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Musky Buck

Calls Decoys Gadget's

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Had to be done with the baiting, so just wondering about your success rates using things on the market and when they seem to work best. Do you ever feel these scents or whatever may hamper your luck ? I tried a drip bag for 2 years and as soon as I hung it the deer avoided it like the black plague and my T-cam supported that even after dark, put it out 2 weeks before rifle opener with no bucks recorded and just a chance doe and fawn sneaking by. Why is that ? I had plenty of bucks in the area ?

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Same results as you Musky, I use to make a lot of mock scrapes and nothing every showed up. I gave up and I tried to stay as scent free as possible. I also avoid my buck stand locations until its time to hunt them hard. I use to try every doe in heat scent on the market, had a few little guys show up but the big bucks know the difference.

Tried rattling for years and again had only the young guys come in, I could see if working if there are a lot of bucks in the area and you get the timing right but overall I'm not a big fan of it, especially on public land because everyone is out there trying everything they can to get a buck to come in. I would like to try using decoy some day because the combinatino of calling, decoy, and scent seems like a winner to me but those decoys can be expensive and I'd prefer to spend my $$$$ on stands and scent killer for now.

I will however admit that I don't think I could live without my True Talker grunt call, I have had plently of luck grunting in all different ages of bucks. Most of the time I use it to pull a buck in that could be out of range but I have had some luck blind calling too. I've never had much luck with the doe calls but I keep them around just in case. Too many times you see calling on TV and I really wonder if most of it is edited in because we all know it doesn't work that well.

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Thanks Bear, I have had about the same luck, however, I don't bow hunt, if I did I would try more items just to see if the deer would respond. Have an uncle who has had good luck with scent on cotton balls, however it's usually inferior bucks like you stated and I copied his recipe to a T and 5 miles away had zero success in similar cover. Nowaday I wish I had every dollar back from failed food plots to scents and calls etc. I typically only try them as an experiment after harvesting a deer, the deer I see usually don't respond to calling etc. You watch enough shows and think that must be the bomb but if I had a few thousand private acres to hunt and a week to do it I'd maybe have better luck than sharing deer trails with dozens of other box stands in our swamp.

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First of all, I am commenting specific to bowhunting in Iowa during October and November, on private land. I've tried about every gadget on the market in the last 25-30 years, and I now carry 3 things with me every time out. These are listed in order of importance to me.

1) Grunt call that can make deep and popping tending grunts. A couple on the wall at home that wouldn't be there without it.

2) Rattling bag. Would prefer to have a real set, and sometimes do take one along, but the bag is a nice substitute that can be with me at all times. Depending on the time of year, I may just tickle it lightly or hammer away as loud as I can.

3) "The Can". Have had mixed results with this, and it gets used sparingly. Better success calling in does with it to fill antlerless tags, but have occasionally had a buck respond. Have also had deer of all persuasions take off and run after tipping the thing over.

These are the 3 that go with me every time out...not to suggest they get used each time out, but they're along as an option. I'd say I use the grunt tube at least 80% of the time and rattling bag more than half. At the right time of the year (early November here) I will also use a decoy, but it's a bit of a pain to get in and out, so only gets used when the wind and rut are perfect. I have tried scents in the past, and agree totally with the idea of staying scent free instead. Good thread...I'll be interested in hearing others' experiences.

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Right on NWBuck, great information, thanks. Used to have just 2 days of rifle hunting or 4 in MN in zone 4A/4B then multi zone buck tags came along and then the all season license now the 9 day rifle season is here. I used to worry about messing with things when I only had a 2 day gun season, now with 9 I'd like to try some items. I'm with ya on as scent free as possible NW, I generally go into grandpa's dairy barn for a half hour or so since the deer are familiar with that odor. And NW, that popping grunt tube sounds like a good one, the first buck I ever had come by was doing that in 1983 and I thought it was something else and didn't even bother to reposition in my stand before he busted me as a 13 year old, my dad sitting with me of course since you couldn't hunt alone until you were 15 didn't even bat an eye, said he's heard plenty of grunting but not that kind, lesson learned.

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I have shot my two largest MN deer on public land reacting to these "calls, decoys, and gadgets". There are a reason that they are on the market. While they may only work at certain times of the year, in certain types of situations, and on deer in a certain mood, they do work when you know when to use them. If you can get in a mature deers' bedroom during the rut, these tools can be very effective. The problem is that most people don't recognize these things as specialized tools, but rather as shortcuts to everything else that matters in being a successful hunter.

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Quote:
1) Grunt call that can make deep and popping tending grunts. A couple on the wall at home that wouldn't be there without it.

2) Rattling bag. Would prefer to have a real set, and sometimes do take one along, but the bag is a nice substitute that can be with me at all times. Depending on the time of year, I may just tickle it lightly or hammer away as loud as I can.

3) "The Can". Have had mixed results with this, and it gets used sparingly. Better success calling in does with it to fill antlerless tags, but have occasionally had a buck respond. Have also had deer of all persuasions take off and run after tipping the thing over.

I carry the same three things with me starting the end of October, and they are effective at different times. I have rattled in numerous bucks, as well as called in my fair share with the grunt call. The can helped me get two bucks that were behind a tree line to come running at me. There is a time and place for these things, and if used correctly at the right times can be VERY effective.

I don't carry the calls for early season as they are not effective and I don't want any deer to even know that I have been there, let alone hear me until the time is right. I don't want to be tempted to use them. When I first started out I called early season and I am 100% positive that it was ineffective if not detrimental, which is why I won't carry them with me.

P.S. It sounds like some experienced guys are all saying the same thing. Now when and how to use the calls and they can be effective. Best way is to research, watch videos, and listen to people with experience.

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The problem is that most people don't recognize these things as specialized tools, but rather as shortcuts to everything else that matters in being a successful hunter.

Very good point InTheNorthwoods, far too often guys pound on the antlers and blow calls all day long or at the wrong time of year, you might as well shoot a flare up so the mature bucks know where you are. By the time these public land bucks are mature they have probably heard, seen, and smelled just about every gadget/scent out there so they know better than to come charging in most of the time. Like you said, they can and do work under certain conditions.

Most of my time and success is spent hunting long hours at funnels and doe bedding areas during the rut just waiting for a buck to make an appearance, calling won't work most of the time because the bucks I am waiting for are out of calling range or potentially miles away. However if I had a bucks bedroom pinned down my tatics would change and that would include some of the gadgets we have talked about.

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Hey 96, good info. I've actually had a little success grunting in bucks in the early season. I usually don't call unless I have a buck in view but out of range. I also keep the grunting pretty soft and to a minimum, they alwasy seem to respond or at least meander over in my direction to check things out.

I have also had bucks under my stand do a little light sparring early season, not shooters but very fun to watch. I've tried tickling the rattle bag very lighly in early season and never got a responce but I've sure in certain situations it could be very effective.

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I've also heard contact grunts and light sparring in the early season, but not the kind of grunts and rattling that gets them doing the b-line on the string right to the call. I don't want to say that they can't work, because actually, anything could work, its just not as successful.

Deer are generally curious creatures, they will investigate with caution, and at the first sign of danger, they are gone. When the time is right, they will investigate much less cautiously.

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My experience with "gadgets" is about the same as most here. Limited. My $.02 is that these are tools to use, but not quick fixes. I found that scouting is number 1 - you have to be where the deer are/want to be. 2 - Scent/movement control - You gotta stay hidden from sight/sound/smell. 3 - Gadgets - have a few to lure in deer that out of range, or use as an attractant to unseen deer. However, IMO if 1 and 2 aren't followed, 3 makes no sense and if 1 and 3 are followed the importance of 3 is minimal. That said, I do carry a grunt call and doe bleet, I do minimal rattling during the pre-rut with real antlers and usually put out some sort of doe urine during the rut.

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