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Ask Winke
Calling Bucks

  • John from OH asks:
    When is too late to rattle / grunt? Is there a certain time to stop? Thanks.
    Winke Responds:
    John, No certain time. I have seen it work during many parts of the season. Depends on where you live. If in the south it will work into January. I have seen grunting work in the Midwest all season. I am in the blind with Greg typing on an iPad and he feels early December is still good for rattling in the Midwest. Good luck. (11-18-14)
  • Corey from IL asks:
    When can I start rattling? I know it's not time to full out rattle but will bucks respond to tickling of the antlers yet?
    Winke Responds:
    Corey, You can start rattling as soon as the bucks are coming out of velvet. They get to messing around, sparring and testing each other very quickly after shedding velvet and antler tickling will sometimes bring a curiosity response (not an aggressive) one from nearby bucks. I see it all the time when two bucks sparring in the field call in another one to join them. Good luck. (10-11-14)
  • Rob from IA asks:
    For 1st gun season do you have any advice for grunting, bleeting or rattling during this hunt? Or is it even worth trying to call at this point in the season?
    Winke Responds:
    Rob, Anything is possible. It could work. I have seen bucks sparring clear up into January, but I am not sure how much that will attract bucks that are worn out from the rut and really not excited about getting into a fight or a chase. I still say being quiet and sitting on the edge of a good food source will produce the best results. Good luck. (12-2-13)
  • Lane from IN asks:
    Hey Bill, Congrats on killing curly! I was wondering if you think it would be a good time to start doing a little rattling this weekend of the 27th.. This week in southern Indiana we have had some cool weather so maybe this weekend will kick something off? God Bless!
    Winke Responds:
    Lane, Thanks. Yes, I think that would be a good time to start. Not anything too hard, just basic rattling. That cold front should make things good. Good luck. (10-22-13)
  • Matt from TN asks:
    On the episode of "Willy part 1", The bucks were sparring with each other, does this mean rattling may bring in bucks at this time of year? Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Matt, Yes, some light tickling will work at this time as the bucks are just doing a bit of dominance sparring. They are curious as much as anything. I have seen mature bucks in feeding areas cross the entire field in early October to put a stop to two young bucks that were sparring. It was not a fight but the older buck just wanted the youngsters to know that he was the man. I have seen this on more than one occassion. It is worth a try. Keep it light. Good luck. (10-1-13)
  • Alex from IA asks:
    Bill thanks for continuing to do what you do. you provide a lot of insight and you really get me pumped every year to get in a tree! My question is how early is too early to start blind rattling in southern iowa? Especially on large tracts of public land? Have a 3 day planned the wknd of oct 19th and am trying to put a strategy together. Any other tips on hunting this time frame on public (morn/evening) when weather is still an uncertainty? Thanks!
    Winke Responds:
    Alex, I would start light rattling (tickling) anytime. I would not do a lot of calling as the deer can soon figure out what is happenng if you do it too much. A couple times each sit on stand is likely enough. I would not get too aggressive with the rattling until last week of October. For your mid-October hunt, you have to focus on food. That is the key. Good luck. (9-27-13)
  • Brian from MN asks:
    Hi Bill, I have a 400 acre private lease in southeastern mn 220 of which is timber bluffs, there is 4 guys involved and we are torn on whether we should call (rattle,grunt,decoy) deer while bowhunting. When done correctly is there negative effects? If so do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? If it were your property would you be calling?
    Winke Responds:
    Brian, No negative affects if done correctly, but if you call much eventually one of you will get caught in the tree - it comes with the territory. How that affects the huntability of the bucks is up for debate, but I say any time you have deer catch someone in a tree on a property they become a bit harder to kill there. I guess, I would have the policy that you only call to deer that you want to shoot that are passing out of range. That will reduce the amount of calling and allow you to keep track of the bucks better so you are less likely to get caught by a buck that sneaks in to blind calling. To answer your question: I don't call much except to bucks I want to shoot. Decoys are another matter. I am not sure how much decoying you can get away with before you educate some deer. I guess you will have to play that one out and see for yourself. My guess is that it will also educate deer and should be restricted to maybe just a week period during the peak of the rut. Good luck. (9-10-13)
  • Ed from MN asks:
    When or what type of deer behavior do you look for before you start really rattling and or calling for the season.? Do you look for chasing activity on your farm or perhaps scrapes to let you know that the time is right for rattling or calling in general ?
    Winke Responds:
    Ed, I am not afraid to call right from the start if the buck I want to shoot is passing out of range. What do you have to lose? However, if I am blind calling, I usually wait until the last week of October before I start. The timing is about the same every year. Good luck. (8-29-13)
  • ed from MN asks:
    Just a tip that may help out. I used to have a pair of sheds that I used for rattling and after the years they sounded a bit tinny or tangy, almost dead with no tone. I don't remember where I heard it but I heard somewhere that if you soak the antlers for a few days in water in like a tub or a 5 gallon bucket, they will regain some tone and depth of tone and sound more realistic. I used this and it seemed to work for me.
    Winke Responds:
    Ed, Good tip. Thanks. Good luck this season. (8-29-13)
  • Larry from MI asks:
    Hi Bill, How do you feel regarding an electronic deer call( with the remote )vrs a traditional call you use by mouth, and what brand would you recommend. I really rely on the information from your responses and your show...us weekenders really need it.. keep up the great work. Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Larry, I don't know much about them. I had one sent to me a number of years ago with a long cord that allowed you to set up the call on the ground for a more natural calling position, but I never used it. I guess I have always had good success with a mouth call or rattling antlers. I never felt I needed to try anything further because I like to keep things simple. Simpler is usually better. Good luck. (8-17-13)
  • jason from PA asks:
    When is it a good time to start grunting in eastern Pennsylvania
    Winke Responds:
    Jason, It starts to make the most sense when the bucks are looking for does, so roughly the last week of October on. However, I have heard of people making it work in early October when bucks are more curious than angered. I have not had much luck with it then. Late October through November is a good bet. Good luck. (8-11-13)
  • Brandon Stevenson from MN asks:
    Hi Bill I met you this past weekend at the Iowa Whitetail Classic and was still talking about it this week at work. I believe that your show and website are the best thing out there for whitetail information. Question i asked you at the classic was, which rattling method you perfered, and your answer was the pack rack but couldn't remember if you said the magnum or regular? Another question I had was how often and when do you start the rattling? Also which grunt tube do you like the most out of all the options out there. I have been using the Buck Roar for a couple years now, but it seems agressive. Thanks for your time and great information! Brandon Stevenson
    Winke Responds:
    Brandon, Thanks for looking for me at the Classic. I like the Magnum because I feel it sounds better - a bit deeper in tone, possibly a bit louder too. I don't rattle a lot, maybe two times per day. I will rattle shortly after sunrise in the morning and shortly before sunset in the evening. I do call much more aggressively, however, when I see a buck I want to shoot that is passing out of bow range. The Buck Roar is OK, you don't have to make it roar. You can use it like a regular grunt call too. I have used nearly every grunt call on the market over the years. They will all call in bucks. I look for ones that you can blow fairly loud without distorting the sound so I can hit bucks that are passing in the distance. Right now I am using the Death Chamber from Knight & Hale. Thanks for the support. (3-12-13)
  • Seth from AL asks:
    Is there any calling for this time of the season I could do? because tomorrow I wanna help my bro in law get a nice buck... Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Seth, It can work, but it is not nearly as effective as it can be in the rut. It is worth a try, I guess, but really, that is not what produces success during the late season. You have to find the food and hunt near it during the evening and hope the deer are coming to it before dark. You can also hunt along trails leading from bedding areas to feeding areas, but calling alone is not really going to make you successful without using one of the other two stand strategies. Good luck. (12-26-12)
  • Mike from AL asks:
    Hey Bill i love the show. My question is I'm taking a bowhunting trip to Kansas next year the last week of October 2013. I'm wondering if this is going to be a good time for rattling and calling? I'm going with a small outfit that doesn't see a ton of Hunters, in fact we will be the first group of Hunters on this particular property since the end of September. We can't change any dates because of my work schedule. Any words of advice to offer me? Do you think I'll be hitting right for the pre rut period? We will be in Southeast Kansas.
    Winke Responds:
    Mike, Yes, normally it would be. Some years the last week of October is really good, better then November. I would start praying for a cold front to come through at that time and you should be in the middle of it. I think at that time you are still hunting near food in the evenings and back in the timber on funnels or near doe bedding areas in the mornings. At least that would be my starting point. I am guessing the outfitter will have it figured out when you get there. Good luck and Merry Christmas. (12-21-12)
  • derek from LA asks:
    I have sveral different bucks lurking around the area im hunting. Some of my pics look like a couple bucks neck are lil swollen, no pawings in area should i try rattling now are wait for full rut?? Any certain technech i should use while rattling (grunting bleating etc)??
    Winke Responds:
    Derek, You can definitely rattle and grunt bucks in prior to the full rut. In fact, sometimes it is better a bit before the breeding begins. I would keep it simple. Three basic grunts is a good starting point and when rattling I make some real noise for about 30 seconds and then put the antlers or Pack Rack away for at least 30 to 40 minutes before trying again. Calling doesn't work very often, but it does work sometimes. Be realistic in your expectations. Good luck. (12-10-12)
  • Joe from ME asks:
    Bill, my condolences on the loss of Bubba. It's heart breaking to see such a great monarch of the woods brought down in such a inglorious manner. Hopefully he spread his genetics wide and far for future generations to enjoy. You may get a crack at him yet. Was wondering, if in your experience, do you think does are spooked away from or likely to avoid an area where rattling or grunt calling is being employed. I hunt small parcels of public ground in populated eastern Nebraska and as such have no grand illusions of seeing a mature buck. I hunt to put meat on the table. I have'nt tried calling for fear of scaring off does but have been told by local game warden that occasionally a mature buck is taken off public ground usually during rut.
    Winke Responds:
    Joe, Thanks. It would be cool to see another buck with that kind of mass around here. To answer: not unless they come to relate the sound with hunters then they will avoid it. So if they hear it enough and come to realize that the sound accompanies people sitting in trees, they will react. I wouldn't hesitate to grunt and rattle as long as you do it sparingly (every hour or so). You may call in a buck, but I don't think you will scare does away unless they have this prior experience or they hear the sound and look and see you! So don't do it when does are close by. Good luck. (12-5-12)
  • Jeremy from GA asks:
    Where can I purchase a set of sheds for rattling "horns?" Sheds hunting in middle Georgia is "sketchy" at best, and I don't want to cut up any racks from previous kills.
    Winke Responds:
    Jeremy, You can buy almost any kind of antlers you may want from e-bay. Good luck. (12-3-12)
  • Jared from MI asks:
    Hello Bill, I would like to start off by congratulating you on your successful hunt for the G4 buck! It has been awesome to learn from you and use your various approaches and thought processes that go into harvesting a mature whitetail buck. I am from Michigan but have made the trip to Albia Iowa for the late muzzle loader season for 11 years in a row now. Last year one of the members of our hunting party harvested a great buck we've been after. The circumstances were interesting involving how he shot the buck. He was hunting a ridge and saw two very young bucks lightly sparring with each other. For fun he decided to pull out his grunt tube and give it a couple blasts. Minutes later he heard a deer crashing through the brush making a B-line towards the two small bucks. It ended up being about a 175 inch bruiser we had been after. He shot the deer on January 1st which is obviously well past the rut. I was wondering if you've had any success grunting or rattling during the late season
    Winke Responds:
    Jared, Thanks for the support. I have not had that kind of success, though I have not tried calling either. I am usually so focused on feeding patterns that they are all I think about. However, I have seen fights (more like sparring) in January too. I have seen some pretty serious ones at that time occassionally, so I am sure some of the bucks are still feeling their oats. It makes great sense to me. Catch the right buck in the right mood and he will come in. Good luck. (11-30-12)
  • Dave from IA asks:
    Do you think rattling will still work during gun#1 or are you better off setting tight with all the pressure the get
    Winke Responds:
    Dave, If you have heavy pressure in the area, I would definitely be quiet and wait for them to move. I would not announce my presence. However, if the preessure is light and the deer are moving naturally, rattling can still work. I have seen them sparring and even fighting clear up until the season ended in January, but they aren't as aggressive in coming to it past the rut. Good luck. (11-27-12)
  • marcus from MS asks:
    Will a grunt work in early season?
    Winke Responds:
    Marcus, It will sometimes. The bucks aren't as aggravated by other bucks in the early season as they are in the rut, so the response will be different, more like curiosity - a social type reaction rather than an aggressive reaction. It is worth a try, but don't over do it. Good luck. (11-25-12)
  • Robert from IA asks:
    What to do? It's mid afternoon on November 15th in Iowa and I'm in my stand. I see a doe with a fawn browsing 80 yards away. I then see a good buck trailing behind her 20 yards or so, also just browsing. The path she is taking will lead the buck away. Do I grunt, snort wheeze, can call, rattle, or do nothing and hope she changes direction and heads my way?
    Winke Responds:
    Robert, This is not real time support, but in hindsight, I would grunt softly if there is thick cover nearby. If not, I would stay quiet. If it is open and the buck looks and sees no other bucks he will get leery. That is why the cover makes a difference. I hope you got him. (11-16-12)
  • Keenan from MT asks:
    Bill,congrats on the G4 buck, he is a stud. My question is have you ever tried calling for deer in open CRP and crop fields and would it work. Thanks, Keenan.
    Winke Responds:
    Keenan, We did some of that in Kansas when I used to hunt there. Works best is you can get to the downwind side of the field so the deer can't swing too far downwind of you and then ideally use a decoy to grab their attention, but yes, that should work well. Cover some ground and you will eventually run into the right buck in the right mood. God luck. (11-16-12)
  • Dennis from AR asks:
    Which works the best cut off horns or sheds for rattling have a hard time cutting big horns off love the show have a great season.
    Winke Responds:
    Dennis, I think sheds work just fine. I don't think you should cut the antlers off a nice buck just to have something to rattle with. Good luck. (11-8-12)
  • Seth from IN asks:
    Hey Bill, I was wondering what kind of calls work in this tIme of the season? Because its my first time Bow hunting and I'm gonna need to get em in close! Thanks!
    Winke Responds:
    Seth, Grunts work under the widest range of conditions. I will try grunting first and if the deer don't hear it, I will try rattling. Don't over call - every 30 minutes is plenty often enough. Knight & Hale calls is one of our sponsors and they make some really good grunt calls. Their Pack Rack rattling system is really nice and portable and realistic. Good luck. (10-26-12)
  • Bill from AL asks:
    My club kids want to know when and how calling buck should start and how to use them together.
    Winke Responds:
    Bill, I would start calling roughly two weeks before the peak of breeding in your area. There is really no secret formula for exactly how to call and when to use the grunt versus the antlers or Pack Rack devices when calling. Main thing is the timing and volume. The deer have to hear it to respond so if it is a bit windy you will need to be loud. I don't like tons of calling: a sequence with a couple grunts and come rattling every 30 minutes is plenty often enough in my mind. I don't do much calling because I don't want to bring attention to where I am sitting. I like to ambush them. Good luck. (10-25-12)
  • Dustin from MO asks:
    How often should I should I use my calls?
    Winke Responds:
    Dustin, I don't do a lot of calling. I like to wait until I see one passing out of range. Then it works very well. But if you want to be more aggressive, that is fine. I still wouldn't want to call more often than every 30 to 45 minutes, however. I think with lots of calling, you educate more bucks. But if you do it carefully and keep a sharp eye out for bucks sneaking in on the downwind side, you might be OK. Good luck. (10-9-12)
  • Mitchell from MN asks:
    can u rattle bucks in september. what is the best calls for early season. Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Mitchell, I guess you can. Just keep it real light, more like gentle sparring. That can sometimes attract the attention of a curious buck. They won't come in aggressively, just curious. Grunts are OK for early season too. Nothing works really well at this time. Good luck. (6-4-12)
  • kevin from WI asks:
    hi bill i received a rack from a nice ten point buck that my uncle shot as a gag Christmas present. i want to make a pair of rattling antlers, do you think using these antlers would work? good luck killing the double g4 buck kevin
    Winke Responds:
    Kevin, Thanks. Sounds like the perfect rattling antlers to me. Good luck. Happy New Year. (12-28-11)
  • Adam from IA asks:
    I have this great ten point on my land that i have had multiple encounters with. Two of the times, i have grunted at him and snort wheezed in hopes he would come into range, both times it caught his attention then he acted like the situation made him nervous and he would trot off in the opposite direction and i know he couldnt see me. Can mature bucks shy away from calls or are they just to wise to come to them?
    Winke Responds:
    Adam, They definitely aren't too wise to come in. We kill tons of mature bucks with calls. Some bucks just don't like calls. I am not sure why. I have seen it happen a few times even in areas with limited hunting pressure. I am guessing the deer either had prior experience with calling or it was too close when you called, or it could see by looking that there was no other buck there and that made him nervous. Good luck. (11-30-11)
  • Josh from TN asks:
    Hey Mr. Winke, I've really enjoyed your show thus far, and thanks so much for keeping us up on how things are going for you out in the field this season. My question is in regards to calling. I know, from your videos, that you are not a fan of calling to what you can't see. I was wondering if you had any additional insight on how deer density and doe to buck ratios may effect calling. For example, if in a high density area with LOTS of does, would you be more apt to but down the grunt call and pick up the estrus can? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks! Josh
    Winke Responds:
    Josh, I think those things have some affect, but I think the mood of the buck also has a big bearing on the success of calling. For exmaple, if he has someplace in mind, he may only pause at the call and then continue. If he is just out for a walk and is randomly searching for does, he is much more likely to come in. Also, if the buck has been called to a lot he has no doubt had some bad experiences and he is more likely to slink off or come part way in. I don't think the exct type of call is as important as the timing and the mood of the bucks. That said, some days the bucks are not in the mood to come to the grunt so I try other things and sometimes get them with a snort-wheeze. I bet the can has the same affect. Some days and with some bucks it will work better than the grunt. I just carry the grunt and Pack Rack. I also use the snort-wheeze with my mouth. If a buck is going to come in, usually one of them will get his attention. Once I have his undivided attention, if he doesn't come in then, he isn't going to no matter what I throw at him. Good luck. (11-29-11)
  • aaron from PA asks:
    i am hunting rifle season in W.V. starting november 21st would you use a grunt call then? Or even the estrous can call ? Would that be a good idea or not.
    Winke Responds:
    Aaron, I assume I missed you as I have been playing catch-up on the questions. Definitely would call at that time. I think the grunt or can are good choices. Good luck. (11-29-11)
  • Heath from KS asks:
    What a hunt, congrats on a great buck! On Nov. 13, I experienced grunting and chasing by a mature buck for the first time. A Buck came out clear at the other end of a quarter section field and checked four does. He chased them out to the center of the field, and then I guess figured out that none were ready. He just went to feeding with the does. Light was running out, so I started doe bleating and using tending grunts. I did three series. The buck still never moved so I threw in a few snort wheezes, and more bleats. The buck crossed east into CRP that I don't have permission to shoot into, and then came by me (12 yards). When he circled around and came back on the field, (18 yards away, no lane) a doe had stepped out from the south, and she was hot. He dogged her the rest of the night. Did I call too much?
    Winke Responds:
    Heath, Congrats on your character for not shooting across the fence. You did the right thing. The key to calling is to make sure they hear you. I will keep raising the volume on my calls (sometimes changing to a different style of calling - from grunt to snort-wheeze for example) until the deer acknowledges that he heard me. When he looks my way, I wait a couple of seconds and then give him one more call (usually a grunt) for him to home in on (a bit softer). Sometimes I stay quiet if he seems really intent on the call. That is why I love to be able to see them when I call to them. I need that feedback to feel like I am doing it right. Usually that is all it takes. He is either coming or he isn't at that point. Not much more you can do. Good luck on the buck. (11-23-11)
  • Jeremy from MN asks:
    How much longer will rattling and grunt calling really be effective in Southwest MN? The gun season is over and Black powder is right around the corner, no luck with gun, so I'm really hoping to hit it hard again with bow atleast till Nov. 26th. Gun season seemed to be bad this year, unless you hunted near the river bottom! I hunt land on the top and just seeing deer has been tough.
    Winke Responds:
    Jeremy, I have seen rattling work well into December. So it should still be effective until November 26th with no problem. Grunting as well. It may not bring them running, but in theory, it should still work if the bucks aren't too spooked from gun pressure. Good luck. I hope the second season is better for you. (11-22-11)
  • Brady from MN asks:
    What to do? I have had many bucks coming in to my rattling and grunting the last few days but all of them way to small I have tried estrus just wondering if you could give me any advice on anything else i can try. Thanks and happy hunting
    Winke Responds:
    Brady, There is probably not much else you can do. There may not be any bigger bucks around. Depending on what the other hunters in the area are shooting, there may not be many mature bucks in the area. They need to get some age on them to be big and that doesn't automatically happen everywhere. Also, mature bucks are less likely to come to calls. It happens for sure, but the odds are less of a mature buck responding than a relatively dumb younger buck. Good luck. (11-17-11)
  • Skylar from IA asks:
    What's the best call to use on a buck on a hot doe trail?
    Winke Responds:
    Skylar, It is very, very hard to pull a buck off a hot doe or hot doe's scent trail. Once in a while you might be able to do it, but there is no best call to get it done. Start with grunting, try a snort wheeze or two and then finally as a last attempt you can try rattling. Possibly, if the trail doesn't pan out for the buck he will come back to investigate. It can be as much as an hour later, so keep your eyes sharp. Good luck. (11-17-11)
  • John from MO asks:
    Hey bill, my question is During The 20-30 of november is that still a good time to rattle and grunt...also just wondering what do you do with all your bows once you get your new ones?
    Winke Responds:
    John, That is still a good timeframe for calling, yes. I usually just keep them. I usually get one new bow (that fits me) each year. I shoot heavy draw weight with a 32 inch draw so the bows don't fit many of my employees or friends. Several of them are still hanging in my store room. Some have a lot of history, like a good old gun, so I would never give them away. I will keep the previous year's bow as a backup and then hunt with the new one. Good luck. (11-15-11)
  • Andy from WI asks:
    Hey Bill, great website btw and awesome buck you just got! I have a question regarding calling. This morning I blind rattled the horns and within 10 mins a 130in 2 year old came within easy shooting distance, he then walked around a bit and headed off in the opposite direction. I thought Ill try grunting him back. I grunted once, He stopped and imediatly came right back. Now later today I had a shooter 4 year old I call wide 8 suprise me again (didnt see him until he was 15 yards from the stand but this time I got a good look at him and he probably is in the mid 150's for an 8 point. I tried grunting him snort weezed a couple times and got some response but never came back. I tried rattling when he was about 80-90 yrds away and I think it just spooked him away. My question is why wouldnt the more dominant buck be more apted to come in? do the older deer tend to have to have a visual on what is making the noise to come in? I hope I didnt spook him for good.
    Winke Responds:
    Andy, Thanks for the support. Calling success depends on the moment, the deer's personality, how loudly you call, how close the deer is, etc. He may have been too close your hit it too hard. Try to move the volume up slowly on bucks within 100 yards so you don't hit them too hard. Remember, they know pretty well what is happening around them and for you to suddenly start calling within their zone of awareness - well that can spook some older bucks because they know there isn't a buck there. If the cover is really thick you can sometimes pull it off at closer range, but anything inside 100 yards can be pretty sketchy because they know there is nothing there. I have also known mature bucks that had very little hunting pressure that ran from grunt calls because it was just their personality. They weren't aggressive bucks. Not all bucks are aggressive. Not all are fighters, plain and simple. Some just slink around avoiding conflict. You didn't spook him for good, not unless he saw or smelled you in the tree. Good luck (11-12-11)
  • Cody from WI asks:
    Hey Bill! I went out friday morning and sunday morning, both morning's beautiful morning's. So i decided to rattle a little, i did and grunted a little, but nothing came, it seem's that every year i rattle the deer don't come. Am i doing something wrong here? And i have heard that guys will take a branch with leaves on it, or fill a cotton sack with leaves, and crash them together to make it more realistic, or they walk in circle's on the ground kicking the leave's making it sound realistic, is that a good strategy, or not? Thanks Bill!
    Winke Responds:
    Cody, You don't need to do all that stuff. I often rattle and nothing comes in either. You have to have a deer nearby that is in the right mood. That doesn't happen every time you rattle. I think I would use the calling sparingly. Don't make too much noise. Instead, maybe once during a sit and focus on finding stand locations in good travel routes so you don't have to rely on calling to bring them close. Good luck. (11-6-11)
  • corey from IA asks:
    how far is the farthest you ever called a rutting buck in with a grunt tube?
    Winke Responds:
    Corey, I would say maybe about 200 yards. They can't hear it very far actually. On a still day they can hear it farther obviously, but the limit of the call's effectiveness is basically how far away a buck can hear it. Good luck. (11-6-11)
  • Lucas from PA asks:
    Great show, can't wait to watch your season hunting monster deer. I have seen in a few episodes were you snort wheezed loudly wiht your mouth. I can make the sound but can't get the volume, any tips.
    Winke Responds:
    Lucas, Thanks for the support. Good luck to you too. Keep the lips apart a bit, press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and make a hissing sound. Don't try to blow, just hiss loudly. I sprayed my computer screen with spit trying to figure out how I make the noise. Now I have to get some Formula 409. (10-26-11)
  • Matthew from OK asks:
    Hey Bill, I love your show! I had a question, when is the best time to rattle in big bucks? Can i still rattle in a monster without a decoy?
    Winke Responds:
    Matthew, Research shows that the best time to rattle in a giant is during the waning days of the rut - the third week of November. But the same research showed that the best time to rattle in lots of bucks was in early November. I think you can start right now and if you catch the right buck in the right mood he will come. They are definitely starting to think about the rut and settling their dominance, so rattling now can work. You can definitely rattle in bucks without decoys. We do it all the time since I rarely use a decoy. Good luck.
  • jason from MI asks:
    Bill, What is your favorite grunt call? and What is your favorite grunt call avalible to buy? I saw you had a wooden barrel call on your grunt call show on tv. Most are plastic now. I have tried a lot of them and have not found the perfect one yet. Thanks, Jason
    Winke Responds:
    Jason, I like loud grunts that don't blow down when you blow hard into them. I guess Knight & Hale is coming out with one for this fall. I have not tested it yet, but it is supposed to be one you can blow loud and hold the tone. That is the one I will be using this year - one of the reasons I wanted to have them as a sponsor since I know we can promote that call well. The wooden grunt was a hardwood Grunter from Primos. Not sure if they even still make that one. Hope that helps.
  • Scott from NC asks:
    In a recent episode of Midwest Whitetail TV, you showed scenerios where grunt and snort-wheeze calling brought deer close enough for a bow shot. These were all deer that were seen first, then called to in order to get them close enough. How do you feel about the grunt call and snort wheeze when deer are not visible? Blind calling basically?
    Winke Responds:
    Scott, I don't do much of it because the deer often sneak in and then they see me (us) move in the tree stand possibly. I will rattle once in a while (a couple of times per day). But I like to reserve most of my calling for deer I have seen and can monitor as they hear the call and react to it. I don't call unless it is a buck I think I (or the cameraman) want to shoot. I believe you should use calling conservatively so you don't educate too many deer. But when I see one I want and he is passing out of range, I am not shy about throwing everything at him until he hears it and turns. Good luck.
  • Travis from SD asks:
    How do those Buck calls work, do they call them in good or not?
    Winke Responds:
    Travis, You bet they do. Fully half of all the bucks I have shot over the past several years were passing out of bow range but came in closer for a shot because I grunted at them. That is a huge odds maker!
  • Dustin from MO asks:
    I was just wondering what your strategy was for rattling in a buck during the pre rut, rut and post rut? Im pretty confident what to do during the rut but just wanted to know what your thoughts were for pre and post? Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Dustin, I think that dring both of those times you need to be conservative. Don't hit it too hard. More tickling and not as much heavy crashing. I have seen some pretty good sparring during October and December so they do fight at these times, but I think you run the risk of spooking a buck if you are too aggressive at these times. Better to keep it light and save the heavy stuff for the rut. Good luck.
  • Garrett from ME asks:
    I hunted the night of December 19 and only can go out again on the 26th. I saw a lot of deer, mostly does and small bucks and a few nice bucks. I saw a couple bucks sparing and chasing. I also saw a fairly nice 8 freshening up a scrape. Do you think that grunting and rattling will still work? If so, how would you go about using it to get a buck in bow range?
    Winke Responds:
    Garrett, I would only use the calls to try to bring a buck closer that is out of range. I don't think I would be doing a lot of blind calling at this time. Just a few subtle grunts to try to make a distant buck curious is about the extent of it (or maybe a bit of antler tickling). I would not use any aggressive calling at this time as it may put them on alert that something strange is happening. Be conservative and you won't spook anything. Good luck.
  • Matthew from OK asks:
    Bill- I love Midwest Whitetal! It has inspired me to try many new tatics ang ideas on deer hunting! I have one question though. How do you call in december? I've heard rattle, grunt, bleat, etc. what is your proffesional oppinion? Thanx- Matthew
    Winke Responds:
    Matthew, I think some limited calling might work. I would reserve it for a last ditch effort when a buck you would like to shoot is out of range and isn't likely to come closer on his own. Then you have nothing to lose. Then, I would probably be grunting. Light rattling might also work, but don't do much of the heavy rattling. Good luck.
  • Dennis from WI asks:
    Recently (November 28th) I watched a part of your show when you told about the sound you can make with your mouth to call a buck (I think). Your show was on wjfw tv12 out of Rhinelander,WI. I think they called it a deer sneeze???. Can you tell me how ,if possible, I can view this show on line? I have an unbelievable story to share with you about this sound. I made the sound one evening from my gun stand and had deer trotting in from three different angles. It was something that I would not believe if I had not done and seen it myself.
    Winke Responds:
    Dennis, It is called the Snort-Wheeze. I think the best place to see it on the website is back in 2008 and 2009 seasons. The first time we aired it was in Episode 19 in 2008 (link: http://www.midwestwhitetail.com/gallery/16/media/38/mw19-stickers-up-close-personal.html) The second time we showed it working was in Episode 13 (link: http://www.midwestwhitetail.com/gallery/17/media/1570/mw0913-windy-day-brute.html). It works sometimes, but like all calls, doesn't work all the time. Good luck.
  • curt from MN asks:
    the other night I went out for a evening hunt. Saw a two and half year old stand up from his bed about 80 yds away. I grunted at him and he looked , bleated he looked, he stared to leave so I snort wheezed. he turned around and headed my way. he got about 20 yds from me looked for the deer he heard, didnt see any so started to leave, I let him get about 60 yds away, gunted, bleated then he came back to look again. after seeing nothing again I let him get about 60 yds out and started toying with him again, I did this 6 times, then I stopped calling. He took off and went to the btm of the ridge and ended coming up behind within 15 yds.I nik named him the yo yo buck. Do you ever practice calling on immature bucks? Or call in deer to deer as real live decoys?
    Winke Responds:
    Curt, I think that is a fun thing to do when on stand. I typically don't mess with the young deer that much, but there is no reason not to. You can learn a lot doing that sort of thing. You just don't want to over do it where they catch you in the stand become leery of calls. That would be my only fear. Good luck.
  • Andy from WI asks:
    HI Bill, first off let me say that I love the show and I am very excited to see what the pro staff has to show us. I hunt in Forest County, which is one of the counties touching the border of the U.P.. As of right now, the spot that I am hunting has a nice size spike that my camera has shown so far. My question is, do you think it would be wise of me to use a grunt call for this buck but use a higher pitch vocalization so i don't risk scaring the buck or should I just leave it at home and sit still and wait for him to show up by himself.
    Winke Responds:
    Andy, I think the higher pitched grunt would be fine. I believe there are even calls on the market that you can adjust to sound like bucks of various ages. I generally use something toward middle tone myself. The really deep grunts are fine for some situations, but they may be too intimidating for all bucks. Good luck.
  • Al from MN asks:
    Bill, Enjoy the show. The Minnesota Gun season starts Nov 6th which should still be the chasing phase of the rut. My question is this: would it still make sense to rattle and call with gun shots in the distance and more people in the woods? BTW, I will be hunting private land? I guess I'm wondering if the adding hunters and noise, etc would be negate rattling and calling. Thanks,
    Winke Responds:
    Al, It still makes sense at least for the opening morning. If there is pressure on the adjoining farms that stirs your deer up, natural movement will drop off after the morning. If there is not much pressure on bordering farms, distant gun shots will have no impact at all on your deer.
  • Pao from MN asks:
    Bill, I was wondering which calls are better in the rut? Does it really matter which ones to use or not? Also what calls do you use during the hunting season? If there are any, which one would you recommend for me? Thanks, Pao.
    Winke Responds:
    Pao, I don't carry antlers because I just don't like carrying them. I don't always do the things that make me most productive. Sometimes I just do things that I enjoy and don't do things I don't enjoy. However, if you don't mind carrying them, there is a place for rattling antlers. Personally, I just carry a grunt call. The one I am carrying this year is the Primos Hardwood Grunter. I like it because I can blow it loud and it retains its proper tone. That works best for windy days or when the buck is a good ways off. Good luck.
  • Dylan from MO asks:
    Hey Bill i love the show keep up the good work. I am goin bow hunting this weekend which would BE Nov. 6th and 7th and i was wondering which would work best a rattling bag or a smaller set of antlers and also what grunting tactics would you use? ThANKS
    Winke Responds:
    Dylan, I think antlers sound better to me than a bag, but I have seen bucks come running to the bag too, so I am not sure there is a best option. If you are trying to call louder, I think the antlers (especially a larger set) are best. I use a basic three-grunt sequence for most of my grunt calling. That seems to work as well for me as the fancy calling techniques. I space them about five seconds apart. Good luck.
  • Dalton from KS asks:
    Hey love the show!! Should I start to do any trailing grunts or tickling antlers together or any doe bleats? There is a nice 8 pointer and a big ten that i have been seeing frequently around my property. My neighbor almost shot the 8 this morning but thank God that he forgot his release. (Sorry on his behalf) Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Dalton, Yep, late October/early November is a good time to start calling. Good luck.
  • Russ from WI asks:
    Bill, I was wondering if you use rattling and grunt sequences while in the tree stand? I can't remeber if you have ever done so on camera and if you do use it if you would consider doing so on camera. Thanks, Russ
    Winke Responds:
    Russ, I don't call blind very much, but will grunt a few times (usually a sequence of three or four loud grunts) about an hour after day and about an hour before end of shooting tiime. That is about all I do unless I see a deer I want to shoot out of range. I can often bring them in if I can see them. By watching their reactions to the calls, I can make sure they hear it. Once I know they heard it, I give them one more to home in on and then I sit quiet. Good luck.
  • Pao from MN asks:
    Hey Bill, is it a good time to start rattling when the rut is just around the corner? Also, how long as from now should rattling be good til? Thanks and Good Luck on hunting! -Pao
    Winke Responds:
    Pao, It is generally good throughout the rut. I would typically start light rattling in mid-October and increase the intensity as the rut approaches. Good luck.
  • Justin from VA asks:
    when do you think the rut will hit in VA?
    Winke Responds:
    Justin, Timing can be very regional there. I think it hits there at different times than it does in the Midwest. I would consult with a local veteran hunter or with a regional game biologist with the state agency. I would not be able to give you good advice. Good luck.
  • randy from MN asks:
    My uncle and I are heading up to the cabin in north central mn this Friday, October 29 for a week of hunting before the mn gun season opens. How aggressive do you think we can get calling and rattling? Lots of big woods and swamps any tips for setup spots for this time?
    Winke Responds:
    Randy, I would think that you can call fairly aggressively at that time. I would not call non-stop by any means, but every hour should be fine. Good luck, sounds like a fun trip.
  • Troy from KY asks:
    Do you use a grunt call only when you see a buck ?
    Winke Responds:
    Troy, Absolutely. I don't do anything fancy, just basic grunts. I think grunt calls are essential equipment that every bowhunter should have close by. I use mine mostly after I see a buck I want to shoot that is passing out of range. I rarely call blindly, but I know some guys that do that and are very effective. I just don't like calling attention to my position needlessly. Simply a philosophical point of view on my part. Good luck.
  • Cody from WI asks:
    When ever i call in a buck, by rattling, they come within 45-55 yards,and wont come closer, so how do i get them to come in without spooking them?
    Winke Responds:
    Cody, See the previous answer. It will apply to you too.
  • jeff from WI asks:
    Winke, why do bucks hang up on me when I am rattl'n they seem to stop about 60 to 100 yards away and won' come in what am i doing wrong?????? Thanks Jeff
    Winke Responds:
    Jeff, They usually will hang back and look for the other bucks that are fighting. If you are hunting open cover, they feel safter hanging back and looking. Calling near thicker cover (where they can't see as well) will help and so would using a decoy. Those are about the only things that might help to get a buck to close the final distance. Good luck.
  • Mike from ON asks:
    Hey Bill. Two years ago I had a nice 10 pointer tending a doe about 40 yards behind my stand. Before I could get a clear shot they left the area. About 5 minutes after they left a huge bodied 150ish class 10 pointer walked in on the same path the doe had come from. He was at 30 yards behind my stand and about 3 steps from a shooting lane when he stopped and blew the most intense snort wheeze I had ever heard. He then turned and calmly walked dead away from me. When he got to about 70 yards I grunted at him to try and make him think the other buck was still in the area but he just walked off. It was a great hunt even though I didn't take him but what might you have done differently? Or would you have done the same thing. I know every situation is different but what I did still feels like the right thing. I'm just really curious about your opinion on the situation.
    Winke Responds:
    Mike, That sounds like a good plan, but possibly he didn't hear you. I like to know they heard me by their reaction to the call. Bucks don't always hear the grunt. You might have considered snort-wheezing at him when he was at that point (after walking off a ways) just to be sure. It seems they can hear the snort-wheeze better than the grunt sometimes.
  • Mike from ON asks:
    Do you ever grunt blind, or do you only use this tactic when trying to draw bucks in closer that you have already seen on their feet? Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Mike, I do a small bit of blind grunting, maybe once each time on stand (at the most). Mostly I just wait for the deer to show up and then try to grunt them into range if they are too far away. I do better when I can see their reation to the call. Also, I don't like to call too much attention to myself in the woods because most bucks won't come in boldly, they will sneak in looking for the other buck and are very good at pinpointing the exact source of the sound (my tree). Thus, they sneak in looking intently in my direction. It is easy to make a move and spook them without even realizing they are there. Then they become shy of that stand location. I don't like that. Hope that helps. Good luck.
  • Brad from MO asks:
    Bill, Thanks for producing such a genuine hunting show, and please pass my thanks on to the Missouri team. They do a great job. My question is this: I had an encounter with a big 10 that I missed last year on public land. Same location. I heard him grunt, and I got a little too excited and gave a quiet grunt back. After staring for five minutes, he thrashed a tree with his antlers, pawed at the ground, and then walked back into thick cover. Did my pre-mature grunting possibly ruin a shot at him, or will he likely visit the area again? Thanks and God-bless, Brad
    Winke Responds:
    Brad, He will likely visit the area again. They don't all come in. Some bucks react to the grunt with aggression. I have even seen them turn tail and run. That doesn't mean they stop using that area. Once I realize a buck doesn't like the grunt call, however, I remember not to grunt at him the next time. Good luck getting him.
  • cameron from AB asks:
    Hi Bill the new shows this year are great! I have two questions for you first is when do you think the best time to rattle for bucks is? also I have some deer sheds I want to score, what score is considered a good size for one antler?
    Winke Responds:
    Cameron, Best time to rattle is probably the first ten days of November. Anything over about 70 inches is big. Anything over 80 is a giant. Few people ever find an antler scoring much over 80 inches unless it has a lot of stickers. Figure, the antler score times 2 plus about 18 inches is what the deer scored when he dropped them - roughly. That helps to define what big is.
  • Craig from IN asks:
    Friday is opening day of bow season. What advice to you have for this weekend since temperatures are going be nice and cool. Would you use and deer calls or rattling techniques. Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Craig, I may be too late getting you this information, but hunt near corn. It seems the deer are starting to really hit the corn. Good luck.
  • Darrell from MN asks:
    Mr Winke,will bucks start butting heads this early in the season. why i ask on openig morning of Minnesota's archery season(9-18-2010) i heard like two bucks sparing twice then i heard a short time later a bleat sound from the same area. also do you think someone should try rattleing this early in the season.
    Winke Responds:
    Darrell, They will definitely start sparring at this time in the season. Rarely will they fight as hard as they do in the rut when they are competing for breeding rights, but they will spar some at this time. You either heard that, or if fight was really aggressive sounding, it may have been another hunter in the woods trying to rattle in a buck. I would try to mimick sparring but not full blown hard rattling.
  • Jim from CT asks:
    The 2010 Conneticut archery season has just begun and I was wondering if it is too early in the season to use a grunt call or rattling to bring in a buck that is just out of range?
    Winke Responds:
    Jim, I think grunting and very light sparring (tickling the tines) will be fine. Heavy rattling might put deer on red alert since that is not something that takes place much at this time of the year. I would not be afraid to call to them. Typically, I like for them to be at least 100 yards away before calling or they tend to stand there looking and then stalk off. However, if you keep it as quiet as possible, you might be able to get away with calling when they are closer. Good luck.
  • Terry from MN asks:
    Your article and videos on tarket panic helped my shooting greatly. I am a first time bow hunter and your web site has been very informative for me. Can you provide help with when and when not to rattle and grunt? Keep up the good work. Terry
    Winke Responds:
    Terry, Thanks for the support and good luck bowhunting. I am sure you will love it. The best results for calling bucks comes during the rut. Calling makes sense from about October 25 until your firearms season comes in there in MN. In other states where the bow season lasts well into November, calling success is best early in the rut and then again around November 20. In the middle of November many bucks are tied up with does and aren't as likely to respond to the call.
  • JOSH from PA asks:
    Hi Bill, I have a couple of questions for you. I just read your book "Hunting Hard for Whitetails" and was wondering if you still subscribe to the "low impact" strategy of calling and rattling. Do you still think that calling/rattling too much educates deer? I also wanted to know what you thought of the Mission Eliminator bow. I am looking for a new bow and was going to get a Hoyt Turbohawk, but there are no dealers within 100 miles of me.
    Winke Responds:
    Josh, I still stick to the same thoughts on calling. Remember, when you call, the deer are coming in looking for something. They are very good at pinpointing the source of sounds. That means they are much more alert, focused, sneaky and locked on. They are more likely to circle or hang back and watch until they find you in the tree. In some situations I call, but generally, I save it for a shooter buck I see passing out of range. Then I can monitor his progress and know exactly where he is. He won't slip in on me unseen. I call in a lot of deer so I know it works. There is nothing wrong with Mission bows, but I do think you will like the TurboHawk. It is one of the best values on the market. You might call Hoyt to see if one of their dealers can ship it to you.
  • Rob from MI asks:
    First off, I love the show and look forward to it every week. My question was regarding calls. I don't believe I have ever seen you use them during your hunts, whether it be a grunt call, doe bleat, buck growl or even rattling. What is your opinion on calls and if you ever use any, do you prefer a particular type or brand? For rattling, do you prefer real antlers or rattle bags? Thanks for all the effort you put into producing this great show and I look forward to next season.
    Winke Responds:
    Rob, I use the grunt all the time and I make a snort-wheeze with my mouth. The grunt call I used last season was the Hardwood Grunter from Primos. I don't like to carry antlers so I usually don't rattle much. I believe rattling is over-rated. I have grunted in a ton of bucks over the years and the sound is much less intimidating. However, if you like to rattle, I think antlers are better, but I have been very impressed with the new device from Knight & Hale that comes in two pieces that your grind together. Loud and sounds real - easy to carry. Good luck.
  • Shane from WI asks:
    Hey Bill, Great show this year. Congrats on the nice buck you shot. I'am going hunting this weekend and was wondering what you thought about rattling this late in the season. As long I get a North wind the spot I'am hunting is a great rattling set up. I have shot twice nice bucks there the last two years by rattling them in. Is it worth trying to rattle or do think I would be doing more harm than good. Thanks and good luck hunting.
    Winke Responds:
    Shane, I don't think it is a great idea, but stranger things have happened. You can always give it a try. For the most part, the bucks I am seeing are not the least bit territorial now. They are feeding together just as comfortably as they did back in July and August. I can't see the rattling getting much attention, but you never know. You could catch the right buck in the right mood and have him come in to check it out - as much from curiosity as anything.
  • Al from MN asks:
    Bill, Love the show and the realism of not a big buck behind every tree. My question: I'm hunting the 2nd gun season in NE Iowa and I'm debating whether to rattle or not and or call much. Some people say try it and others say don't bother that late in the season. I've got a stand set in a thick overgrown pasture surrounded by plum thickets and cedar for the morning. I thought maybe a rattle or 2 might pay off-your thoughts. Thanks
    Winke Responds:
    Al, I don't think it can hurt you to rattle as long as you have the downwind side covered. In other words, if the deer can sneak in on the downwind side and see you or smell you before you can shoot them, calling is not the best strategy. It is pretty late in the season for bucks to fight, but I have seen them fighting as late as the first shotgun season several times and that is only a week earlier. So it worth a try. Good luck.
  • Keith from IL asks:
    You guys are the best! I've totally changed the way that I hunt since watching your shows and I've already shot two deer (one when my 6-year old brother was with me... now he always wants to go out with me)! Anyways, thanks for your tips and strategies. They helped alot! I have two quick questions for you. First, I've seen a ton of the pro staff guys using the "roar call" (I think that's what it's called)... is there something special about this call? Is it supposed to be really effective or something? Also, do you go out before it gets light or right after it gets light in the mornings and why? Thanks! Awesome website!
    Winke Responds:
    Keith, The Roar is just another type of grunt. I use it sometimes. It is louder than standard grunts and sounds different. It is kind of like turkey calls, sometimes a certain type of sound is all that's required to bring game in. A conventional grunt call works well most of the time. I still use both, but tend to carry the conventional call most of the time. I like to be set up in the tree right at legal shooting time. That way I can see where I am stepping when walking in but am still settled and ready as soon as the day's hunting arrives. Some guys will go in really early if they feel they might have to walk past a bedding area, for example, to be sure they don't bump any deer that get back to bed a little early.
  • Steve from IA asks:
    Bill,I have seen my target buck two times this year,both times just out of range, and called to him .Both times he has flagged and slipped off. My question is do bucks remember a call they have heard in the past and how would you go about getting a call shy deer in range.Thanks for the great shows. I am learning a lot from them .
    Winke Responds:
    Steve, I have hunted a few call shy bucks and as soon as I realized they were call shy, I stopped calling them and relied on being in the right place at the right time. In other words, keep hunting good stands in the area where the buck lives, but lay off the calling. Good luck.
  • paul from MN asks:
    I was wondering if you knew any way to call or attract a doe in during the rut
    Winke Responds:
    Paul, The fawn bleat will often work, but the hands down winner is the fawn distress call. It brings does running. It is a loud sound that grates on my nerves when I am sitting on a stand, but it does work. I am not sure whether it would work if she were being followed by a buck. That is something I have never tried. Let us know if you give it a try.
  • Austin from MI asks:
    When do u think is the best time to try and rattel. it is november now and the rut is just coming in so should i rattel in the morning or later at dusk.
    Winke Responds:
    Austin, I would definitely start rattling now. This is the best time. It will get harder to bring them in once the does are in full estrous in about a week.
  • Jay from MI asks:
    How do I know when to use my deer call? How often should I use it?
    Winke Responds:
    Jay, I don't think there is a perfect time or frequency. I don't call a lot, mostly to deer I have seen. However, it is a good idea to call shortly after legal shooting time in the morning and again about 30 minutes before quitting time because that is when the deer are most likely to be on their feet and easiest to call in. Good luck.
  • Fred from KY asks:
    When should I start rattling or using a grunt call ? also when is it a good time to put out scent ?
    Winke Responds:
    Fred, Now is the time for all those strategies. From now until the end of November. Good luck.
  • Aron from MN asks:
    I live in central Minnesota. My friend said ratting will only work in high buck to doe ratios. Is he right or should I rattle even though there are more does then bucks?
    Winke Responds:
    Aron, It definitely works better where the bucks have to compete for does, but it will work anywhere if you catch the right buck on the right day in the right mood. So it is definitely worth a try. I wouldn't make any calling strategy the foundation of my hunting. Success still comes back to having a decent stand and being able to get to and from that stand without alerting deer.
  • jake from AR asks:
    Bill, I have been following all of your epsidoes since the bigining of 2008.I am very inspired by what your doing and what you have accomplished. I have just recently purchased a new hs true talker. It has a well sounding grunt and a well sounds doe bleet. My question is which call to use in a rut and pre rut situation? Best of luck Jake.
    Winke Responds:
    Jake, I would use them both. I think mixing a little doe bleating into your calling is a good idea. If you are calling to bucks you can see, look for their reaction to the various calls. Some bucks trigger on one thing while others trigger on something else. A bit of variety is good. Good luck this fall.
  • David from IA asks:
    When's the right time to rattle? Is it too late? Also,I hunt on the edge of a field, When i get down during the evening, there's a good chance im gonna spook the deer out of the field, I hunt this stand very often it's the only stand I have. I dont want to chase the deer out of the area. What do you suggest.
    Winke Responds:
    David, It is not too late to rattle. In fact, it is just starting to come up on the time when rattling makes the most sense - before most of the does come into estrous. You are going to need more stands. There is no other way around it. I always suggest that people have at least two stand location for each consecutive day they plan to hunt. So if you only hunt two-day weekends, you should have a minimum of four stand locations. You need to spread your pressure around or you will soon find that the deer are completely avoiding your stand location. It is impossible to hunt the stand setup you describe for very long with alerting the deer, no matter how carefully you hunt it. At a very minimum you should plan to have someone scare the deer off the field (drive up to it) so you can climb down without spooking them.
  • calvin from OH asks:
    If i miss a buck with my bow and he trots out of range but is not really spooked what is the best way to try to bring him back in? should i grunt, hit the doe bleat or just sit tight and pray he comes back through?
    Winke Responds:
    Calvin, I wouldn't do anything because all you are going to do is give him a place to focus his attention when he already knows something is wrong. I would let hm calm down and then if he is still hanging around and acting natural after a few minutes try a light grunt. Otherwise, I would just let him go and hope to see him again another day.
  • Tim from MO asks:
    I hunt north central Missouri, my question is when is it too early to rattle?
    Winke Responds:
    Tim, As long as the bucks are out of velvet, they will be sparring, so light sparring (not full-blown rattling) may attract a curious buck. This is the time when they just mess around. Very few actual fights at this time so keep it light. Certainly can't hurt.
  • aaron from TN asks:
    how many times do you try a deer call and what time does a deer come out
    Winke Responds:
    Aaron, I only call to deer I have seen, but in general if you want to call blind, probably call every half hour. Deer generally move best during the first half hour of the day and last half hour of the day. But if they aren't bothered, they often move later into the morning and earlier in the afternoon. During the rut, bucks often move at all times of the day, but the early and late are still usually the best times.
  • jackson from AR asks:
    What do you think the best technique is for calling in a buck with a grunt call?
    Winke Responds:
    Jackson, I don't do anything too special. I just do a three grunt sequence separated by a few seconds each. Each grunt last probably a bit less than a second. I sometimes will try a more rapid set of shorter grunts to simulate the sound of a buck chasing a doe. But the simple stuff usually works just as well. I usually don't call blind. In other words, I usually only call to bucks I have seen. I don't like to have bucks sneaking in looking for me 15 minutes later. I move too much and those sneaky ones almost always see me before I see them. I like it best when I see them first and then call to them so I can gauge their response and their progress.
  • cameron from AB asks:
    Hi Bill, you have an awesome website!! Do you think deer rut patterns in alberta are the same as the midwest? and when is the best time of year to rattle for deer?
    Winke Responds:
    Cameron, Thanks for your support. I think the timing is pretty much the same from what I have seen. The best single day will likely be November 7 plus or minus a day or two, both for overall buck movement and for rattling success rates. Good luck.
  • curtis from OH asks:
    Bill, my question is about calling to deer. I live here in ohio, and have tried alot of calling over a few years. The only call that I have been successfull with is a fawn bleet. My father in law and I were hunting a piece of property quite aways apart from each other but within ear shot. It was last light and I decided to do a little rattling. It was mid november. When the hunt was over we met up and he told me he had a brute of a buck comming towards him and when I rattled the deer took a route away from us. I can't understand this because I have seen it work many times. Does it depend on the state you are in? Looking foward to your reply.
    Winke Responds:
    Curtis, Rattling success depends on a lot of things, including the mood of the particular buck. I don't do a lot of blind calling because I don't like having the deer come in looking for me 15 minutes after the fact. I generally call only to deer I have seen that are passing out of range. That way I can watch their reaction and learn from the experience, as well as watch their progress so they can't sneak up on me and catch me moving. Some people do a lot of blind calling and the bucks in that area will start to become call shy. That may be what happened there. That buck may have had a few encounters with hunters where he snuck in and caught them in the tree and realized that not all rattling is from deer. I would cut back to just calling to deer you have seen so you can learn more about what works and how the deer react. Also, I tend to grunt rather than rattle. Rattling is a pretty aggressive call and it not suit every buck to respond.
  • Ian from WI asks:
    BIll the New site is epic lol. Got another question obtained another property it is a cut wheat field with a big wood lot to the east and a thick line fence filled with oak trees loaded with acorns to the west. Past the line fence to the west is about a 150 yard wide by 400 yard long grass field with a pond and thicket and cattails deer are pouring out of it but out of the other side to a soybean field on public land with no hunting or access besides the farmers. My question is shud i grunt or even rattle sept 12 in the morning/or night on the back side of this bedding area to pull the buck with the droptine im hunting over of just keep quiet and wait to catch him durign the rut? I cant plant food plots or bait.
    Winke Responds:
    Ian, I like that adjective "the Epic Midwest Whitetail". Sort of like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, right? I may have to borrow that. Now to your question: What about a ground blind? Also, the patterns are likely to change dramatically when the bucks shed their velvet and start splitting up. I would not expect them to necessarily be doing the same thing in two weeks. The bigger question is whether grunting and rattling can work at that time. I think it can. I have seen a lot of sparring after velvet shedding and bucks are curious so they may come in to check it out. I would focus on light sparring and social type calling - nothing aggressive at this time. Good luck.
  • Pao Choua from MN asks:
    HEY, Bill! I like the "Hit List Bucks" so far. Looks like GREAT BIG bucks for you, Chad, and Colton. GOOD LUCK! I always come and check up on MW everyday to check up on new videos and blogs. It's my Favorite Deer hunting show! Well, my dad was refusing for me to buy him a rattle the other day, because he told me it doesn't really work, so I said to him, "I was like it should work since you don't really see the Big Bucks in the Woods when you go hunting and besides you don't have a Rattle." So that's what I told him. Well I don't know what do next. Should I still go and Buy my dad the Rattle? It's a simple question anyone could answer to but I thought since you are a Good Deer Hunter, I should ask someone like you. Well this is it, Good Luck this Season and I can't wait to stick around with Midwest Whitetail. Pao Choua.
    Winke Responds:
    Pao, I appreciate the support. I generally carry just a grunt call because I don't like to carry antlers, but I have seen situations where rattling worked where grunting didn't. One reason it works is because the rattling is louder than grunting so deer can hear it farther away, especially on windy days. It is just one more tool that sometimes works. I would buy it for him. Even if he only gets one buck over the next ten years with the rattling antlers than he would have gotten otherwise, it is worth it.
  • Roger from MI asks:
    Hey there Bill, how ya doing? This is just a friendly e-mail, to let you know that I really LOVE watching your web shows... I like to think I am one of your 1st viewing fans. Whenever I start thinking about the upcoming bow season I watch the shows online, I think I have actually watched each archery episode at least 3 times!!! I am very interested in the snort wheeze you did in episode 19 that drew that buck back into range , when he otherwise was gone!! Paying no attention the the grunt tube.... Is that somthing you only do when all else fails?? I have been actually practicing it..LOL.. But, I must have listened you do that at least 30 times.... Anyway, I really look forward to the upcoming shows ( especially the Michigan shows) And think I may need a Midwest Whitetail intervention!!! Wish I had a bunch of land to hunt with a lot of MONSTER BUCKS so I could have gotten involved in your Michigan pro team :( I really wish you luck against the broken beam buck this year.
    Winke Responds:
    Roger, Thanks for watching the shows. I am also very interested in seeing what happens with the broken beam buck. As far as I know, none of the neighbors shot him, but we also didn't find his antler - though with just one, the odds were cut in half. I have the field where I think he lives twice this summer, but nothing yet. The trail cameras in mid to late September will have to tell the tale on that guy. I have seen several (most) of the other bucks on last year's hit list again already. The only one I haven't seen yet, that I really want to see is the buck we called "The King". He should be a monster this year. Anyway, to your question: I don't use it much. I use it kind of like you said, as a last resort. I generally get them to come to the grunt, but I just don't think Stickers heard Mike's grunt call that's why I blasted the louded snort wheeze I could come up with. It may work as a first resort tactic too, but I just don't generally use it that way. Good luck.
  • Terry from MO asks:
    That was a great segment Mike Earp did on the buck grunt. I had never heard that before but I will try it this year for sure. Are all the deer in that picture his public land bucks? I never knew they grew that big down here. I guess you just have to know how to find them! Thanks for the tip Bill and keep up the good work on the show.
    Winke Responds:
    Terry, You're welcome. Thanks for the support. Yes, to my knowledge they were all shot in the Mark Twain. I think Mike works pretty hard it and has a system of hunting the best feeding areas. Part of his hunting this fall on the Missouri show will be in the Twain so I'll ask him to give some good tips without giving away the spots where he is sitting. It was a cool segment. I'm going to try that this fall too.
  • William Furrow from IN asks:
    i was wondering if you could have mike earp put up a clip of what the deep grunt sounds like. i really think it would be interesting to hear and it is always nice to learn new stuff. Thanks I love your site. keep up the good work. i really appreciate how you mention your faith in God it is very refreshing to hear you talk about it. God Bless you.
    Winke Responds:
    William, I found it hard to sit in a tree stand for 8 hours a day and see the stuff I get to see and not believe in a Creator. Certainly, this wonderous place was not somehow the result of dust being shaken around for X billion years. I just can't buy that. I have an engineering background and we studied a concept known as entropy. Left to itself, everything naturally tends toward disorder - not order. We even used entropy in our formulas to predict outcomes. But I digress. I have already asked Mike if he can do that for us, and he has agreed. So hopefully in the next week, or so, we will have a cool clip of him making the gnarly grunts that have been producing those big public land deer. Thanks for your support. Bill
  • Terry from MO asks:
    Hi Bill I just read the article by Mike Earp on the website. That is a great story and a tactic I am going to try this year. I have heard of Mike and his ability to find and kill big deer on public land. I am excited to watch him on your show so I can see how he does it. Would I be able to hunt with him sometime? All I can hunt is public so I really want to learn.
    Winke Responds:
    Terry, I understand that Mike is a dedicated and knowledgeable public land hunter. I look forward to having him on the show this year. Mike is a very nice guy and he might just grant you your wish, but I am certainly going to leave that one up to him. Good luck this fall. Should be a lot of fun.
  • Joe from IN asks:
    Mr. Winke I just found out about your website a few days ago. I love the videos. I watch them over and over. Can not waite for next year to get here. My question is when do you start calling deer? I try openning day, rut, late season and I can not seem to get deer to come in. Also what sounds do you try and make. I think I own most of the call out there today. I have even bought videos on how to. I have been bowhunting for over 30 years and have never called one in. I almost get a deer every year though. Just would like to hear your take on this.
    Winke Responds:
    Joe, Thanks for your support. I call in about 1/3 to 1/2 of all the bucks I shoot. It could be you are hunting in an area where the hunting pressure is higher and the bucks are more afraid of calls. I only grunt, though I did start rattling a few times last year for the camera. Generally, what I do is set up in places that I think are great ambush sites and if a deer is passing out of range, I call him. If the buck is by himself and wandering, he will generally come at least part of the way in and often all the way. If you watch Episode 19 you will see a buck I snort-wheezed in. The only reason I snort-wheezed is because the buck didn't seem to hear the grunt call my friend Mike was making. When he heard the S-N he turned and came right in. But that buck was just out wandering. He was cruising, not with a doe or headed someplace in particular. I think that is the key to success. If they have a destination or are with a doe, they are very hard to call. Also, many times the bucks don't hear me at first. I then call louder. In fact, I always choose my grunt calls based on how loud they call. I have been using the Primos Hardwood Grunter most recently. They may not even be hearing you. Give those ideas a try. Good luck. Bill
  • Whirlybird from TX asks:
    Hey Bill, wanted to congratulate you on the first season of Midwest Whitetail, I enjoyed every episode. I live in Tejas however I was raised in Wisconsin and I go back every year to bow hunt in Southwestern Wisconsin off the Wisconsin River. Any advice on what to do when you rattle/grunt in a mature buck and they hit the brakes and don't continue toward the stand. (i.e. looking around for what was making the noise) I have grunted before to try to get them to continue up the trail, should I have grunted? Most of the time I run into that situation, these jokers seem to circle downwind of me through thicker brush and out of my shooting lanes to check the noise out further. Should I not have grunted to see if he would continue on the trail? I take adequate precautions by scent elimination and stand placement, wanted to see if you have ever experienced this. Your help is appreciated. Keep up the great work.
    Winke Responds:
    Whirlybird, Cool name. I need one like that. Thanks for your support. I let the deer tell me what to do. When they lock up, I wait them out. I want them to be curious. When they get within about 70 yards, it seems like you do more harm than good by calling. However, if they turn to leave, a snort/wheeze or something along that order (or a grunt) is in order. If they are still trying to figure out what to do, I never break the tension. Make them decide first. Good luck.
  • Tim from AB asks:
    Hey there I would first like to say that your shows are awesome, I can't wait to see what's in store next year. The history behind the animals is amazing. I'm new to hunting and have a couple rookie questions for you. Are the vocals of a whitetail, and a muley the same? Can you use one type of call on both species? I know your mostly hunting whitetails but if your hunting mulies or whitetails in early september during the bow season do you put any scents around your stand or blind? I know during the rut in november scents can help, I'm just wondering about early in the hunting season. When hunting in september it's probably best to use doe, or fawn calls correct? Not grunts tubes or challenge weezes. The main species i'm targeting here is mulies. If you have any advice you could give me that would be great. Thanks alot, Tim
    Winke Responds:
    Tim, I appreciate the support. As far as I have seen, the vocalizations are the same between whitetails and mule deer. Mule deer aren't as aggressive as whitetails so they are a little tougher to call, but I do know guys who have successfully called them in by grunting and rattling. I don't use scents much. I am sure under the right conditions they would work, I have just never gotten into that part of the hunt too heavily. Just like I have never gotten into deocying heavily. Maybe I dig into both of them someday. For now, I don't feel it costs me much not taking the time or trouble to use these products. Soft grunts will still work even in September, but not nearly as well as they will in Oct and November. I am not sure that a buck will come to a doe or fawn call in September either. Maybe out of curiousity. I wouldn't expect too much response to any type of calling in September, but I would probably still use the grunt. Good luck.
  • Tessie Caulder-Baldwin from NC asks:
    Hey Bill...I just want to know if you ever use Primos calls and if so how effective are they?
    Winke Responds:
    Tessie, I used the Buck Roar and liked it a lot. It has a good sound when used the way it is intended. I also used their Hardwood Grunter and liked it because it is a grunt call you can blow pretty hard without changing the tone. I don't like to carry antlers so having a loud grunt call is a good thing because I need the extra volume to reach bucks that are passing out of range on windy days. Bill