Can You Call in Axis Deer?

Can You Call in Axis Deer?

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

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

Recommended for You

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention SHOT Show

HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Here are our top choices for hunting this fall! Guns

Top Precision Rifles for Hunting in 2019

Joseph Von Benedikt - April 22, 2019

Here are our top choices for hunting this fall!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100 shotguns. Guns

Remington Timeline: 1963 - Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns

Hunting Online Staff

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

See More Stories

More Other Game


The first bighorn ram I ever saw was on top of one of the highest points in Montana in a place Other Game

Species Spotlight: Rocky Mountain Bighorn

Craig Boddington - August 20, 2015

The first bighorn ram I ever saw was on top of one of the highest points in Montana in a...

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....

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon Outfitters Other Game

Pre-Christmas Handgun Fallow Deer Hunt

PHTV Adventures - June 27, 2017

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon...

See More Other Game

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×