Timing the Buck Growl

By Chris Berens, D&DH Intern
Aggressive Rut Behavior
Mature whitetail bucks can be frustratingly elusive because of their stealth and unpredictability during much of the hunting season. Fortunately during the rut, many bucks slip out of that mold and shift to a bold and boisterous attitude. They will even announce their presence with a variety of vocalizations.

The growl is one of the most aggressive vocalizations in a whitetail buck’s repertoire, and is not witnessed as often as the more common grunts used throughout a buck’s social life. A buck will growl if it is near a doe coming into, or is in, estrus and he is completely fired up and excited. A fairly equal buck-to-doe ratio with plenty of competing bucks can really add fuel to the fire in this scenario.

A buck growl is made when the grunting becomes so close together and extremely intense that it will come out as one drawn-out growl or roar. It is a very guttural and threatening noise that will alert any buck within earshot to the mood of its originator. The sound of an agitated farm cow might be the most similar sound that it could be compared to. 

The two-week period before and after the peak of the rut is the most likely time that a buck might elicit the growl. This can be especially true before and after a cold front moves through, and during the first and last two hours of the day, all times when deer are up and moving the most. Bucks that hear the call will often come to investigate the situation, expecting to find a receptive doe in the area. Some might charge in looking for a fight, but more often will sneak downwind to try and get a read on the situation before going in for a closer look.

For more insight on using a growl call during the prime periods of the rut in your hunting area, check out the Deer & Deer Hunting Rut Predictions Kit.

4 thoughts on “Timing the Buck Growl

  1. Chris

    The first day I tried using the growl, one of the biggest bucks I’ve had in bow range came in. Never quite got a shot because of the brush, but he came in from a couple hundreds away and came in running.

  2. Randy

    First time I ever used the "growl" call, I called in and shot a great buck. He came in running! Havent had a buck come to it since. Guess it was just good timing the first time.

  3. Jack Sadler

    The first, and only time, that I heard a growl , I thought it was a bear. It was a clear, quiet day, and he must have been close to have been so loud, but I never saw him.

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