Fawn Bleat in the Early Season...

J. Ansley

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Many hunters have debated over the use of fawn bleats as a way of calling deer. Some argue that it spooks the deer and ruins future hunts, while others make the point that it works remarkably well. Fawn bleats are used with the intention of calling does directly to the hunter.

. This past weekend was the opening of archery season in the lower portions of Georgia. This is the time to use fawn bleats-just before the rut. My boyfriend and I were in a local sporting goods store and saw a Knight & Hale's E-Z fawn bleat on the shelf. We had seen television commercials for fawn bleats and witnessed how does come running to the sound of a fawn in danger. We bought it and went home to prepare for our hunting trip that afternoon.

We chose a lock on stand about 10 feet up in an oak tree. He sat in the stand while I sat on a hill above and behind him on the ground. He was determined to take his first deer with a bow this season, and all the camouflage and cover scent had sparked his "buck fever". We sat in a creek bottom; it was hot as usual during this time in South Georgia. The mosquitoes were eating me alive and it took all I had to not swat at them. I watched through my head net, careful not to make too much noise or any rapid movement. We were hunting close to where we had planted some Biologic mix. We were hoping to catch the deer on their way to feed. We hadn't been sitting there for very long when I saw him open up his backpack and pull out the fawn bleat. I thought, “let's see how this thing's going to work.”

He began to call. It wasn't five minutes before I heard crashing in the woods nearby. It was coming fast! I glanced up at my guy in the tree and saw that he obviously didn't hear her. I tried to signal to him that she was coming, but he didn't hear me, and I didn't want to make too much noise. I hurried to think of a way to get his attention when I noticed that the crashing had stopped. I slowly turned my head to see a big doe, and behind her were two yearlings. I stared at her and my heart was racing. I began to breathe out of my mouth because I thought the noise my nose made was too loud. I could feel every muscle in my body tense up as the doe stood in place and didn't move. Then I heard the growling sound. I had never heard a deer make that kind of noise before. It sounded like a dog growling! She then began to stomp her foot and blow. She walked around, never giving him a good, clean shot. She blew again and then ran off, the yearlings in toe. He began to call again, but she probably was spooked and wasn't going to come back.

All of a sudden, she returned! She blew and stomped some more, and each time he drew his bow back, she would pace and walk around so he couldn't get a clean shot. This departure and return happened 6 more times, each time failing to provide a clean shot. The doe finally picked one of us off and didn't return. We waited a few minutes and then got down to survey her tracks. She was a big doe-her prints went deep into the black mud. I slung my stool over my shoulder, pulled off my head net and gloves, and began slapping at mosquitoes. He grabbed his bow and we walked back up to the house. We hadn't brought back a deer, but we did have a darn good story!

We must've told that story 50 times before the night was over. We also bragged about and made over the fawn bleat. Despite our initial attitude about the bleat, we now see both sides of the argument. It had brought the doe straight to us, but it made the deer very nervous and skittish. We suggest that next time a fawn bleat is used, take two people: one to hunt, and one to call. Set the caller up to the sides of the hunter, depending on where you think the deer will come from. This allows the caller to be undetected, and the hunter to be ready to have a chance at a better shot. Although you may not kill a deer when using a fawn bleat, you’re guaranteed to have a world-class story when the hunt is over!

Posted by J. Ansley under Field Journals on October 1, 06 08:00 PM | Permalink

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