Almost everyone likes a good fight. Many times after I’ve shot a gobbler, other toms will run to the scene and attack the fallen bird! Sometimes when bucks fight, other bucks will come to watch or engage, especially young bucks.
Many deer hunters have used rattling to call in and tag bucks. However, I suspect many more bucks, especially mature ones, have been tagged when they responded to a grunt call.
A good grunt call should replicate the sound of a young buck tending a hot doe. I’m always amazed at the number of grunt calls that are designed — or at least marketed — to sound like the biggest buck in the woods. How many bucks wish to challenge the biggest and baddest buck in the woods? Not many.
I enjoy seeing bucks, even those I don’t tag, and my desire is to call in as many bucks as I can. That’s why I use a grunt call designed to sound like a yearling or 2-year-old buck tending a doe.
Years ago, I couldn’t find such a call on the market. Out of frustration, I shared with the boys at Hooks Custom Calls lots of video footage of bucks of all ages grunting. Their master call maker, James Harrison, spent a year creating a grunt call that replicates the sound of an immature buck tending a doe.
This required slowing down the rhythm while keeping the pitch high — which is apparently very difficult to do with most reed materials and designs. James had to get very creative. After testing gads of reed materials and designs, we were finally pleased with the results and called it the Messenger.
We called it the Messenger because the call is used to communicate there’s a receptive doe close by being tended by an immature buck. Compared to rattling, which communicates a fight in progress, the Messenger communicates there’s a receptive doe that can be easily taken from an immature buck tending her.
Since then, I’ve tagged several good-size bucks using the Messenger grunt call. Another consideration is that hunters don’t have to move nearly as much to use the Messenger call as they do when rattling, so it’s easier to stay hidden in a treestand. It’s also much easier and quieter to carry while hunting.
You can watch this strategy in action by clicking here.
It will be the pre-rut soon and time to be calling deer! What tool will you use this fall?
Enjoy creation! (And be sure to turn up the volume on the Facebook video below to see some great footage of young bucks sparring.)