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September 18, 2008

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BuckTracker: Easily Rattled

Too many hunters feel the only time to rattle in a whitetail is during the rut. I think they’re all wet. On a lovely early-October evening last fall—three weeks prior to our rut—I rattled in a four-buck bachelor group. This quartet included a buck I’d have gladly shot in most seasons. But having just tagged a great Missouri buck the week before, I was feeling lordly and benevolent and gave him a pass. Besides, the buck had everything it takes to blow up into a stud. I’m hoping I see him this fall.

So I tickled the horns together for a few minutes last evening. Then I gave a few soft grunts. Within minutes I had two bucks within easy bow range. Each deer looked for the fight or, rather, the sparring match. When they didn’t see it, they faced each other. These bucks were an entire age-class apart, yet they spent five full minutes clacking horns. Then, they munched on an acorn or two and, like best buddies, headed to some nearby clover to chow down.

So what do you think? Are any of you using rattling antlers early in the season and, if so, what are your results?


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I have debated this for years with a couple of friends who wouldn't be caught dead rattling during the early season. They say the bucks I've rattle in early didn't necessarily come to the horns, but may have just been passing through. But as is illustrated above, when the buck obviously comes in looking for the fight, five minute after you hit the horns, it's pretty obvious he came into my calling.


I agree. Most guys don't rattle real early in the season. I say, let them think it doesn't work. More bucks for me.
I've rattled in several bucks in September and early October. Not as many as in late October and early November, of course, but enough to convince me it works.

Joe T.

I haven't had any luck rattling early. But I admit, I haven't tried it much.

Scott Bestul

Of course I agree! But I'm curious; where are you guys setting up for your early hunts? How long/loud do you go at it?

I usually hunt the evenings, so I'm setting up on a buck that (hopefully) is bedded nearby. I like to give him a little tickle or two just before prime time. If he's not up yet, it gives him a direction to go when he rises. If he is up, I might coax him my way.

Also, when you rattle early in the season, do you get more multiples--a buck or two together--than later on?


I Have read the article on rattling , & I'm one of those hunters who is getting back into
hunting after many years , & Iv'e
been told here in the south , that it was to early to rattle in
early Bow season But after Spending an entire week in the woods, in Ft,benning Ga, I saw only 2 Mature Does & all Iwas using was a grunt late in the evening , But I'll certinly give
the rattles a try , thanks for the advice.


i think he looks like he is in a pen i see wire when the camera adjusts


I can honestly say this works. I rattled in a nice 8 point early last october and it was easy to see by the hair standing up on the back of his neck that he was looking for a fight.

Jake K

What region are you hunting in? It seems like it might be a little early, I hunt in Mississippi and it is still about 85 degrees every day. I was just wondering if I should wait a few more weeks. Also, would a decoy increase your chances of success when rattling?

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