Editor’s Note: Chris Kirby, the president of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, is a World Champion turkey caller and has been hunting deer and turkeys all his life. His father, Dick Kirby, founded Quaker Boy Calls, and he and Chris have hunted all over the nation with bows, rifles, pistols and muzzleloaders. Quaker Boy and Mossy Oak have partnered to create the Deer Thugs and Turkey Thugs brands of calls, and a portion of the sales from each one of these calls goes to help wounded warriors through the Hope For The Warriors Outdoor Adventures Program. According to Kirby, “Stalking deer is as much about what to say and when to say it as it is blowing the correct and an accurate call.”
The calls that a deer hunter uses are almost always situation-oriented. I like to really blow a grunt call loudly on very-windy days, or when I’m hunting in open hardwoods. For instance, if you’re sitting on your stand, and you draw in your mind a 100-yard circle all the way around your stand, that’s the effective range of most grunt calls.
We have a call named the Meat Hook grunt call that has a horn on the end of it. You can extend the range of the call out to 150 to 200 yards. If you’ve got a deer that’s passing by you at 150 yards, you can blow that Meat Hook call, reach out and touch that buck, stop him and possibly get him in to a distance where you can take him. One of the criticisms of a really-loud grunt call always has been, “Deer don’t grunt that loudly,” and this statement is absolutely true. However, you have to remember for any call to work, the deer has to hear the call. And, although the grunt call may sound loud to us, the volume of that call isn’t nearly as loud to the deer standing 150- to 200-yards away. Also, on a really windy day, the wind dampens (reduces) the volume of any call. If the buck is at 80 to 100 yards, and you blow the grunt call, he probably won’t hear it. However, using a louder grunt call on windy days, your chances are much better for the deer to hear the call.
I was hunting in north Missouri about 7-years ago during the muzzleloader season and could hear a buck chasing does. After awhile, the chasing stopped, and I spotted a buck coming out of an opening about 250-yards away. I started to grunt and bleat call to the deer, but he kept looking behind him for the doe he’d been chasing earlier. I could tell by his body posture that he couldn’t hear me calling to him. I got out my Meat Hook and blew it loudly. He whipped his head around, looked straight in my direction, and walked stiff-legged across a soybean field in an aggressive posture as if to tell the buck he’d heard to either walk off or get ready to fight. When the buck was at 50 yards, I squeezed the trigger on my muzzleloader, and that buck rode to camp with me in the back of my pickup truck. As mentioned earlier, certain calls are made and designed for specific hunting situations. So, no, I don’t use a really loud hunting call every time I go hunting. I only use it when I want to take a buck at a distance further away than a standard grunt call can be heard. On a still day with no wind, the Brawler can be heard up to about 100 yards, so I generally don’t blow it hard. But on windy, rainy, snowy days, or when there’s a lot of noise in the woods, that’s when you pull out that loud grunt call and start talking deer.