Best Deer Calls

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

37 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
456 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best deer calls

Last Updated December 2019

Every hunter knows you can have the best deer stand in the world, wear all the right deer scents and camouflage clothes, and have the best scope on the best rifle, but if a deer doesn’t come by, none of that matters. Somebody else will get that trophy deer that should have been yours if you can’t find a way to get the deer to come to you.

Putting your blind near a deer trail certainly improves your odds, but why not improve the odds even more by using the best deer call you can get? A deer call uses the deer’s instincts against them, luring them in with various sounds. The right call for you depends on several factors, including whether you’re hunting doe or buck. (It’s not supposed to matter, but it often does.) The choice between a call made of wood, metal, or plastic is another conundrum you may find yourself caught in.

In this buying guide, we put our favorite deer calls in the crosshairs so you can zero in on the right product and enjoy your best season yet.

Beginning deer callers often call too much. Deer don’t call consistently or persistently. Try calling for 30 to 45 seconds at a time. Then, wait half an hour before calling again.

Key considerations

What you’re hunting

Doe and buck seasons are separate in some states. In others, they take place at the same time or overlap by a week or two. If you live in a state with separate doe and buck seasons, you’ll be hunting them one at a time. You don’t necessarily have to get a deer call for each one, but it’s not a bad idea.

Some deer calls sound better when you’re making fawn bleats or doe rutting bleats than when you’re making the deeper, more guttural sounds of rutting bucks. Other deer calls work better in the opposite direction. Many manufacturers tout their products as being able to call both does and bucks equally well, but that’s not always the case.

If you get two different deer calls, you can set each one to the best tone or grunt and leave it there without having to adjust it every time you use it.

Durability

Deer calls are only used for a few weeks out of the year. The rest of the time, they’re in a storage shed or a closet somewhere. You need a deer call that is rugged enough to last through your expeditions and stay intact while boxed in storage, too. Deer calls are cheap enough that you could probably buy a new one each year, but once you’ve found one you like, chances are you’d prefer to keep it.

EXPERT TIP

A deer call that is too soft or fuzzy sounding won’t be effective. The most effective deer calls are those that are loud and clear.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Material

The material a deer call is made from has a huge impact on its ability to make sounds as well as its durability.

Wood: Some hunters consider wood to be the all-around best material for a deer call. Wood can be oiled to keep it from drying and cracking. It resists freezing during cold weather, and with proper care, it can last for decades.

Metal: Deer calls made from metal are extremely rugged and durable, but freezing is definitely a problem with them. Putting your lips to an ice-cold deer call might not be your idea of fun.

Artificial: Artificial materials such as ABS plastic, rubber, and nylon are popular with deer call manufactures, but they are subject to weakening from the sun’s UV rays. They can also become stiff during cold weather. Repeated exposure to alternating high and low temperatures can result in them becoming brittle.

Instructions

No two deer call models are exactly the same. Make sure the deer call you get comes with complete instructions on how to use it to produce the correct sounds.

Some instructions come on a DVD, which you can conveniently watch and hear. If the deer call you like doesn’t come with instructions, you should rethink it unless you’re an experienced deer caller.

Condensation

Metal and plastic are prone to condensation. If those water drops get down inside the call, they can alter the way it sounds. Double-check the description to see what the manufacturer says about condensation forming on the deer call. If you don’t see anything about it, check the material it is made of. If it is made of metal or plastic but you still like it, get a small cloth bag to carry it in or something to dry it with.

Freezing

Deer season comes in the fall, when the temperatures start to drop. Many manufacturers tout their deer calls as being freeze-resistant. In those with moving parts such as slides, this is particularly important. Read the description closely to make sure the deer call isn’t going to freeze on you.

EXPERT TIP

Deer calls won’t be very effective when it’s windy. Deer will try to circle around to approach the sound from the downwind side, where they will smell you.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Carrying bag: IDOGEAR Molle Drawstring Pouch
This camouflage pouch from IDOGEAR has webbing loops to hang it from your belt and plenty of room inside to store your deer call and keep it dry until you need it.

Cleaning/drying cloth: Wills Co. Camo Microfiber Towel Cleaning ClothThis microfiber cleaning cloth from Wills Co. is perfect for drying off your deer call if it gets wet or cold. It’s camouflaged to fit in with the rest of your hunting gear.

Deer call prices

Inexpensive: The least-expensive deer calls cost $6 to $10. Deer calls in this range are functional, but some are a little on the rough side. You may experience problems with the call freezing in frigid weather.

Mid-range: For $10 to $30, you’ll find deer calls that work reliably and, with proper care, should last for many years. The sound quality is much better here.

Expensive: From $30 to $100 (and sometimes more), you can find some gravity activated “can” type of deer calls and electric deer calls.

EXPERT TIP

The best time of day to use a deer call is early in the morning, when there is little to no wind and the deer are moving from their feeding ground to where they bed down for the day.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • A “fawn bleat call” is good to use in doe season. It sounds like a fawn in trouble, and even if a doe has never had a fawn, her maternal instincts will drive her to respond.
  • During buck season, a “doe bleat call” will signal to every buck in the area that a doe is in heat and ready to mate.
  • A “buck grunt call” is also good to use in buck season. It’s a challenge call to other bucks in the area: “Come and take me, if you can!” Bucks can be very aggressive during rutting season and eager to prove themselves against other bucks.

Other products we considered

We like the Primos Hunting Big Bucks Bag Call for its simplicity. The bag, about seven to eight inches long, is filled with polished pieces of wood. Using it is easy; just shake it. When you shake the bag, the sticks, all cut to varying sizes and made from different types of wood, rattle against each other and sound like antlers clashing between two bucks. The sound will draw in other bucks looking to fight for a female.

We also like the Nationwide Scents Deer Hunting Cherry Grunt Call. It is a wooden deer call like your father and grandfather would have used. Inside are two reeds with an adjustable ring you can slide up or down to vary the pitch and type of call. It will generate sounds that mimic a breeding buck, estrus doe bleat, fawn bleat, regular doe bleat, and rutting buck grunt. It has an extra-long tube for realistic sounds, and the wooden mouthpiece never freezes.

A “doe bleat call” is one of the most outrageous sounds a piece of hunting equipment can make, but done properly, it will tell every deer in the neighborhood that there is a doe in heat looking for a mate.

FAQ

Q. Will deer calls always lure deer?
A.
Nothing is guaranteed, but using one could significantly improve your chances. Given the minimal cost, the purchase is well worth it.

Q. I’ve heard of a “snort wheeze” call. What is that?
A.
This is a final “let’s get ready to rumble” signal from one buck to another that sounds like a drawn-out hiss. It’s a very aggressive call and should only be used if you know there are mature bucks in the area. Otherwise, you might scare off any younger bucks.

Q. What does a “deer rattle” call do?
A.
It simulates the sound of antlers clashing when two bucks are fighting. Other bucks and does in the area will be drawn to it out of curiosity, to see who wins.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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