Can You Call in Axis Deer?

Is calling an effective tactic for hunting axis deer? My freezer full of axis steaks says it is.

Can You Call in Axis Deer?

We touched down in San Antonio on a June Sunday afternoon and made the short trip to Boerne with enough time to squeeze in an evening hunt. After a couple practice shots, I grabbed my Xpedition Xplorer SS and set up in a ground blind with Rubline Marketing's Keegan Rohlfsen, who was hoping to capture a successful hunt on film.

Several whitetail – including a few bucks in velvet – fed nearby over the next few hours, but there were no axis in sight.

Texas axis buck down

I returned to that blind solo the next morning and saw more of the same – a dozen or so whitetails filtering through, with only axis roars echoing in the distance.


Switching Gears

With a combination of less than optimal conditions for bowhunting, the guides advised us to swap our archery rigs for rifles to up our odds for the remainder of the week.


A friend of our host brought in an array of rifles already sighted in for an appropriate 200 yards, and I selected a Blaser R8 as my firearm of choice.

That evening, my guide Patrick Bacak and I headed to a fresh spot that historically produced shot opportunities. In addition to more whitetails than I could count, I spotted my first axis deer – a doe, a fawn and a "winter" buck that had just the beginnings of a set of antlers.

Returning Roars

After a couple more sits with no axis sightings on Tuesday, Patrick and I returned to that same spot on Wednesday morning with plans of trying a new, untraditional tactic – calling in a mature buck.

Texas plains


The first couple hours were quiet. Around 7, Patrick broke out the Ezy-Axis and a set of antlers to see if he could fire up any nearby rutting bucks. Over the next 30 minutes, we heard at least two different bucks roar in return, but they remained several hundred yards away and out of sight.

Rather than simply wait for the bucks to move in, we decided to make our move at 8 before the axis bedded down for the day. I followed Patrick, sneaking along a tree line in the direction of the bucks we heard calling 30 minutes earlier. After covering a couple hundred yards, we stopped to sound the call one more time and listened for a reply.

I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to find an angry buck along the tree line, about 40 yards to my left. "He's staring right at us," I whispered.


Patrick knew I had just seconds before he bolted. "Shoot him! Shoot him!"

I scrambled to shoulder my gun and account for the close range, then slowly squeezed the trigger.

Emily Kantner with Axis Buck

That night, our crew enjoyed a grilled backstrap from my buck during our last night in camp.

Thanks to Rubline Marketing for coordinating this trip and sponsors Scent Crusher, Rhino Blinds, and Tactacam for a memorable hunt.

Field-Tested Gear

The only axis call on the market, the Ezy-Axis mimics the roar, or scream, that shows dominance and challenges other bucks in the area. It will take some practice to master, but the affordable call will fool even mature rutting deer, and the creator offers a how-to video on creating various pitches and sounds with the unique call. Ezy-Axis Call

Because axis deer are notoriously skittish, giving our duds the ozone treatment was a must. With temperatures peaking around 100, we used the Scent Crusher Gear Bag before each sit to kill sweaty odors and help us go undetected. The proven technology has saved me from being skunked several times.Scent Crusher Gear Bag

Sitting in a blazing hot blind meant outer layers were the first thing to go in favor of breathable shorts. But whether sitting in a pop-up crawling with Texas critters or putting on the miles in search of quarry, I was always wearing my Danner Wayfinders. These lightweight boots were designed specifically for the female foot, offering an incredibly comfortable fit.Danner Wayfinder Boot

Hunting axis in Texas at this time of year equated to early mornings, late nights, and little sleep. For a mid-hunt pick-me-up, I added a pack of Tioga Rise coffee to my water bottle. The premium Arabica blend dissolves in hot or cold water, and a portion of the profits go to conservation efforts.Tioga Rise Coffee

We got to put the FieldTorq to good use on my buck for quick, safe field dressing. The multi-functional tool incorporates a gut hook and knife that can cut through bone. The InsideJob design ensures a clean cutting process, while non-stabbing blade tips and no sharp edges prevent injuries.FieldTorq Knife

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

Fare Game: Elk Tartare

Fare Game: Elk Tartare

David Draper shows you how to properly prepare Elk Tartare.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Whitetail Shot Placement

Whitetail Shot Placement

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim for the best penetration of the vitals on a whitetail deer.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe. Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

Mossberg's accurate Patriot Predator is the most affordable way to harness the power of the 6.5 PRC. Guns

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC: Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 26, 2020

Mossberg's accurate Patriot Predator is the most affordable way to harness the power of the...

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot. Guns

The Return of Lever Action Rifles

Craig Boddington - May 26, 2020

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

See More Trending Articles

More Other Game

So you didn't draw that coveted trophy buck or bull tag you've been applying for. Disappointed? Other Game

Last-Minute Opportunities to Hunt Western Big Game

David Hart - September 26, 2016

So you didn't draw that coveted trophy buck or bull tag you've been applying for. Disappointed?

Hunting Aoudad in West Texas can be a challenge. And that's an understatement.

Petersen Hunting's Other Game

Hunting Aoudad in West Texas

PHTV Adventures - June 07, 2016

Hunting Aoudad in West Texas can be a challenge. And that's an understatement. Petersen...

Be sure to follow these 5 tips from the expert. Other Game

Fred Eichler's 5 'Musts' of a Guided Elk Hunt

Randy Hynes

Be sure to follow these 5 tips from the expert.

Craig Boddington is gearing up to hunt desert mountain aoudad.

He's arrived in West Texas and is Other Game

Gearing Up To Hunt Desert Mountain Aoudad

PHTV Adventures - June 07, 2016

Craig Boddington is gearing up to hunt desert mountain aoudad. He's arrived in West Texas and...

See More Other Game

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now