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Five Best Doe In Heat and Buck Calls for the Cheap Hunter...All Under $30

Updated on February 3, 2016

Finding the Best Deer Call Under $30

How do you choose between all the different deer call products on the market? We’ve had the opportunity to personally try out many of the products made by Cabela’s, Primos and other top hunting equipment manufacturers.

Finding the best deer call on a budget can be a challenge, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Read on for a detailed breakdown of the best calls on the market.

My Top Pick for All Around Effectiveness!

Illusion Extinguisher Deer Call with DVD Instructional (Black)
Illusion Extinguisher Deer Call with DVD Instructional (Black)

Seasoned hunters call this the most effective and realistic call for making the sounds of all deer--buck, doe, and fawns.

The instructional DVD will help novices and pros to better their deer calling skills.

 

What is a Deer Call?

"Deer call" is a generic term used to describe a wide range of hunting tools designed to attract and lure deer. Deer calls vary in the types of sounds they put out, and what types of deer they're designed to attract.

Some calls might make the distress sound of a fawn to lure nearby does, while others may imitate the challenge grunt of a mature buck or the bleat of a doe in heat in order to attract aggressive bucks during the rut.

There are also many different types of deer calls—in their most simple (and least expensive) format, calls are little more than a plastic or wooden tube with some sort of reed on the inside. When a hunter blows air into the tube, the reed vibrates and produces a tone.

How to Properly Use that Darn Call

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So What is the Absolute Best Deer Call?

There are many different types of deer calls, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lets quickly examine the pros and cons of each one.

Grunt calls:

Designed to imitate the grunting sounds of a buck, these tubes can be used effectively throughout the season.

Roar calls, a special subset of grunt calls, are great for generating some serious volume during the rut and speaking to bucks at a distance. Grunt calls are a great starter option for hunters new to the world of deer calling, as they are simple to use and versatile enough to be effective the entire season. But because of their reliance on a vibrating reed to generate sound, grunt calls can sometimes freeze up and malfunction in colder weather.

Bleat calls:

Bleat calls (also known as "estrus calls") imitate the bleats of a doe in heat, a noise sure to get any nearby red-blooded buck interested. As you might guess, that limits their effectiveness to the rut period—blow a bleat call out of season, and you'll only spook the bucks. But during the rut, you can expect great results.

Another type of bleat call is the fawn bleat, designed to imitate the distress call of a fawn. These can be used to attract does throughout the season, but be prepared for the possibility of predators showing up as well. Like grunt calls, these reeded tubes have a tendency to freeze up in cold weather.

Cans:

A newer introduction to the market is deer call cans, first popularized by Primos. These nifty tools make it even easier to start calling—simply flip the can upside down and it'll put out a loud bleat. The vast majority of cans are designed to produce doe or fawn bleats, so if you want to do grunting, you'll have to buy a separate grunt call. Cans can also malfunction in wet or humid weather—once moisture gets inside, it's a pain to dry them out. But for cold weather hunters, or hunters who just aren't confident in their musical talent, cans are a solid option.

Electronic calls:

Perfect for the hunting geek, with a wide range of different calls in a single gadget. Press a button, and a pitch-perfect bleat (or grunt, roar, rattle...etc) will come blasting out of the speaker. If you're willing to shell out a bit more money ($30-50) for an electronic call system, you'll be prepared for every phase of the hunting season. Hunting in wet conditions is a no-no, as moisture can easily short out the entire system. If you'd prefer to avoid that risk, there are also a number of all-in-one reeded tubes on the market, with much of the same functionality.

Rattling calls:

For those hunters wanting to keep it simple, you can't go wrong with rattles. These calls come in a few different forms, though rattling antlers (constructed out of durable plastic) are the most popular. Rattle the pair of antlers against each other to imitate the sound of two bucks sparring. During the rut, testosterone-addled bucks will be attracted by the noise. It can be difficult to generate much volume with these, unless you're in ideal (non-windy/rainy) conditions, so the effective range is much more limited compared to a typical tube call. But for the experienced deer caller, these can be a great tool to add to your bag of tricks.

Top 5 Deer Calls In My Personal Opinion

You really can't go wrong with any one of these calls. All are also a great buy for the budget-minded hunter looking to keep it under $30.

Primos Buck Roar Call

This is one of the more popular and affordable grunt calls out there. The way grunt calls work is a wooden or plastic reed on the inside of the tube vibrates when you blow air through it - the reeds on lower-quality grunt tubes are prone to breaking if you blow too hard. That is not the case here - the Primos buck roar call is made of a durable mix of rubber and plastic, and will not break no matter how hard you blow.

This tube can put out some serious volume, and you should have no problem at all reaching bucks who are within earshot. Your best bet is to use this call during the rut phase, when bucks full of testosterone will respond to any challenge.

It's less suitable for the pre or post-rut, and shouldn't be used for "greeting" grunts—the sound it puts out is simply too harsh and aggressive. The lack of versatility means that this is best used as a supplementary tool, rather than an all-in-one call.

Another disadvantage to this call is that the reed doesn't function very well in cold temperatures, though that's the case for grunt tubes in general. When it starts getting in the 30s and below, you'll want to switch to non-reeded tube or a can. But overall, we highly recommend this deer call. Many hunters swear by it, and use nothing else. And at the $10-15 price point, it's a very solid buy.

Extinguisher Deer Call

If you're looking for more versatility, and don't mind moving up to a higher price point, the Extinguisher Deer Call is a great option. This tube comes with a slider that allows you to change the positioning of the reed, giving you three options in one—buck, doe, and fawn calls. This tube makes it quick and effortless to change tones, unlike most other "all-in-one" style calls. If you buy it on Amazon, the Extinguisher call comes with an instructional DVD with information on how to use it.

Primos "The Original Can"

Cold weather can cause call tubes to work poorly, so you may want to switch to a can such as this. Lack of a reed means this Primos bleat can be reliably used in temperatures in the 30s and below. This is a doe in heat or estrus bleat, so don't expect to have much success using this early or late in the season. But if you use it during the rut, you can expect some great results.

I'm a big fan of this can. Realistic-sounding estrus bleats can be somewhat difficult to master on a bleat tube, but this can takes all the guesswork out of the equation. Just flip it upside down, and it'll do the rest.

One regrettable downside to this Primos can, and to cans in general, is that they don't perform well in rainy or humid weather. Moisture will get inside the can and prevent it from working properly, and if you don't make sure it dries out all the way afterwards, you may end up with a broken can. I am not a wet weather hunter, so this is no problem for me.

The rubberized rims also have a history of detaching and falling off from the body of the can. Nothing a little gorilla glue can't fix, but more durability would be a plus. Still, at less than $10, this can is a great buy and is especially recommended for cold weather hunting.

Flextone Buck Commander Rut Hunter Deer Call

Flextone has a reputation for making great deer calls, and the Buck Commander is not an exception. This all-in-one call excels at making aggressive sounds, perfect for the rut. You can put out some serious volume on buck growls and buck grunts, and by pressing down the "D" button on the tube, realistic (and loud) doe estrus bleats will be emitted.

The tube is constructed of a durable rubber that is still malleable enough to allow for squeezing and manipulation for different tones. The cons—not many! During cold weather the "D" button can sometimes become difficult to press down, which ends up restricting you to buck sounds.

You'll have to keep the tube warm if you want to put out any doe bleats while temperatures are in the 30s or below. Other than that, this call has no real flaws and is a great buy for hunters looking for an affordable all-in-one call.

Knight & Hale Pack Rack

The one rattling call that makes the list, the Knight & Hale Pack Rack is a simple, effective, and compact rattler. This small call is crafted out of a high-density plastic that provides great resonance and volume.

This is how it works: stick the ball protrusions of one piece between the ridges on the other piece (like so), then twist the two pieces in opposite directions to make antler-clashing sounds.

For an added touch of realism, start out by smashing the two pieces together once to imitate the initial collision of the bucks, before proceeding into the twisting. When twisting, make sure your motion is erratic, with reasonable pauses - a steady, rhythmic call will sound unnatural. Remember—you're not making music. You're calling deer.

Primos "The Original" Can...Simple and Effective!

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A Final Word

In the end, all of us hunters want our hunting gear to perform as promised and bring home the venison. My hope is that this information will take the guesswork out of your deer call buying and you will ultimately be happy with your purchase.


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