Q: I've read quite a lot about hunters using calls to attract deer, mostly roe, but can you tell me if it is possible to call red stags, and, if so, when is best and what do you use to do this?
A: Generally, deer are most susceptible to being called during the rutting season when hormones and interest in the opposite sex are at a peak. Roe as woodland dwellers are generally not as visible as red deer, which are more associated with open ground, so calls are often used to locate roebucks in addition to being used to attract them.
Deer calls for red deer
Red deer can be called but, unlike roe, during the rutting period they will also frequently call to attract attention to themselves and assert their position. Stags roar and bellow in a manner not dissimilar to cattle, and often the bigger the stag the deeper the roar he gives. So if you want to try and call up stags, during the rut is the time to do it. Stalkers use a variety of methods: while some rely on their cupped hand, others use a piece of rolled-up cardboard or the tube from a toilet roll or kitchen roll is also popular. Commercial calls are available and are blown to replicate the bellowing noise. As most stags are stalked on the hill, stalkers will usually locate the animal and attempt to call it towards them, rather than randomly roaring to see if anything turns up or responds.
A word of caution, however: if you try to call a stag to you, have a strategy at hand to stop him before he runs into you and keep your wits about you. You wouldn’t be the first stalker who has found two stags responding from different directions at the same time!