View Full Version : Horn rattling for whitetails.
September 19, 1999, 12:59 AM
I was wondering if anyone here has ever tried rattling deer in. And wanted to know how well it actually works. Also maybe a few tips! They make it look pretty easy on TV. But what about in real life?
I finally broke down and bought a set of rattling horns for this season, hoping it might help me score on an old buck that has eluded me for the last 2 seasons.
He has been bedding in the thickest under growth I have ever seen in my life. And there is no place to set up on him, without spooking him out, and down a 300 foot hill.
This year I want him real bad. Just have one little flat area to try and get him into. I have spooked him to many times to count. And it's getting real old.
Makes you mad, when you can hear him get up out of his bed, then just listen as he trashes the bushes leaving the area, and grunting the whole time.
Any suggestions for this year? He is one nice deer! Do you think the rattling horns might help?
September 19, 1999, 08:17 AM
1. DON'T do it wrong, first! There are some excelent videos on it, worth looking at. The best way to clue your buck into what you're doing, is to teach him while you learn. Also, wait til it gets cold, and the rut begins. The first time he hears it should be when his blood is pumping already, and he's super-excited in the first place.
2. Bring a friend, and have him get down low to rattle, about 20 feet away from you. Have him rattle, and the buck will cue in on him, hopefully giving you a broadside shot instead of a "receiving the charge" shot. Then you can rattle for your friend.
3. Cover scent and camo. Obviously. You need to make CERTAIN, however, that there are no other hunters in the area, though-- you're doing your best to sound like a rampant buck, and there are too many slob "hunters" who shoot at mere sound and movement. I've read that a mixture of heavy buck scent and doe-in-estrus lure work to motivate 'em.
4. Grunt call, used sparingly, but used.
5. Don't just rattle. Beat on the ground with heavy rocks or sticks, and berate the bushes, like the buck does. He needs to think there's a real fight going on.
6. Be ready! He'll be in, realize it's a ruse, and bug out, fast.
7. Be safe.
September 19, 1999, 08:19 AM
I rattle deer in all the time. Being a guide its part of my job. Its not so much how you rattle as it is when you rattle. Best response is usually a week or so before the rut takes place although they can be rattled in anytime. The buck/doe ratio in your area will usually be the main factor as to whether you are successful or not. Areas with a 1/3 or less ratio are the best. If the bucks don't have to compete for does they will be hard to rattle in. You can rattle them in at any time of day but morning and afternoon are best. About 90% of the time they will approach from downwind. Studies done have shown that the one doing the rattling will see fewer than 50% of the deer brought in. When you rattle stomp your feet, break brush and paw the ground with the antlers. You can't make too much noise. Rattling works well with one person doing the rattling and putting the shooter about 50 yards or so down wind. I would hesitate to try rattling on public land as you could rattle in another hunter who may shoot first and look later.
The Mohican Sneak
September 20, 1999, 04:43 AM
I've tried rattling in bucks quite a few times but never succeeded. I've done it at the "right" times, I've done it the "right" way, all to no avail.
On our property, the buck to doe ratio is way out of whack. I'm sure this plays a major role in my success rate.
I have grunted in a small buck once. A little spike came running in right after my last "urp". My dad took him with a quick shot to the boiler room.
He went down right now, and never heard the gun go off.
Best of luck,
I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~~Etienne de Grellet
[This message has been edited by The Mohican Sneak (edited September 20, 1999).]
September 21, 1999, 08:16 PM
Yep Mohican Sneak, its hard to rattle in bucks when there are so many does around. Why fight when you can't handle what you got? One of the reasons rattling works better a week before the rut is cause during the rut you won't rattle a buck away from a hot doe.
September 24, 1999, 10:38 PM
Okay, Guys, the title says "whitetails." Looks like for the first time I get to hunt West Texas mule deer (not first mule deer hunting, though). I've not tried rattling, except for one day last year (no luck on whitetails--lots of does available) near Mason, TX.
I have read that rattling works (depending..., of course) in all areas on all kinds of deer. Can anyone verify? TIA.
September 25, 1999, 08:53 AM
I can't add much to what everyone else has said.
Where I live the buck to doe ratio is also way off. I have though, over the years rattled in a few bucks. I on one occasion had a pack of coyotes show up. They probably figured that the bucks were to busy fighting to notice them, and they would get the upper hand, and an easy meal. I was bow hunting at the time and none of them came within range.
Good hunting to you all this season. Franz
September 27, 1999, 04:34 PM
Rattling? Not just rattling brings them in. Here's a HUGE secret for you.
1. Assuming you hunt from a treestand, take some olive drab parachute cord and tie it to some dead branches under your treestand (out about 10 yards is preferable), then get that line up to your elevated position and take the slack out of it (tie it off, so it "twangs" when you play with it).
2. Place a hook to hang your rattlin horns in the tree, and get your bow hanging in front of you (I use a piece of conduit bent over with a hook at the end - slide the tree end onto a screw in step covered with friction tape).
3. Before you begin your rattlin sequence, give that grunt call a toot or two. Then grab that parachute cord and pull on it to get the dead branches moving around on the ground (I tie another cord to the branch(es) and to something like a tree to keep them from dragging toward me). This simulates the initial contact of two sparring bucks.
4. Now let the cord go and grab your rattlin horns. Early/late in the rut I tickle them, at peak I really rock them together. Always end your sequence with a tickling then a break (antlers coming apart sharply).
5. Then grab the parachute cord again and repeat step 3. Keep going through this set of sequences each time you rattle. Sometimes the buck(s) will come in just by moving the dead branches around.
Start slowly and quietly. Test to see what works best in your area. On a quiet morning you will find your sequence will work best about 10am.
During your sequence, stop occassionally and listen carefully, watch your down wind side especially. Most times, big boys will sneek up to have a peek without ever giving themselves away. If you hear one coming in, just pull on that parachute cord light to simulate movement on the ground. Then grab your bow (or gun).
You must make subtle movements during this whole operation. Assume you're being watched the entire time.
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