Now is a great time to be using deer calls while hunting, bucks are highly charged during this phase of the season and generally respond well to vocalizations. Success with deer calling is more than rattling some horns though, it comes down to position and realism. Position itself can make or break your hunt. Troy says deer want to protect themselves and they aren't going to come charging in completely blind to any call, instead they first investigate. Whitetails trust their eyes 50% of the time and trust their ears 50% of the time, but they will trust their nose 100% of the time, he says. For this reason, whitetails will always look for a way to circle downwind so they can check out a situation with their nose first, and then move in to further investigate with their eyes and ears. Hunters who understand this behavior know that they need to get some sort of a barrier in their advantage in order to curtail that downwind circling. Troy says water sources like rivers, creeks, streams and ponds work great, and if you are in an area void of water sources, then cliffs, bluffs and thickets also work really well. Ultimately, the key is to put yourself in a situation where the deer are forced to come look for you. Troy says he frequently hears people doubting the effectiveness of calling for deer, however he notes that those who say they don't ever see deer are most likely being winded before they ever have a chance to get eyes on the deer. That's the key, he says, beating their nose. You can beat a whitetail's eyes and ears, but you can't fool the nose. By getting yourself into a favorable calling position that limits their ability to circle downwind is key. Realism in your vocalizations is important as well. Anyone can beat some antlers together, but spending a little time learning the language of the game you are chasing can pay big dividends. Knowing when and how much to use doe and/or fawn bleats, snort wheezes, grunts, rattles and more is important. In order to call effectively, hunters need to spend some time making sure they know the place they are hunting well, know the habits of the animal they are hunting, know their travel routes and also know where they want to call that animal to, Troy says. Keep your calling situations as realistic as possible, don't be afraid to call and do your best to make the deer think they are missing out and they need to check out the situation you are creating.
Safety while hunting should always be on the mind of hunters, regardless of experience level. This fall, millions of hunters will go afield in their own personal hunting pursuits, but it's important to always be prepared. Troy says too many hunters focus on all of the different things that it takes to successfully kill a deer, however they often forget how important things like gun safety and tree stand safety are while hunting. Over the course of his career in the outdoors, Troy has spent an immense amount of time up in a tree stand hunting and filming. He has always made it a point to be as safe as possible by getting to his stand early so he doesn't have to rush, using safety equipment, lifting and lowering his gear instead of carrying it up and down and more. However, after suffering a tree stand accident himself several years ago, Troy knows first-hand how quickly things can happen and how important it is to stay sharp, use good safety equipment and always take the extra time to do things safely. What was supposed to have been a quick and quiet trip into the timber to move a couple of tree stands ended up with Troy slipping on his ladder and falling to the ground and breaking bones in his leg, ankle, heel and foot. The fall itself feels like it takes forever, he notes, the sudden stop is what really gets you. So, when it comes to tree stand safety, the most important part is not hitting the ground and that is achieved with good equipment. Investing in and wearing good safety equipment every time you hunt is paramount. Speaking to the quality of safety gear available today, Troy says technology like that from Hunter Safety System is crucial as it keeps tree stand hunters tethered and safe from the second they leave the ground until the time they get back down. Troy reflects on his personal tree stand accident and also highlights the serious tree stand accident of a friend that fell, who wasn't found until hours later and ended up sustaining very severe injuries. Using his own story as an example, Troy emphasizes the importance of safety in the field.
Be sure to listen in as Troy Ruiz stops by The Revolution to talk calling deer and tree stand safety. Be sure to watch "Primos Truth About Hunting" on Outdoor Channel, Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can also catch up on 19 seasons worth of "Primos Truth About Hunting" anytime with MyOutdoorTV.