The rut is on, and friends from Oregon to Tennessee, it’s time to start hunting aggressively for bucks. Time to put the meat on the table. If you haven’t already tried it, time to rattle them in. In some parts of the country rattling is very popular and in some other parts it’s almost unheard of. Even where it is popular, not everyone tries it. Here is why you should.
Any time I can call game to me I consider it a huge advantage. Rattling bucks is no exception, and it’s easy, fun and effective. The basics are easy: take some shed horns out of the garage or a mid size rack you aren’t too fond of and bring the horns with you. When you are out in the woods, rattle them together like two bucks sparring and watch what happens. If you haven’t ever seen two bucks sparring the scenario is simple; two bucks are fighting or at least testing each other and likely there is a doe very close by who’s ready or almost ready to breed. Clack the horns around and scrape them together for 15-20 seconds. The first time you rattle in each location I recommend stamping your feet and making a little hoof noise as well. After the first time at each location get yourself still and ready.
Last week we rattled in a buck to 20 feet. The buck came in quiet but made a couple of fateful footsteps which let us pinpoint his location. Unfortunately he was extremely close and a slight movement sent him dashing away through the trees before we could get a shot.
Realistic rattling includes picking the right location. Make sure the wind is blowing towards you from the suspected location of the buck(s). You should be in the woods or cover they feel comfortable in. It’s fairly rare to call a big game animal out into the wide open during daylight in most areas.
Bucks coming in to rattling are very alert! They are looking for deer and have all their senses tuned in. This could mean breeding a doe or getting their butt handed to them by a bigger buck. Stay very still and alert. If nothing shows up in 7-10 minutes, rattle again and repeat this once more. Then move on to the next location and try again.
Go get em.