Do Bucks Delay Their Response to Grunt Calls?

Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do Bucks Delay Their Response to Grunt Calls?

Posted 2022-11-10T08:26:00Z

Have you ever grunted at a buck and then had him appear 20 minutes later? That might not be by accident

Be still, and patient, after blowing your grunt call. Image by Bill Konway

It makes good sense to grunt at every buck you see walking or trotting through the woods 75 to 100 yards out of bow range of your treestand. What have you got to lose? Nine times out of 10, unless he's chasing a doe, a buck that hears your calls will at least stop, perk his ears and look your way.

Now what?

Read the buck's demeanor and body language. If he turns and starts marching toward you, great, get your bow ready. But if he does what most bucks do — lowers his ears and head, turns and starts to walk off — grunt at him again, a little bit louder now. He might stop, look in your direction once more and continue on his merry way into a thicket or down into a draw.

You can stop calling, but don't write that buck off. In fact, stay as ready as ever.

An old-timer I hunted with years ago in Virginia taught me this lesson: Every once in a while, a buck will hear your grunts and walk on out of sight, but then stop and pull a fast one.

It's like he stops and thinks, 'Hmm, wonder what that grunting deer was doing back there?' Harold said. He gets curious and starts to circle back to take a look. Twenty minutes or so after you grunted, you might look behind your stand and there he is. All bucks don't do that, but sometimes one will.

After your last series of grunt calls, stay still and vigilant for 20 minutes or so. Peek back and pay particular attention to thickets and edges on the downwind sides of your stand. If you see a buck sneaking in back there, hoping to see or smell the deer he heard grunting, one or two more soft calls might reel him into arrow range.

Since I started watching for this, I know of five bucks for sure that have come on a belated and roundabout way to my grunts. I had encounters with three of those deer, but they didn't come close enough for a bow shot. I killed the sixth one, a fat 8-pointer that scored 138.

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