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The most successful communicators are the ones who are best able to read and interpret the body language of those to whom they’re speaking. This applies to game animals as well as humans. Turkey hunters sometimes use the phrase “taking a bird’s temperature” to describe the process of calling and then seeing how a turkey reacts before deciding the next step. Vocal communication is less important to deer, so you really have to pay attention to body language to take their temperature and help decide your next move.
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Indifference
Your Next Move: It’s quite common for a buck to show no reaction to a call whatsoever. Maybe he’s not in the mood, or he just didn’t hear you. You have little to lose, so call again, a little louder at first, and at increasing volume until you get his attention.
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Head up, Ears Forward
Your Next Move: He heard you that time, and he’s looking directly at you. Whatever you do now is a gamble. You can roll the dice and call again, but better odds lie in waiting to see his next move.
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Foot Stomp
Your Next Move: This is a nervous reaction. Something has put this deer on edge, and almost anything you do at this point is likely to cause a negative response. Hold off until the deer calms down.
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Tail Flick
Your Next Move: One or two casual flicks is a whitetail’s way of signaling all’s well. It’s safe to call again and see what kind of reaction you get. However, if the deer flicks its tail nervously, hold off and look for other signs.
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Tucked Tail
Your Next Move: Another nervous reaction. The deer senses something is wrong, feels vulnerable, and probably won’t hang around long. He’ll very likely walk away stiff-legged until he reaches cover, then either skulk or run off. You’ll need to make your move now.
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Stiff Legs
Your Next Move: A stiff-legged walk alone isn’t always a bad sign. It could mean nervousness or aggression. Look for more signs.
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Ears Back
Your Next Move: This is a sure sign of aggression. You’ve pissed off this buck. The odds are good he will continue to respond to more calling.
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Stiff Hair
Your Next Move: Like ears drawn back, this is an aggressive signal, possibly designed to make a deer look bigger to a potential rival. This buck is ready to kick some butt, and another grunt just might bring him charging in to your stand.

Most deer hunting tips concern reading deer sign. But, don’t miss out on your chance to read a buck’s body language. Look for these 8 cues to take your biggest whitetail ever.

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