ATCO Plantation - White Tail Deer Grunting Tips
Whitetail Grunting - Introduction
The first white tail deer that I heard grunt was a doe. She was leading a spotted fawn through the middle of a soybean field, and the young deer was playfully straying from the doe's safety zone. Like clockwork, the doe would grunt, the fawn would grunt, the fawn would return, and they would both noisily eat soybeans together. That doe eventually made her way under my stand (10 yards) and the grunt she was making was soft and short. Right before dark I heard another grunting sound behind my strand. It was deeper, louder, and it was making the doe nervous. I never saw the buck, but knew they had given me an important glimpse into white tail deer communication.
Whitetail Grunting - Doe
My first grunt was a TrueTalker and it has been the only grunt that I have owned. The grunt came with a free VHS that explained some of the basics of grunting, and that was all it took for me to get hooked. I took apart the grunt and pitched it close to the sound the doe had made. I practiced so much that my wife, friends, and dog were getting sick of me and that grunt. Then it was time to test it in the woods.
The doe grunt brings in does and yearlings. I think it pulls out the maternal instincts and causes a yearling to remember the mother's instructions. I have intentionally spooked does, heard them snort, stomp, watched them raise their tails, and watched them start running away. When they ran out of sight, I grunted them right back to the same spot.
The doe grunt brings in young bucks. The rut makes fools of the best deer, so can you imagine the confusion a doe grunt gives a young buck? They act just like adolescent boys. They are too afraid of a mature buck to make a sound, but they will follow a doe grunt like a puppy. I have led many young bucks out into a clearcut with a slow movement and soft doe grunt.
The doe grunt brings in mature bucks. Last year I guided a young man into a river swamp. We sat down at the base of a huge oak tree, and right when we settled I started grunting. A mature buck started responding, but he would not come close enough for a shot. I decided to use a doe grunt with a buck grunt and an eight point ran to us. That buck came within 30 yards, turned to follow a trail, and was shot.
Whitetail Grunting - Dominant Buck
A dominant buck grunt is low pitched and varies in intensity. I have heard three distinct grunts: announcing, sparring, and tending grunts.
A dominant grunt will announce his presence with a grunt, and the small bucks will run! The other mature bucks will respond and then the first buck had better be ready to fight.
A dominant buck will also grunt while fighting another buck. This grunt sounds the same as the announcing grunt to me, but it is a little louder.
A dominant buck will grunt while chasing a doe. This is called a tending grunt. That buck has one thing on his mind and will fight another buck in a heartbeat.
Whitetail Grunting - Expert Opinion
An expert is someone that is more than 30 miles from home, so I will let you decide how many grunts can be heard at ATCO Plantation.