Tag out with a strategic grunt

6 expert tips for using a grunt tube to trick wary white-tailed deer


Tag out with a strategic grunt

Calls can be productive when you’re hunting white-tailed deer, and one of the best options is the grunt tube. With its deep guttural sounds, it can be used to both attract bucks and stop them in their tracks.

Here are six ways to make the most out of this versatile call.



When choosing a location to call from, the wind direction is key. Incoming bucks will be on the alert looking for other deer, and they’ll almost always circle around downwind. With that in mind, find an area that offers an adequate downwind shooting lane. When hunting with a partner, have the shooter set up 50 metres downwind from the caller.



Start calling by making two or three short grunts every 15 to 20 minutes, which serves to announce your presence. If any bucks are within earshot, the chances are good they’ll come to investigate. Stop calling once you know a deer is coming in, as you’ve already got his attention and he wants to find you. If the buck loses interest or starts to move away, however, call again. This time, make only one or two soft grunts, with the tube pointing away from the deer. That way, it will seem like you’re moving away from him.


During the rut, bucks will quickly trot along with their nose to the ground following the trail of a doe. They’ll generally be moving too fast for a good shooting opportunity, however, so you need to make them briefly stop. To do that, place your grunt tube in your mouth and raise your gun or bow. Then once the buck is in range and you have a clear shot, give the tube a quick toot. That will often make the buck freeze, giving you a chance at a stationary target. Just be quick, though, since the buck won’t stand still for long.


If you see a distant buck, but he’s not coming your way, try hailing him down with a single, two- or three-second-long grunt to get his attention. Often, that will bring the buck straight toward you. If he doesn’t come, try again, making your hail call louder and longer. Once the buck decides to head your way, stay quiet and don’t call unless he stops.


Here’s one final tip. If you’re hunting and the temperature drops below 0°C, you’ll quickly find that your grunt tube will freeze up. To avoid that, turn the call around and inhale through it instead to make grunts.