The 10 Best Deer Calls
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Avid hunters know that it takes more than just patience to score that 12-point buck. The appropriate deer call can make all the difference. The deer calls in this selection produce a variety of sounds intended to lure your prey closer to your hunting blind or position. They are designed to provide you with an easier shot by utilizing rattles, wheezes, and other enticing noises. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 28, 2020:
Whether perched in a deer stand or concealed by a hunting blind, a deer call can make a hunting trip a lot more successful. For our selections of the best deer calls we evaluated options for those hunting does or bucks, plus a few choices that cover all the bases, and even other animals.
Our top choice, the Illusion Extinguisher has a simple selector for fawns, does, and bucks so hunters can act fast without fumbling around and causing distraction. It's a reliable, all-purpose choice.
For hunters serious about scoring a mature buck with an impressive rack, we included the Quaker Boy Weezzy and the Flambeau Mad Rip Growl. Each one emits a snort-wheeze, challenging other nearby bucks to fight for mating rights.
Bucks looking for a fight can also be lured with the Illusion Black Rack or the Hunter Specialties Ruttin' Buck. Both mimic the sounds of two bucks already engaged in battle. While the Illusion Black Rack emits an extremely realistic sound, the antler-shaped choice can be unwieldy to pack. The Ruttin' Buck is still a good substitute and incredibly compact, as the sound is made with plain wooden rods.
For those hunters looking to incorporate modern technology into their wilderness forays, we've included the Icotec GC350 and the iHunt Ultimate. While some don't find the sounds coming out of a speaker realistic enough, many find them helpful, plus they have the added benefit of offering dozens of different animal calls, and not just deer.
How To Have A Great Hunt
Hunting deer is enjoyed by people of all ages, and is often an activity shared among many generations of the same family.
Deer hunting is an activity that dates back tens of thousands of years. For as long as human beings have made and used weapons and traps, we have been hunting deer for their meat, their skins, and -- primarily in the modern era -- for our own amusement as a pastime. In the United States, there are deer extant in all fifty states (with Hawaii's deer introduced in the 1950s and today considered to be an invasive species), with the white tailed deer being the most prodigious species in terms of population. West of the Rocky Mountains, mule deer and blacktail deer are more common than white tailed deer, but all North American species are relatively similar in size and habit.
Hunting deer is enjoyed by people of all ages, and is often an activity shared among many generations of the same family. In order to have a great deer hunt, the first thing a hunter must do -- regardless of his or her age, experience, and skill level -- is to ensure their hunt will be a safe one. That starts with a careful inspection and cleaning of the weapons that will be used during the hunt, whether your chosen armament is a shotgun loaded with buckshot, a 30.06 rifle, or a bow and arrow.
A good hunt also includes planning for the elements you will potentially face, bringing along proper clothing for layering too mitigate the effects of the heat or cold, and to stay dry in the event of rainfall. If you use a hunting blind, it's important to know how to set it up and, when possible, to deploy your blind many days before you intend to hunt deer so that the animals in the area can become familiar with the new structure in their midst.
Make sure you have sufficient food, water, and first aid gear when you head out for a hunt, and also be sure to share your planned location and the time of your outing with others, especially if you will be hunting alone. That way someone will know to look for you in the event of any emergency that complicates your return from the field. And as deer cannot differentiate between many colors, it's wise to wear clothing featuring bright orange blaze that a human can easily spot. You don't want to unwittingly find yourself in the line of fire of a fellow hunter who couldn't see you thanks to your excellent camouflage clothing and shelter.
It's important to obey the laws and regulations governing deer hunting, so take the time to get all proper licenses needed and read up on the geographical and chronological rules placed on hunting in your area. Some states have deer hunting seasons that last all year, with certain specific restrictions, while others have much shorter deer hunting seasons that tend to change from year to year based largely on deer population size and health.
And of course you can't have a successful deer hunt if you never see any deer, so help yourself by drawing your prey near using a deer call. With a bit of practice, any of the varied types of deer calls on the market can help you land that ten point buck or mature doe.
Grunt, Snort, And Wheeze Calls
If you want to attract both male and female deer with a call you begin using with minimal experience, then an electronic deer call with pre-recorded sounds is a fine choice. Alternatively, you can select the unique "can" style of deer call, which emits bleats that can emulate a doe's call during the rut (or mating season) and can help to attract bucks. These are certainly the easiest options available to the hunter, but they don't allow for the same degree of control a more experienced hunter will want from his or her calls.
When you choose a deer call that can be used to create various different types of calls, you increase your chances for a successful hunt during varied seasons.
A deer call that you operate by blowing into it can often create many different types of call, from the challenge wheeze that helps to summon a male looking for a fight to establish dominance, to a grunt or snort that can summon males to square off or can lead a curious female toward a hunter she has mistaken for a potential mate.
When you choose a deer call that can be used to create various different types of calls, you increase your chances for a successful hunt during varied seasons. (One call might be perfect for the mating season but next to useless another time of year, for example.) And by learning how to use your deer call well, you can quickly adapt your approach to the deer you spot or that you suspect might be lurking in the area. The more you study your quarry, and the better you learn to use your deer call, the better your chances of a successful deer hunting trip will be.
Rattling Deer Calls
Deer rattling is the use of antlers or artificial tools that recreate the acoustics of deer antlers clattering together during a contest between two bucks. Proper deer rattling convinces other bucks in the area that a fight for dominance is occurring and will attract them to the source of the sound, as they will be eager to try their own hand -- or rather antlers -- at a fight for mating rights.
Rattling requires practice prior to successful use, but when you buy a fabricated rattling system, you can rest assured that the durable high density plastic units will last for years, so you'll have time to keep improving your technique. One thing to note is that successful deer rattling is not necessarily the product of making loud noises, but of making sounds that seem organic to the deer that hear them. Not all contests between bucks are dramatic; some are more about probing and testing than out and out fighting.