Hunting brings a whole host of obstacles to overcome; it’s why we love the sport so much. Being away from the luxuries of society, braving frigid temperatures, rainfall, and making sure you take the perfect shot. But as difficult and exhausting as all that can be, the most difficult task by far is actually to be able to get the deer to show up.
Thankfully, the amount of hunting experience our species has, has allowed us to come up with some clever ways to entice our prey into our sights. Two of these tools are bleats and antlers.
Bleats and Antlers
Two of my favorite techniques to use, and incidentally some of the most clever ideas, are bleats and antlers. A bleat is when you mimic the sound of a deer, whether it be a doe, fawn, or buck. And antlers are exactly what they sound like…. They’re antlers.
Hunters across the world have tried using these two techniques. But lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people complaining that they just don’t work for them.
That’s why we’re here today; we want to help you find success when using these two attraction techniques.
Bleats and Grunts
One wouldn’t be at fault for thinking that deer are nothing more than voiceless little creatures skulking silently through the woods. I mean, we barely ever hear the things. But the truth is, deer are some of the more vocal animals there are. It’s a by-product of them being herd animals.
Knowing how they communicate, when they communicate, and why they are communicating can be the difference between getting your kill shot; or the chance never presented itself.
These communications are known as bleats. There are a few different types of bleats for each type of deer. You’ve got fawn, doe, and bucks. Just like men, women, and children, the voices of deer are vastly different from each other.
The first thing you’ll want to do is get a deer bleat. There are plenty of options to choose from, but the ones that tend to perform best are wooden with some flexibility. The Illusion Extinguisher is undoubtedly one of the best around. You can adjust it for calling fawn, doe, and bucks, and works well in all types of weather.
Using your Bleat
The first rule to using a bleat call is to be believable. Don’t just blow into the bleat with all your might. Instead, use it strategically, if you want to draw in a buck, go ahead and give a doe call. Just make sure it’s breeding time.
Also, use the bleat conservatively. When hunters enter untouched hunting grounds, they notice these bleats were working wonders. Not too long after that, the deer stopped responding. Deer are unbelievably responsive animals, and they’ll quickly learn to tell the difference between a fallow deer, and a human pretending to be one.
Antlers are another great way to attract deer to you — specifically bucks. These tools are used to mimic fights between bucks and are a phenomenal way to draw in other bucks. Like school yard kids running to watch a fight on the playground, deer will come running to spectate. This technique is called rattling.
There is a bevy of rattling antlers out there, my favorite being the Illusion Systems Black Rack Rattling Antlers. They mimic the sound perfectly, and they even come with an instructional video on how to use them.
How to Rattle
Much like bleats and grunts, you’ll get better success by rattling according to the deer’s behavior. For instance, in the early season, bucks aren’t too confrontational yet. For now, they’re only sparring with each other; you know, trying to see where they are on the dominance hierarchy.
During these months you should rattle for a few seconds at a time. Later on, when bucks start battling for dominance, that is when you can rattle for a minute (give or take a few seconds) at a time. Who knows, maybe you’ll attract an audience.