People hunt deer for all sorts of reasons, including to bump up the family meat supply, to get skins to sell or use in clothing, and because the communal hunt for the same prey binds hunting-buddies together, while giving them that little pinch of competition and that promise of bragging rights.
You can hunt deer any which way you like, but chances are you’re going to need some calls to get the job done.
Calls are all about making the prey animal either respond to you and do what you want it to do, or obey its instincts, whether that’s finding food, finding distressed young, finding a competitor to defeat for mating rights and territory, or finding a mate to get wild and crazy with. They’re all animal instincts, and they can all be used to lure the animal you want right into your cross-hairs.
Naturally, different calls do different things, and they do them in different ways.
So how do you choose from all the calls on the market? How do you know which ones are right for you?
Grab a beer and grease up your gun. We’ve found you the best calls for deer you can buy.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Best Calls For Deer - Comparison Table
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Best Calls For Deer - Reviews
Our choice for king of the deer calls is the Illusion Systems Extinguisher.
More than just the call, this claims to be a full deer-calling system, and while such claims are often highly-polished deer-dung, the Extinguisher system seems to deliver on its promises.
First of all, the call itself is highly versatile. Mostly focusing on Whitetail deer, you can replicate the sounds of a buck, a doe and a fawn – that’s the whole whitetail family unit at your command.
The reason you have access to such a wide range of sounds and vocalizations is something called a modislide system. That’s exactly what it sounds like – a new system specifically designed to allow you to easily slide up and down the range of vocalizations you can make, and it’s a thing which makes the Extinguisher particularly special. Like the slider on a steel guitar, the modislide gives you control of the pitch, the tone, and the sound you make with the Extinguisher, and puts control of the ‘conversation’ between you and the deer firmly in your hands and mouth.
Versatility in calling is sometimes the difference between a successful hunt and an unsuccessful one. The modislide system has met with enthusiastic take-up and strong recommendations from thousands of hunters. That means just one thing: lots of people are quickly able to use the modislide to do the business, and have successful deer hunts.
Many hunters are impressed with the realism of the sounds they can make with the Extinguisher too, with some calling it ‘a breakthrough in deer calling technology.’
If you’re going to put a breakthrough on the market of course, it’s possible some people won’t know what to make of it or how to use it out of the box.
Illusion Systems has you covered there too – the Extinguisher comes with a handy instructional DVD, showing you how to use the call to make the sounds you need and want when you’re out in the wild, so you can be an instinctive caller with the Extinguisher before you step outside your door.
Between the versatility of sounds given to you by the modislide and the light weight of the call itself, with the back-up of the tutorial DVD, the Extinguisher earns the right to call itself a system, and – which is more important – earns its top spot on our list, justified by the strongly positive feedback of those who are using it to call deer on a daily basis. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best deer feeder timers
Primos has been making Grunter calls for over thirty years, and its Hardwood Grunter is an absolute powerhouse call that proves it’s putting that experience to good use and putting ultra-reliable deer calls in the hands of hunters everywhere.
The point about hardwood is that it’s durable and resilient in a way most other calls can’t claim. Get your hands on a Grunter and you’ve got a long-term call in your hunting arsenal.
But does it work?
Of course it does, it’s a Primos Grunter. It wouldn’t still be on the market after thirty years if it didn’t give hunters the results they wanted.
The Hardwood Grunter’s adjustable reed assembly lets you make up to six sounds, from grunts to bleats, which, like the Extinguisher, means when you get out in the wild you have the versatility you need in a single call.
The hardwood construction also gives you a call that’s both loud and rich, meaning once you know what you’re doing with it, you’re likely to be calling deer from a distance with deep, throaty grunts.
The combination of the Hardwood Grunter’s versatility, its durability over years of hardcore deer hunting, its relatively light weight for a wooden call, and the research and refinement that’s gone into its reed assembly make the Hardwood Grunter a call that will do everything you need it to and more for years to come as part of your regular hunting kit. We have also reviewed the best deer protein feeders, so check them out as well.
As if to underline the company’s reputation, Primos takes the third spot on our list too, with its Big Bucks Bag Call.
As with the Grunter, it’s a call that lets you make multiple pitches, but the double meaning of the call’s name gives a clue as to its most important selling feature.
The Big Bucks call makes the sounds of the horns of two deer clashing, as if in a battle for territory.
It’s a sound that is particularly effective in drawing deer in, because it’s a combination of a prize fight and a general election. The sound of a fight brings the deer in, as if to find out both who’s fighting, and where the power lies once the ruckus dies down.
The Big Bucks call is made up of two ‘Power Tines,’ each of which has tone holes which allow the sound you make with them to carry over large distances. Carrying the Big Bucks call is the equivalent of shouting ‘Breaking News!’ across the terrain. The deer prick up their ears, and regularly come to see the story behind the headline of your call.
An extra benefit with the Big Bucks call is that as the tines are made of hard plastic, the call is 100% waterproof, meaning you can take it into territory where some other calls would fail you.
The camonet bag is resilient too, adding even more volume and distance to the call’s range.
The Big Bucks is a call that’s priced to make it a useful addition to every deer hunter’s kit, and designed to give you a headline sound to draw in deer from a long distance.
It took the combined effort of a team of top hunters with 28 years’ experience to design the Nationwide Scents All In One Cherry Grunt Call.
That means people with a lot of serious hunting under their belts have designed the Cherry All In One Grunt Call specifically to address the needs of their fellow deer hunters.
As with some of the top calls on our list, the Cherry All In One gives you the ability to produce sounds up and down the tone-range, from a rutting buck grunt and a young buck call, through a breeding buck, to an estrus doe bleat, a regular doe bleat and even a fawn bleat. That’s a lot of tones, allowing you to shape the ‘conversation’ of the hunt as you like – choosing one tone over another at a given moment will put a particular slant on the action, and determine the results you get. That means it still needs you to be a hunter, an instinctive predator in the field, but it gives you as many tools as you need to back your instincts and get the kills you want.
It’s easy to adjust the tones on the Cherry All In One, using a simple ring to change the tone.
Also, because Nationwide Scents knows that sometimes on a deer hunt, distance is key, the Cherry All In One comes with an extra long tube to carry your call far and wide when you need that extra volume.
All of that adds up to a reliable call that gives you flexibility, versatility and volume. In fact, the people at Nationwide Scents are so confident their call will give you dead deer whenever you use it, they sell it with a hassle-free satisfaction guarantee.
That means you’re covered either way – it absolutely should do what you want it to do, and it’s turned users into fans in every major deer-hunting region, but if for some reason you decide it’s not the call for you, you can return it and get your money back.
The Cass Creek CC983 electronic deer call is the only electronic call to make it onto our list, and it succeeds where others fail for a handful of reasons.
First of all, it fits all its reasons into the palm of your hand.
The CC983 has been specifically designed to fit in the palm of your hand for ease of use in the wild. It’s operated with just a thumb and has easy push buttons.
That means you can keep your eyes on the deer, assessing the calls you need from moment to moment like every good hunter, making the CC983 an electronic call that’s easier to use than most smartphones.
It’s a call that gives you five sound options: the Buck Grunt for communication and mating; the Snort/Wheeze, to mimic a dominant buck prior to a fight; the Tending Grunt buck call before mating; the Lost Fawn, a sound like a young deer separated from its mother; and the Rattling Antler sound of two bucks in combat, as featured in the Big Bucks call from Primos.
That’s a handful of realistic calls at a very finance-friendly price point.
The electronic nature of the call also means you get adjustable volume at the turn of a dial, which translates to better control and targeting of your call’s message to the deer of your choice.
An extra neat feature on the CC983 is an override function, which means you can change between sounds without necessarily waiting for the previous sound to finish playing.
That will give you not only moment-to-moment call options, but also a more realistic, organic sound in the wild, where noises rarely come alone.
And in case you’re worried about taking electronic kit into the wild, the body of the CC983 is patterned like tree bark, so the side visible to any deer is relatively camouflaged.
Delivering more call than you’d expect for the money, the CC983 makes it onto our list for simplicity of use, its neat override function and reports from hunters who say it works to get them the deer they want, time after time in the wild.
Best Calls For Deer - Buyers Guide
When going on a deer hunt, you’re going to need a call to get the deer within a safe shooting distance. But the variety of calls on the market means there are important questions to answer before you click the ‘buy’ button.
Miss Right, Or Miss Right-Now?
What’s your budget for calls? Do you want something that will cost you very little but see you only through one season? Or are you prepared to pay out for a call that’s sturdier and will last you years in the wild? Balance your investment questions – pay less, get a less robust call, get another next season, or pay more, and get a call that’ll still be helping you shoot deer ten years from now. There’s no wrong answer, only the answer that’s right for you.
Aluminum Foil Or Tupperware?
Similarly, you can choose between aluminum foil and Tupperware varieties of call – aluminum foil meaning ease of use, Tupperware meaning versatility of call. Which is more important to you, the ability to pick up a call and run off on a hunt with it immediately, or the ability, once you’re out on a hunt, to make the sounds of bucks, does, fawns and more, so as to be more certain of dealing with the real-time obstacles of a hunt and getting the deer you want?
Aluminum foil or Tupperware – make your choice, and buy the call that best suits you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a deer call?
Deer are not stupid animals – they spend their lives as prey to other creatures. If you’re not going to invest in a blind or some high-price high-tech equipment, chances are you won’t get anywhere close enough to shoot them before their instincts kick in and they flee from you.
Getting the right deer call means you can have a kind of ‘conversation’ with the deer, and use their instincts to your advantage, drawing them to where you need them to be so you can hunt them successfully.
What’s the most important thing to look for when buying a deer call?
That’ll be different for everyone, but ideally, look for a durable call that offers you versatility and accuracy of call, that will survive the rigors of your particular hunt – whether that means one that’s weatherproof, freezeproof, 100% waterproof or anything else that works for you and the terrain in which you’re hunting.
You want a call that will meet you on the ease-of-use and reliability-of-results spectrum. Any call can be easy to use – if it doesn’t also result in dead deer, all you’ve done is get uncomfortable for fun.
Similarly, any call can guarantee results – if you need three years of studying and practice before you can use it, it might as well guarantee that mountain mist is moonshine. Find the balance that works for you, and buy the call that most closely matches your point on the curve.