What do you consider the most effective way to call whitetail around and during the rut? I have known people that swear by rattling, others like using doe estrus calls. Some just grunt. What combo works for you?
I hunt N Idaho whitetail every year (Skipping this year....drew a mule deer CH tag for Idaho). We normally use a combination of all three fairly frequently but normally just go with the grunt tube and rattle antlers.
When we hit the trees for the whities, we will completely descent our clothes and gear. After washing our gear in scent free detergent we keep it in scent bags and do not pull it out until we hit the area we plan on hunting. (Yes, it gets a little chilly when you have to strip and get dressed/geared up in sub-freezing temps...LOL) This way we don't get breakfast smells, smells from the truck, etc on the clothes.
Once we hike into our area we will set up using natural ground blinds or use tree-lines or stumps as backdrops. Just like trying to bugle an elk in, we will set up with the designated shooter about 40 yards or so ahead of the caller. (I know, you can do this solo and I have done it many times but when we are hunting with more than one body, we try to optimize it to our advantage). Depending on where we stand as far as the rut goes (pre-rut, heavy rut, or post rut) we combine rattling with periodic blows on the grunt tube...and we will also throw some doe bleets in for good measure.
Overall it works pretty well. We have bucks literally running into our set-up lookin' for a fight. In fact, I can think of two incidences in which they came in TOO FAST, leaving the shooter a bit unprepared.
There are still some who insist a scope is not needed for the type hunting they do, ignoring the advances of the last 150 years in optical sights. (Even the ultra-conservative US Army has adopted optical sights.) The idea that in some special circumstances open iron sights or aperture (peep) sights might be more useful is not lost on me, but with the inevitable advance of age comes the reduction in visual acuity needed for using iron sights.
I believe that many who completely resist the idea of...