity that there is either a potential mate or, worse yet, a challenger to an alpha deer’s domain. Either way, using the proper deer call at the proper time can help ensure you get the deer you are after.


Split Your Season Up

The season of the year is critical when it comes to successfully calling in deer. This is a fact that should not be lost on any hunter with any knowledge about the woods. It should also be pointed out that deer are not just morning creatures. While most hunters will head out to their spot early in the morning in the hopes of getting the early buck, doing some hunting in the afternoons and evenings can also be an effective strategy because you never know when a deer will be where you want them to be at a certain time.

That being said there are four phases known as ruts, and deer react differently in every one of them, which can give you an advantage when calling deer.

It is best to split your hunting season into four separate portions. The months that are given below are estimations. Temperatures and local hunting codes determine when these portions of the hunting season can be truly determined.​

  • Early – This is at the absolute beginning of hunting season or just prior when scouting is being completed.
  • Pre Rut – This is the time period where most early hunting takes place. Consider this to be the month of October.
  • Rut – This is the heaviest hunting time in most areas. Rut can take place anywhere from late October through early December.
  • Post Rut – This is the time period towards the end of the hunting season, generally late November through December.

Materials You May Need:

  • Adjustable Grunt Call
  • Doe Call
  • A Set of Antlers
deer call

Calling Deer During the Early Season

Adjust your grunt call so that it is less of an intimidating deep call. You want to have a call that is higher sounding and accurately mimics a younger buck deer. This call will help you to reassure any deer that are in the area that things are calm in the region.

​It is important to remember that in the Early Season, bachelor groups of bucks are just starting to break off from one another and go their own way. You want to avoid making any large challenging calls as these will be unnatural to the environment and will only hurt your intended purpose. Keep your calls light and keep them consistent.

You'll also want to take care that you diversify your calls, which will require a deer call featuring a variety of grunt sounds so that you are not using the same grunt sound over and over, which could make a deer more cautious.

If you happen to hear other sounds mimicking yours while you are in the woods, keep it up. This means you are finding the appropriate attention from surrounding animals.

If using a scent during this time period, basic doe urine is fine, but don't discount buck urine as it can provide a cover scent as you walk through the woods and is effective at primarily attracting territorial bucks.

Calling Deer During the Pre Rut

The Pre Rut is when the bachelor groups have truly begun to disband and bucks are beginning to challenge one another. The usual sounds associated with challenging bucks are deeper grunt calls and the rattling of antlers.

You are going to want to adjust your grunt call so that it is far deeper than before. We are no longer looking to identify with other bucks. Now we are looking to send a challenging message to others that you are in fact the alpha deer in the woods. Make the calls deep and brief and space them out.

mule deer

When you attempt to rattle antlers, it is best to practice exactly as the deer do. Start by knocking them together slightly a few times before hitting them hard together once or twice in close succession. After you complete this process, leave the antlers alone for around a half hour. Too much of this will alert the local animals.​

You may also want to use the antlers to scrape against a tree or on the ground. Remember that deer have senses that are far more advanced than your own and they will for sure pick up on what you are doing.​

If using a scent during the pre rut, try to use buck scent. This will further help in convincing the local alphas that a rival is in the area.​

Calling Deer During the Rut

The Rut is when deer are at their most unaware. Hormones have fully engulfed their brains and pheromones cause them to rush blindly into dangerous situations they would normally avoid. This could very well be your best opportunity to bag a monster, if you know what to do.

During the rut, your best bet is to continue to use the antler and grunt calls in the same manner as you had before during the pre rut. Along with this, you should also try to incorporate sounds that mimic a deer blowing out its nose. You don’t need a special call for this as you can undoubtedly come close on your own.

Another addition you may want to add to your calling repertoire during this time period is some subtle doe bleats. Bucks are in search of does throughout the rut, so if you can convince an eligible bachelor in the area that you are in fact a doe, it may come rushing in without warning. Remember that during the rut, both hormones and pheromones are the dominant factors in a deer’s behavior.

For further explanation of how to mimic a doe’s estrus call check out this video.

If using a smell during this time period, use doe estrus urine.

Calling Deer During the Post Rut

Once the rut is over, it is time for nature to go back to business as usual. Deer will return to many of their early season behaviors and food will become the top priority once more.

If you find yourself in a situation like this one, go back to all the common behaviors that were successful early on. Don’t rattle antlers or make any deep grunts and avoid anything related to the pre rut and rut hunting.

The post rut is going to give you deer that have been hunted extensively. They are going to be far easier to spook and much more difficult to lure in. Take your time at this point and keep your eyes continually open for anything out of the ordinary.


This guide is aimed at helping you to learn what calls to use and when. Depending on your area and the time of year, you can also benefit from incorporating scents and possibly even decoys in with your hunting plan.

The most important aspect to calling deer is to remain consistent with the time of year and what other deer in the area are doing. It doesn’t take a lot of gear or special training to become adept at calling deer. All you need is a little understanding and a whole lot of patience, not to mention lots of practice. Because you'll only improve as a hunter with experience. 


  • Know deer behavior for the season you are in
  • Adjust your calls accordingly
  • Give time between each set of calls
  • Be patient with your calling
  • Be aware of deer approaching your area

You can read more about 5 locations to find deer on this article!

As always, if you enjoyed reading the above answer to the question “What are ways to successfully call deer?” and know someone who would also enjoy this, feel free to share! Have any tips or suggestions about things that work in your area that aren’t covered above? Leave them below. We would love to read about it!

Happy hunting folks!

Joseph Gleason

With a dedicated respect to the environment, I understand the importance of being an informed hunter who learns as he goes. I truly recognize the value in how things were done before and how things are done today. Born and raised in upstate New York, I grew up exposed to skilled hunters who taught me the importance of what responsible hunting can provide both to myself, my family, and to the environment. I continue today to work towards refining my craft and finding new ways to practice the time honored traditions that were passed down to me from those who came before.

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