It was about two years ago I first heard of Illusion game calls and thought “WOW, that’s cool.” A local company, Rochester, MN, making a name for themselves in the industry. I watched a couple of their videos and figured I would give them a shot for a couple of reasons. One being I already have multiple grunt tubes, some that work and some that don’t, and another being it’s a chance to support some local guys. WIN WIN. I ordered the Extinguisher deer call and the Black Rack they offer for rattling antlers and figured I would give them a shot. I was living in Denver at the time and only made it back for one hunt that year, the last weekend of October, the real beginning of the rut.
I’ve been bowhunting for years but I will say without hesitation that I am not a professional and wouldn’t even offer advice on grunting and rattling. I do what has worked for me. Early in the rut I like to do some contact grunts, just to see if I can pique any deer’s interest. I don’t usually rattle in the morning, I’ve just never had luck with it but that’s just me. I love that the Extinguisher has the ability to switch from a buck grunt to a doe bleat to a fawn just with the slide of your thumb. It’s super easy and fast and perfect when you can’t afford to move very much.
So my first morning into stand I get set up in a pretty good spot, a stand I usually see something in. Once I get settled and wait a little while for the woods to calm down, I give a few short contact grunts and wait. It wasn’t but a few minutes and here comes a small buck right to me, looking around for what he thought was another buck. After a little while of looking around he left. I thought to myself, “huh, maybe this thing is legit.” I waited a little bit before giving a few more contact grunts. I bet it wasn’t ten minutes later when here came the biggest buck I had ever seen in the woods, probably about a 21 inch 10 pointer. He wasn’t in a hurry but just grazing but he seemed to keep looking around, almost like he was looking for another buck in his territory. I run cameras on this property and hadn’t caught him on camera that year so I don’t know where he came from, my cousin shot a buck the same morning that looked like his twin, just a little smaller. I had him at full draw at 27 yards but he wouldn’t come out from the brush. He needed to take one step but instead he turned and walked straight away.
Another time this year I was sitting in the evening, hadn’t seen a hair in hours so I decided to give some grunts when all of a sudden here comes another buck. Not a monster unfortunately but a buck nonetheless. Once he walked the length of the valley and got with 10 yards of me, a couple does came from another direction. They weren’t even coming towards me until they saw him and walked right at me. I ended up shooting one of the does.
I’ve used the doe bleat and even the fawn to get does into range on multiple occasions. It works flawlessly! But without a doubt my favorite thing about the call is the ability to use a doe bleat and buck grunt in conjunction with the slide of your thumb. My strategy is basically to pretend to be two deer instead of one. If a buck or another doe looking to be bred hears that, they’re probably going to at least come give a look.
The call isn’t perfect though, there is one thing I don’t like about it. It just isn’t super loud. You can grunt and grunt fairly aggresively with it but if it’s windy you can’t hammer on it. It won’t sound good. Some of the calls I use are much better for that so I always carry a back up. Once in awhile when it gets real cold the reed will freeze up but all you do is slide it back and forth and it free’s it up.
The way I look at recommending things is this, would I want my kids to buy and use it. So if you asked me do I think the call works, do I think it’s a tool worth having in your pack, I would tell you yes. Yes I do. Since I bought it, I’ve grunted in a lot more deer but I’ve also been trying to more so that’s a bit of a wash. But I do think it works and works well, I wouldn’t hesitate to let my kids take it and use it.
Tried the Extinguisher? Let me know what you think of it in the comments!