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Friday, June 14, 2024
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Talking The Talk

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There are a lot of people out there who apparently think that whitetail deer are simply cute little mutes wandering about the forest.  Well, although they aren’t the loudest of critters, they’re far from mutes.  The fact is, they have a pretty fair range of vocalizations from social grunts, a “hey how are ya” type of call, to a shrill wheeze, sounding the alarm of danger.  But, one call that’s been mighty important for deer hunters to learn, is the bleat.

The bleat is a three to four second burst of high pitched nasal sound, not at all unlike that of a hungry baby goat.  It’s purpose, is what makes it worth learning to replicate to a hunter; it’s the sound of a whitetail doe in estrous looking for a mate.  A randy old buck hears that sound and he’s liable to slip in close looking for love and unwittingly receive a dinner invitation from a lucky hunter.  As well, mature does will respond to the bleats as if to investigate who it is trying to seduce the local bucks.

There are lots of ways to reproduce the sound; one mostly forgotten to today’s modern hunters, yet still passed down amongst some of the Native Americans I know, is simply to suck vigorously on the back of your hand allowing air to make noise.  Once you learn what the sound actually sounds like, it’s not difficult to bend the hand sounds to imitate that of the bleat.  There are also dozens of commercially made calls cluttering the shelves at most sporting outlets.  All of them in the hands of a hunter willing to invest a minimum of practice, can recreate that love-struck sound competently enough.  The easiest of all of these retail offerings is a silly little can, manufactured by Primos Game Calls, called cleverly enough, “The Can.”  All you have to do is turn it over and the baffled air chamber inside reproduces a very nice bleating sound.  

Regardless of what tool or method you use to pretend to be lonely and willing doe, learn it and use it on stand this time of year in the whitetail woods.  It can turn the tide on an otherwise unproductive hunt.  In fact, I used doe bleats on a few recent hunts that ended quite well.  In the last week, some lucky first –time hunters have left here with full coolers and great memories thanks to that little sound.

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One of which was my adopted nephew, thirteen year old Hunter Geer.  Hunter had accompanied me to the woods twice before his successful morning hunt.  We were on a small tract of private land in the south end of our county and had a fun morning watching multiple deer at a distance.  Finally a very old doe’s curiosity got the better of her and she closed the distance enough for young Hunter to seal the deal.       

As always, if you have any comments, questions or just want to share your success from the woods, give me a shout out at [email protected].  God Bless and Good Hunting!


Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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