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Rut season calls to hunters

November 09, 2003|by Bill Anderson

Experienced deer hunters are well aware of the fact that deer are now in the prime rut period. If you are a bow hunter, this is the time to try to spend all day in your tree stand and take advantage of the increased deer movement that comes with the rut season.

Serious bowhunters have known this for years, and therefore plan vacation time around this early November period prior to the firearms season. But in recent seasons, local hunters have been using specialized tactics, as well. Two of the most productive methods include the use of rattling antlers and calls to imitate the vocalizations of deer.

Several years ago, I attended a seminar on deer calling presented by Gary Lord, a deer hunting pro from Montana. Lord works as a representative for several major manufacturers and also isinvolved in producing hunting videos. His specialty is deer calls and calling techniques.

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Lord and his crew were in West Virginia and Virginia to work on bowhunting videos and to do a seminar in the new Cabella's store in Pennsylvania. He agreed to share some of his thoughts on calling whitetails - primarily with rattling horns and tube-type calls.

"I think a lot of people still doubt that horn rattling really works," Lord said. "The fact is, calling in general, and rattling in particular works throughout the year. Rattling is really effective during this period in November. During the early phase of the rut, the bucks are ready, but only a small percentage of the does are ready. This creates competition and this means a good situation for hunters. Rattling horns take advantage of the aggressive nature of the mature bucks in any area."

Lord also is a big believer in the effectiveness of deer calls, but he feels that many hunters do not know how to use them well.

"I have been using grunt tube-type calls for many years and know that they work," Lord said. "Using deer calls should be an important part of your overall approach. One big key is to know that there are many different calls or vocalizations used by deer based on the season, and to know which call to use at a given time."

The obvious question for hunters is how to use the various calls and what your calling should sound like. Lord and I agree that the many videos and DVDs now available can be great teaching tools.

"Many of the videos do a good job of teaching and explaining," Lord said. "Most people do not have the time to spend hours, days or longer in the woods, so the next best thing is to buy good videos and learn from guys who have had the opportunity to spend the time in the field. Many of the videos on calling are very good."

As deer hunting opportunities have increased, the level of sophistication also has increased. Deer calling is just one example of how hunters can increase their knowledge of the quarry and also increase the odds of being successful this fall.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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