How to Call Mule Deer - Tips & Tricks for Beginners – Foundry Outdoors
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How to Call Mule Deer - Tips & Tricks for Beginners

If you are not familiar with calling mule deer, you may be relieved to find out that it is not so different from calling whitetail. Mule deer and whitetail deer are very similar in an evolutionary sense, so it comes to reason that they speak the same language when it comes to calling. Let’s take a small look at how similar these two deer are and then we will dive into how to use each type of call.

Whitetail and Mule Deer Are a Lot Alike


Whitetail and mule deer both belong to the genus Odocoileus. While they have a common ancestor dating back to tens of thousands of years ago, differences in habitat and climate caused some evolutionary changes to separate the two species. 


Mule deer do plenty of fighting, just like a whitetail. So they often respond to some antler clashing in the early phases of the rut and the full rut. You should stick to soft rattling during the pre-rut. Bucks could be pushing around a doe, but they are definitely establishing a pecking order.

You can bet there will be plenty of sparring during this time. The best thing you can do is set up somewhere that is difficult to see and clash some antlers around. Mule deer like to rely on their eyesight a lot more than whitetail. Their habitat is a lot more open than a whitetails, so their eyesight is a lot more useful.

Don’t worry about getting a mule deer specific rattling set either. Whitetail antlers make the exact same noise as mule deer antlers, and if you do not already have a nice set of whitetail antlers to rattle, there are tons of whitetail rattling devices on the market.

Grunt calls

Mule deer let out plenty of grunts too. You can definitely hear a mule deer buck grunt as he trails a doe. This is called a tending/trailing grunt and it will get the attention of many nearby deer.

Grunts are really good at getting a buck to change direction. If there is a buck a ways off that is heading a different way than you would like, let out a few grunts. He may just change his direction and come right towards you. Start off with a soft grunt, and increase your aggression slowly until you have his attention.

Snort Wheeze

The snort wheeze is the ultimate challenge to a buck. If you hear a buck do this naturally he will likely be all puffed up and looking for a fight with the other buck he is snorting at. This call says you are the dominant buck and I am going to take the doe.

A buck that wants to breed that doe is going to want to prove you otherwise. Use this call sparingly, but if a buck is hung up with a doe, a challenge like this may bring him your way.


Doe bleats are also a good way to get a mule deer’s attention. During most of the year does use bleats to communicate with other deer. During the rutting season they use a bleat to let bucks know that they are ready to mate.

So the bleat can be a useful call any time of the year. If the rut is not on yet and you want to get the attention of some does, let out a bleat. If your other calls are not doing the trick during the rut, try out a bleat.

Fawn Distress Calls

Fawn bleats are a lot more useful when it comes to mule deer over white-tailed deer. If you let out a fawn bleat around whitetails, you may get a few does to turn their heads and maybe come over. However a fawn bleat to mule deer can get a whole group of them coming your way.

The fawn bleat is a very common call in the mule deer community and that is because it works. This call can bring a whole herd of does your way, and the bucks definitely do not want to be left out. If you are having trouble getting deer to come closer, a fawn distress call is sure to get them moving.


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