A grunt tube \u2013 the cheapest, most impactful piece of hunting equipment a bow hunter can own, especially during or nearing the rut.\u00a0 The grunt tube has long been a staple piece of equipment a hunter throws around their neck before heading out to the woods, and rightfully so.\u00a0 It\u2019s the one thing, other than a corn pile, that can bring that out-of-range buck into bow range with fairly decent success.\u00a0 Think about it . . . your bow or gun, treestand, binoculars, rangefinder, camouflage, etc. are all for nothing if you can\u2019t get a buck within range.\u00a0 Sure, in the end they all played a part in the success, but not if it wasn\u2019t for a couple of grunts from a $15 plastic tube.\u00a0 With that said, here\u2019s a few things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself frantically reaching for your grunt tube as a buck cruises by.The Herd FactorThe buck-to-doe ratio on any given hunting property is probably the biggest influencer on how effective calls are going to work whether it be rattling or grunting.\u00a0 If there\u2019s little to no competition for does, bucks simply aren\u2019t going to be interested in fending off another buck, which is exactly who you\u2019re pretending to be when you grunt at him.\u00a0 Areas with high DOE:BUCK ratios (2:1 and higher) will make calling less effective overall.\u00a0 Unfortunately, this is what many public land hunters have to deal with.Age class is also a big determinant of how effective your grunt call will be.\u00a0 A well balanced herd consists of a near equal buck to doe ratio, as well as, a good distribution of bucks amongst each age class.\u00a0 Having mature bucks (3+ year-old\u2019s) creates competition and specifically an assertion of dominance, both of which will make bucks easier to call to.\u00a0 These are two reasons why you see calling work so well on TV shows.Check out HuntGuard\u00ae\u00a0– our advanced line of all-weather hunting gear.When and How to Grunt at a BuckI\u2019ll be the first to admit that I\u2019m no expert on calling to whitetails, but I have had a fair amount of success with a grunt tube in the past, most recently during the 2015 season.\u00a0 You can watch the hunt here to see how I got a big buck to close the distance.There\u2019s two main things you should consider before you grab for your grunt tube.\u00a0 First, ask yourself if it is a buck you want to shoot? And second, are you in an enticing enough location to make the buck want to come check things out?It may be tempting to play with a younger buck by grunting him in for a closer look, but in the end, all you\u2019re doing is educating him.\u00a0 If he\u2019s not a buck you\u2019re interested in leave him be, it\u2019ll only make him easier to fool in the coming years.\u00a0 If he is a shooter buck, then it\u2019s go time!\u00a0 What do I mean by being in an enticing enough location? I mean you have to be positioned such that you will peak the curiosity of a buck to come in for a closer look.\u00a0 In the end, curiosity will kill the cat (or buck in this case).\u00a0 If a buck can\u2019t see into where he thinks the call is coming from, he\u2019s much more likely to come take a closer look compared to a call coming from an open field.\u00a0 It\u2019s best to call in the direction of thick cover to portray a that a buck is hidden within.\u00a0 Consider using a decoy if you\u2019re hunting an open area where a grunt might not be believable without a visual culprit.It\u2019s Now or NeverOkay, now let\u2019s get into the real \u2018meat & potatoes\u2019 of calling \u2013 making actual noise with your call. You\u2019ll hear a lot of the experts and more experienced big buck hunters say they only call to a buck if he\u2019s looking a different direction.\u00a0 I agree.\u00a0 If he\u2019s walking or looking somewhere other than you, hit him with a quick contact grunt, which is your standard short grunt.\u00a0 You\u2019ll know if and when he hears you because he should stop and swing his head around.\u00a0 If he doesn\u2019t give you the time of day, he probably didn\u2019t hear you and you should hit him with another louder contact grunt or a short series of three grunts.Once you\u2019ve got his attention, it\u2019s now time to study his behavior before making the next move.\u00a0 The fewer the grunts the better.\u00a0 I promise you grunting more and louder will not bring a buck in faster.\u00a0 By now your adrenaline is pumping, so it\u2019s crucial to slow down and observe.At this point the buck is likely to do one of two things:After a moments glance in your direction, he continues on without coming to check things out. If this happens, you don\u2019t have much to lose.\u00a0 Hit him with another grunt or two and see what he does.\u00a0 If he keeps going, try the snort wheeze.Scenario two is what we hope happens and it can be quick or painstakingly slow. If it\u2019s quick, you\u2019ll know it and you probably won\u2019t need to use your grunt tube anymore.\u00a0 Your short contact grunt intrigued him enough to immediately come and check you out.\u00a0 The slower reaction is somewhat typical of smart old bucks.\u00a0 After hearing your call, they turn and look for the source. \u00a0Sometimes, they\u2019ll sit and stare for 10+ minutes before deciding to come and investigate.\u00a0 If he\u2019s on alert, it\u2019s best to wait him out.\u00a0 Again, curiosity kills the cat.\u00a0 If, after the wait he goes back to doing what he was or looks away, it\u2019s time to hit him with another grunt to let him know you\u2019re still there.Calling in Pressured AreasIt can be extremely tough to call in a buck on highly pressured hunting land \u2013 private or public.\u00a0 There\u2019s usually a couple factors which limit the effectiveness of calling to pressured bucks.\u00a0 We touched on the first one already, that being an unbalanced herd.\u00a0 Highly pressured lands and an unbalanced herd often times go hand-in-hand.\u00a0 It\u2019s not always the case, but more than likely you\u2019re at a disadvantage right off the bat due to biological conditions.The second factor making pressured bucks difficult to call in is hunter induced, and usually a result of a lot of blind calling.\u00a0 Blind calling is when you pick up your grunt tube or rattling antlers with the hope of \u201cwaking up the woods\u201d, so they say.\u00a0 Meaning you\u2019re not calling at a deer you can see or hear, but rather hoping to draw one in.\u00a0 It\u2019s tough to resist the urge to blind call, especially if things are a bit slow and the rut is supposed to be cranking.\u00a0 Nonetheless, the more deer are exposed to these calls \u2013 knowingly or unknowingly \u2013 the more likely they are to ignore them.\u00a0 There\u2019s not much you can do in these situations other than to keep your expectations in check.\u00a0 You can still grunt at a buck if he\u2019s working out of range, but don\u2019t keep blowing grunts at him if he seems to have ignored you.There are a ton of factors determining if a buck will, in fact, come in to investigate the source of the foreign grunts.\u00a0 At the end of the day, calling success is going to vary on a per deer, per day, and per situation basis.\u00a0 It\u2019s never a 100% guarantee that you\u2019ll grunt in a buck.\u00a0 In fact, it\u2019s more like a 50\/50 shot on decent hunting land, and 25\/75 split on pressured land.