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7 Deer Calls to Help You Master the Whitetail Language [PICS]

Carlos Riojas

Learn these seven deer calls to help you better understand deer behavior when in the field.

When it comes to deer calls, there is no shortage of choices on the market. Many deer calls of today provide the option of adjusting the reed for lower and higher pitched tones, giving the caller a full range of choices from a baby fawn to a mature buck and everything in between.

To give you a better perspective, fawns and does produce more of a bleat tone while medium to mature aged bucks produce a grunt. Only quality time in the woods will allow you to experience these calls and sounds first hand.

Here are seven deer calls to key in on when in the field.

1. Fawn Call

Whitetail Fawn
Carlos Riojas

Fawn bleats are very high-pitched and often barely noticeable. In late April to June and often early into July, does begin dropping the year’s fawn crop. At this time does are at their highest alert. A fawn in distress call is a high-pitched cry much like a baby’s cry that will send mother does into full defensive mode. At first dangers are sought to be avoided, and if the threat persists, does quickly seek to distinguish the threat by whatever means possible. Hint: Sharp front hooves. 

2. Young Doe

Young does have a slightly lower-pitched tone than a fawn’s bleat. However it is still a noticeably higher pitched bleat. Even after a year and a half, yearling does tend to stay in the general proximity of their mother and will send out faint bleats in the brush to determine location or in imminent danger.

3. Mature Doe

Whitetail Doe
Carlos Riojas

Mature does have a slightly lower-pitched tone in their bleat than yearling does.  Most often a doe bleats to her fawn or to other mature does who may be feeding in their foraging area.  Bleats can often be heard near feeding areas and food plots as does are highly territorial for feeding spots just as mature bucks are for breeding areas.  Similar to bucks, Whitetail does have a hierarchy when it comes to feeding areas.  A warning bleat is often sent first, followed by pinned ears and finally as a last resort raising on their hind legs and jabbing with their sharp front hooves.

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4. Young Buck

Young bucks have a deeper pitch in their grunt than a mature doe.  Young bucks tend to run with other immature aged bucks and can often be found engaging in playful sparring matches with other similar aged bucks—even testing their courage and vitality against more mature bucks… only to quickly find where they stand. Think of them as an active 7-10 year old kid. They can be highly vocal and rambunctious. At this age, they are not yet a major sexual threat to breeding bucks and are quickly put in their place by mature males.

5. Mature Buck

Buck Grunt
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As you can imagine, mature bucks have the lowest and deepest pitch grunts in the family. It is rare to hear. Most often buck grunts are used to signal dominance and status to other bucks as well as locate does in estrus during the rut.

6. Rattling Antlers

Rattling Antlers

In the peak of the rut, rattling antlers can cause a dominant buck to rush in and see what intruders are fighting over his already established breeding territory. The best time of the year to rattle in bucks is during the beginning and peak times of the rut, which largely depends on your part of the country. If you are spending quality time in the woods, you’ll know it’s coming when bucks begin to chase and trail does. In addition to this behavior, bucks will get into violent territorial battles with other mature bucks in the vicinity. 

It is highly advised to check with your regional wildlife agency to get a more accurate time of year regarding when the rut begins in your area. Rattling antlers will only spook deer if the rut has not quite hit.

7. Velvet Rubbing (Shedding)

Velvet Shedding
Carlos Riojas

Depending on your part of the country, anywhere from mid September to early October, whitetail bucks begin to feel the itch, and the attempts at removing every remaining speck of velvet can be be heard echoing throughout the woods. The itch is so intense that most bucks remove all of their velvet within just a few hours of intense rubbing. When the itch strikes, any and all vegetation is fair game to help get it off.

Velvet shedding is the beginning of the end for bucks to run in bachelor groups they are known for during antler development months. Within days of shedding velvet, short sparring matches may begin for dominance and territory.

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7 Deer Calls to Help You Master the Whitetail Language [PICS]