To "GRUNT" or Not to "GRUNT"

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To “GRUNT” or Not to “GRUNT” that is the question. Like all things pertaining to whitetail deer all hunters have their own way of hunting them. As a Call Maker of course I want everybody to own one and buy one from me, as a Guide I just want you to have one to up your chances of stopping that big old whitetail. I know that lots of you would think that this is a tool you wouldn’t even think about going into the woods without.

One year at my lodge we had 12 hunters show up and I asked them if they had a Grunt Call, to my surprise I was in shock when 8 of them never knew what one was. Most of us know what they are for and when to use them. I had to explain to them that it’s like fishing without bait. This is how I explained it to them

1. If you see a buck going through the timber too fast to shoot just give it a quick grunt to stop him for a shot.

2. They are very effective for bringing the buck in closer for a more ethical shot.

3. If you are not seeing anything it’s an extra tool to get them excited to come in.

What most people don’t know is that we use them year round to call in deer cause it is a vocal sound they use when traveling in the woods. When the rut arrives we use them all the time. Most people don’t know when a buck is trailing a hot doe, he grunts every time he steps.

The best two pieces of advices I can give anyone is to grunt every 15 minutes in the tree stand during the rut. We will usually sit the first couple of hours in the morning without calling and if we don’t see anything let the Grunting begin.

The second most effective calling for us is to sound like a buck chasing the doe. Just imagine a buck chasing a doe and every time he steps he lets out a grunt. The grunt comes out about every second. The first grunt we hold the tube down and the second grunt we bring the tube up like we are rocking in a chair. We let out about 10 grunts in a row and if there is a buck in the area he will come over thinking there is a buck chasing a hot doe and he wants part of the action.

Below is a picture of a buck my friend shot using the buck and doe chase sounds. He called in 4 bucks at the same time Halloween afternoon.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the grunt call and use it. It is something lots of us hunters forget about.

Below is a picture of the grunt call that we use.


deerhunter30's picture

I have always had a grunt

I have always had a grunt call. Never had went into the woods without one. I usually use just about every call there is for deer hunting. Its actually pretty amazing that you can call just about any type of deer from a fawn to a monster buck with these calls. I think some of the deer are just more curious than anything. But don't get me wrong using calls also bring in some pretty big bucks that want to do some damage.

arrowflipper's picture

well thought out

Thank you for a well thought out and written tip on using a grunt tube.  I'd love to be able to say I've used one affectively, but that just wouldn't be true.  I've tried using one lots of times, but have never brought a deer in, or even stopped one that I know of.

Most of my hunting now is for mule deer and as far as I know, I've never seen anyone use a grunt tube on mule deer. If you will tell me they work, I'll pick one up and give it a try.  I hunt in some pretty wide open country and I wonder if a deer will come in even though he can see a long ways and there isn't another deer in sight?

A question I'd ask is if the grunt sounds the same for both mule deer and whitetail?  This fall I'll be hunting an area that has both deer.  On a scouting trip last month, I took pictures of 4 large bucks standing within 100 yards of each other, two whitetails and two mulies.  In an area like that, will a grunt tube work?  And then to compound my problem, I come home to hunt near where I live and we have blacktails.  Does the grunt tube work on blacktails as well? 

I guess I'd like to see someone use one and see how well it works.    I've always been afraid that if I start making noise, I alert the deer to where I am and they move off in the other direction.  Tell me Scott that it will work on mule deer and I'll pick one up.  Maybe even from you.....


ManOfTheFall's picture

These are all definitely

These are all definitely great tips. I always take my grunt calls with me no matter what time of the hunting season it is. I will even grunt at doe's and have called them in on several occasions and have shot some nice doe's this way.

AlpineClimber's picture

I've had better luck on the ground than in a tree.

When I'm in a treestand, I've only been able to stop moving Bucks with the grunt call and recently had luck in the pre-rut period with a snort wease.

My best luck has come grunting when I am on the ground in a blind or when I am on the move still hunting.  It may be just me, but I can only honestly comment on whats worked and what hasn't for me.

groovy mike's picture

Great results for me with the grunt tube too

I’ve had great results for grunting too.  Last year was the first time I successfully used a grunt call.  I was sitting on my stand for about an hour and passing the time either spraying ‘doe in estrus’ or sounding the doe bleat or buck grunt every 20 minutes.   I'm not sure if the scent or bleat work, but i saw the grunt work. 

Here's how it happened.  

I saw a white tail doe working her way toward me at 8:25.  She came up to about 50 yards away from me, turned broadside and moved off along a stone wall.  About that time I saw the second doe.  And a third doe followed her.  Then there was a fourth, and a fifth.  I thought surely a buck would follow them.  I figured that I was in as good a spot as any because a trail of scent put  down by those five does walking within 50 yards was as good a buck lure as I could hope for.  Nothing in a bottle would work any better than live does, so I made up my mind to sit there another couple of hours.  Just a half hour later I picked out a lone deer going the opposite direction at about 75 yards away.  It was just at the edge of my sight through a screen of brush and saplings.  I couldn’t see antlers but I figured that any lone deer HAD to be a buck, so I grunted at him with the grunt tube.   Very much to my surprise, he hooked around and headed right for me!  At 60 yards I could see spikes.  At 50 yards I pulled the trigger.        

So there you go.  Based on my limited experience, a buck grunt might just be the best thing you can carry hunting afetr your rifle and amunition!      



Calling Whitetails

Great tips for using grunt calls. As stated, we all do things a bit different with regard to how we hunt and call. Each year, I pursue whitetail bucks in the Idaho mountains with very good success during the rut. I use a bleats, grunts, rattling antlers, and hunt at ground level for them. Stomping brush, raking brush and ground with my rattling antlers, and making alot of noise simultaneous with grunts and bleats has worked very well. When I set up, I face downwind always and let the bucks circle my calls. Invariably, they will circle you first, size up the situation with their powerful nose, then if all is good, they will approach and/or hold up for you to take a shot. Last year I called in 6 different bucks to 4 different hunter friends. My closest encounter was 10 yards. All of the bucks were no farther than 30 yards away from the setup. I call in areas where buck scrapes are present. If your in timbered areas calling, I look for setup spots that allow for me to watch downwind, conceal me to some extent. My setups last up to an hour sometimes. Most of the setups produce a response anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Sometimes the results are nil. I guess that is why no game call is a magical horn you blow and they come running in every time. But calls are an excellent tool of the trade and I highly recommend them as part of a sportsman bag. I have used a lot of different types of calls, and most of them work well. My personal preference call to use is a Calls-M-All  game call. The main point is not to procrastinate the use of calls, they are fun, exciting, rewarding, and work...period. Good luck to you and Praise the Lord for everything we do. Happy Holidays!  

steven_seamann's picture

The deer grunt is made by

The deer grunt is made by both bucks and does and could have several meanings. A buck will grunt to express dominance, to threaten another deer and as a means of locating other deer. A soft or low grunt is used by both bucks and does as a first act of aggression. When a dominant deer uses the soft grunt and the less dominant deer does not move, the dominant deer will either charge or hit the less dominant deer with a fore leg. During the early spring or while deer hunting in the fall, especially when food was involved, I heard and observed this increased aggression. Bucks approached food sources and grunted softly at does and fawns. If the does and fawns did not clear for bucks so they could eat, the bucks slammed their front hooves onto the backs of the other deer and forced them to move. I use the doe estrus and that has worked the best for me during the rut because if they hear it the will walk slowly to the sound to see whats going on and if they don’t know what it was they will stop running and turn broadside almost everytime and look what it was.


cscott711's picture

Good stuff.  I have

Good stuff.  I have definitely heard bucks grunting with seemingly ever step while chasing a doe, however I don't think this holds true all the time.  However, it is very common to hear them doing so.  I don't have as much success with blind calling as I do calling to a buck that is within eyesight.  It is also easy to be caught off-guard when blind calling.  Many times, with a mature buck, you'll only get one chance so be sure to be on alert for 20-30 minutes after calling.  Those big boys have a way of sneaking up undetected.

jim boyd's picture

Grunt calls...

I have seen these calls work to perfection... I let a buck get past me one afternoon and from 200 yards away, I stopped him with a grunt call and them pulled him back to me like he was on a string and shot him at about 50 yards.

I wrote a recent story in which my brother stopped and pulled one back in a swamp in early morning conditions and was able to shoot the deer - when if he had not had the call, I do not think that would have been the outcome!

I will say also that I have grunted at visible deer many time and they either did not hear the call or did not react to it - I have had this experience with bucks and does...

I see no downside to using a grunt call and there is a lot of up side to it - so I would agree - all hunters should have a call and use it to their advantage!

I will also say this... when you hear a buck grunting in the wild, get your bow or firearm ready - you may see some very explosive action really quick!

Great tip, CritterDone - thanks for sharing!


CVC's picture

This is a very timely bit of

This is a very timely bit of advice as I am going out tomorrow and I have a grunt tube, but often wondered about the right way to use it.  The way you suggest makes sense, especially the part about being quiet for the first couple of hours.  Makes mucho sense.

The rut should be starting soon if not already beginning so I'll definitely be doing some grunting and a bit of rattling too.

I've rattled on small deer in and it is a blast to do so. Kind of like calling coyotes or turkeys.

outdoorsman121's picture

Grunt Call

Great Tip. I carry a deer call with me all the time. Why wouldn’t a hunter take something with him or her that could give him an advantage? Using a grunt call can be the determining factor in whether the hunter bags his animal or weather that deer gets away again. I use a grunt call often, because I believe that deer are more vocal than most people believe. Deer vocalize just as humans do, it’s just that hunters aren’t in the woods enough to hear them vocalize all the time. Also great point when a deer is running, try using a grunt call to either call him in or stop him in order for the hunter to get a shot. Over all great tip!!

CVC's picture

Something that I have done in

Something that I have done in the past is when I have a buck or doe come into my stand and I know I am not going to shoot them, I grunt or use my doe bleat to see how they react.  Kind of practicing, but more learning how various calls and sounds cause deer to react.  For the most part, I think you can't do it wrong, that is make a call that is going to send them running.

Now I may not do it right, but seeing that the deer don't freak out gives me the confidence to use the calls.  Also, I experiment with different vocalizations to see what works best.  No way an expert, but I think it is fun because it is something active you can do while sitting in the tree stand.  I am one that likes to be active so I've had to work hard at being patient in the stand.

BTW, I took your advice and waited a couple of hours today before grunting.  Didn't get anything to come it, but I think it was a good tip.