Deer hunting in late November can be one of the most productive times of the year, but it can also be frustrating if you don’t know which calling techniques to use. In this guide, we’ll discuss the strategies that work best for calling deer in late November and how you should implement them on your next deer hunt in 2021.
Late November deer hunting tactics differ from those used during other times of the hunting season. The days get shorter and the first cold fronts start to blow through. The rut may be on its way out, but deer often still respond to soft calling when nothing else works.
Here are some deer calling tips you should try when hunting in late November and you’re getting a lot of activity on your game cameras.
1) Don’t Overcall
The most common method of calling deer in late November is to mimic the many vocalizations they use to communicate with each other. Many hunters are often surprised to find out that deer are extremely vocal creatures.
Even though we seldom hear them, whitetail vocalizations are soft and subtle. Even so, deer have a wide range of calls which all have different meanings. Being able to call whitetails with success is all about being able to read deer and make the right calls at the right time.
Like most calling techniques for other game animals, the key is to err on the side of caution. Over calling is the biggest mistake novice deer hunters make in late November. Calling during this time of year should be soft and sparse.
Deer calls should be used only enough to get a deer’s attention. Constantly calling and being too vocal is more likely to spook deer than have a positive response. In late November, try soft grunts spaced 10 to 15 minutes apart for the best results.
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2) Pick the Right Calling Technique for the Season
Calling strategies for hunting the first week of November can be drastically different than late November. Deer vocalizations have a certain seasonality to them that can only be recognized and perfected with time in the field.
While some calls work best for much of the hunting season, many only become viable during short periods during a deer’s behavior cycle. For a hunter to truly understand which calling strategies work, they have to be knowledgeable about deer biology in general.
Fawn calls work best in early season, but can also attract does well into November. If you’re either-sex hunting, imitating a lost fawn by creating distress bleats is a good tactic to try. Does have incredibly strong maternal instinct, and the sound of a lost fawn can be effective late in the day when deer are most active.
The fawn distress call is a louder tone but at a more excited pace. This is probably the only time where being more aggressive with calling is better. Does usually come running, so it’s important to be ready for the shot. Late November can be a good time to try a fawn distress bleat when nothing else will work.
3) The Tending Call Works Best in Late November
Mastering the techniques for calling rutting bucks usually lends the best results due to their aggressive behavior during this period. The rut, on average in the U.S., occurs around November 13 and can extend into late November.
One of the most common and effective rut calls is the tending grunt. Bucks make this sound as they are following hot does. It consists of several short grunts in quick succession. The grunts are often deep in tone.
For bucks that are approaching hot does or simply smell them from a distance, they are often a lot more quiet. Their grunts are also shorter. The number of grunts and cadence can vary depending on the intensity of the situation and deer involved.
Rutting bucks hot on the trail of does in heat have been known to grunt softly with every breath. Imitating them during this scenario conveys another buck is in the area chasing does in heat. This is a good tactic to use in late November to get mature bucks out of thick cover and into the open for a shot.
4) Use the Snort-Wheeze
One of the lessor known sounds that deer make is the snort-wheeze. This call is extremely effective during late November and it’s made when two mature bucks encounter each other. The snort-wheeze is used with a combination of body language signals as bucks try and size each other up.
The lesser of the two bucks will often back down before a snort-wheeze is issued, but this isn’t always the case. If a subordinate buck refuses to back down, and this can happen when a hot doe is nearby, the mature buck may issue a snort-wheeze to let the younger buck he’s gone too far.
The snort-wheeze is similar to a deer snort or blow, but it’s preceded by three short blows. To perform the snort-wheeze, say the words “dut, dut, dut, daaaaah” loudly into cupped hands. If you see a mature buck hanging tight to a group of does, try the snort-wheeze. He may think a challenger is nearby.
When a buck responds positively to a snort wheeze, they are usually coming in hot and heavy. A good single pin bow sight and predetermined yardage markers can help you quickly get a shot off without much wasted moment.
5) Utilize Group Calling Techniques
If you’ve ever rattled in a buck, you know that once they appear out of thick brush, the window for a shot is very short. Group calling strategies help focus the deer’s attention on where the calling or rattling is coming from, while the shooter can take careful aim.
The best strategy for calling deer in late November is to use multiple people and perform the calling and rattling up wind of where the hunter is placed. Bucks like to circle downwind to use their sense of smell to alert them to unseen dangers before they expose themselves from the brush. Placing the shooter in an elevated position such as a tree stand is the best way to get difficult shots in the brush.
It’s important to use realistic sounding antlers (sheds work best) and calls to get deer to respond the best. Many of the store bought tube deer calls come with amplifying tubes that can help project sound over greater distance and give deeper tones. This often makes the call too loud and could hurt your chances of success. Taking the amplifying tube out can better help simulate what a real deer call should sound like.
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6) Rattling Antlers While Calling Can Be Very Effective
Does rattling work in late season? YES! November and December are great times to try rattling when nothing else will work. Deer generally approach the sound of rattling by circling wide to the downwind side. This is especially true in thick cover, as bucks will use sight, smell, and hearing to pinpoint the location of the rattling.
One way to help prevent mature bucks from slipping in unannounced is to use group calling strategies. One hunter sets up some distance upwind while the other does the rattling from behind cover. When the buck circles around, he will be fixated on where the rattling is coming from and pay little attention to the shooter.
Rattling works best during the pre-rut and rut in early to late November, but can start as late as January in some places. This is the natural time when the most sparring is conducted. Rattling outside of November can be hit or miss, as the rut has long since past and the does have all been bred.
While it’s not necessary, you can add more realism to your rattling sequences by raking antlers on bushes and stomping your feet to simulate two mature bucks battling it out.
7) Don’t Get Discouraged
Developing a solid deer calling routine that works in late November is built around experience and personal preference. Rutting activity and deer movement can happen at any time of the day, so it’s usually best to call every 15 to 30 minutes to increase the chance you get the attention of deer passing by just out of sight.
It’s important to not get discouraged. If deer are nearby, a strategy of less calling is all that is needed. You basically want to let them know where you are with a few soft grunts, and judge their reaction. If they head your way, a few more directional grunts may be all you need. It’s almost always better to not call when a buck is headed your way though.
Trying as many different styles of calls is something that can’t hurt when nothing else seems to work. The breeding brawl call is one such note that can get a buck’s attention late in November. Does make this call when they are ready to breed, but can’t find any suitable mates.
The breeding brawl call starts out with a low grunt, rises in pitch, and drops down again at the end. It’s higher pitched than a buck grunt and works best during the chasing phase of the rut. Trying different calling techniques when nothing seems to work, can help keep you from getting discourage during late season. With a little luck, you may even bring a monster buck within range.
Pro Tip: Weather changes can often cause deer to switch up their routine. Don’t let bad weather deter you from giving it a try. Use these tips for hunting in extreme weather.
Calling deer in late November is a strategy that is utilized every year with great success. But in order for it to be effective, you have to be able to read deer behavior and adjust accordingly. Even the best calling routine doesn’t work half the time, but if you pay attention to subtle clues, you’ll be able to tune your routine into something that deer can’t resist.
The most important tip for calling deer in late November is to not over call. You’re not operating a turkey call, so don’t treat it like one. Soft and spaced out grunts work best for casual calling when no deer are in sight. It’s best to space these at 10 or 15 minute intervals just in case a buck is passing by out of sight.
If you’re doe hunting, using a fawn in distress call can work early in the morning or late in the evening when deer are most active. Does will think that a fawn is caught up in brush or being carried away by a coyote and come to investigate. Knowing what scenarios are likely playing out for any given season will help you narrow down the calling strategies you should be using that sound natural for the time of year.
The tending call and snort-wheeze are two calls that work in late November when bucks are on hot does. The tending call is a series of low grunts used by bucks as they are chasing does. It’s a sound they almost make under their breath. The snort-wheeze is an aggressive and loud call that a mature buck will issue to a subordinate buck as a last alternative.
Utilizing group calling strategies by placing the caller or rattler upwind of the shooter is an effective technique as bucks like to circle downwind as they approach a fight. This also prevents the buck from looking directly at the shooter when he breaks the brush line. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. Try as many techniques as possible and find something that works.
Calling deer in late November can be challenging, but with these tips you will have several tricks in your bag that may just work when nothing else will.
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