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Video Rattling Tips (and More!)

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October 21, 2008

Video Rattling Tips (and More!)

By Scott Bestul

Second, bucks do not read outdoor magazines. They don’t hang back listening for some deviation from the accepted rules of rattling before deciding whether or not to commit. By and large, they either hear you and are interested, hear you and are not interested, or just don’t hear you.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter. In most situations—especially during the rut, when buck movement is unpredictable—you do not know that a buck can hear you. Rather, you are trying to get one to hear you as he passes through the area. Since you have no idea exactly when he’ll be within earshot, it makes no sense to conform to any particular rules of timing. Suppose you follow the standard advice and make three one-minute rattling sequences, but he’s out of hearing range. And right in the middle of your obligatory 20-­minute pause, he moves into earshot. When you start up again, he’s gone.

Oops

In short, when the goal is to get a roving buck to hear your horns, the most sensible thing is to forget all the complicated rules of realism and do something fundamental: Rattle loud and rattle often.

“My sentiments exactly,” says well-known whitetail consultant and longtime Buffalo County, Wis., outfitter Ted Marum of Midwest Whitetail Management Services (715-495-2988). “If bucks don’t hear you, they won’t come. Simple as that. Unless you know a buck is close, the best method is to hit the horns hard and often from a location where you can be heard from a long ways,” he recommends. “Location is critical. When you rattle from the top of a ridge where two or three different pockets of cover come together, for example, the sound travels a lot farther than it does when you’re calling from way down in a timbered bottom.”

When you’re not smashing horns, put all your focus into watching and listening for responding bucks—not fiddling around with grunt calls and bleat cans and tree-raking. You can’t be sure a buck has heard your rattling at this point, so why would you expect one to hear much quieter calls? Instead, save the subtlety for when you can actually see that a buck has responded, is close enough to hear softer calls, and needs extra coaxing to come into shooting range.

Until then, keep it simple. Just bang the horns together.

Comments (6)

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from NH Philosopher wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

Dave - if you strap the bungee holding the "horns" around your waist - please make sure to turn the tines of the antlers out. I've seen a friend impale himself in the leg tripping over a root with that same setup. The hunt was ruined and the trip to the hospital with the tournaquet was more than memorable. No need for avoidable accidents.Moving forward you should actually advise folks to pack them or hang them off the backside of their pack....

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from Billy wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

I agree it is great tips. I would also like to see tips on scents grunt calls etc...

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from Scott Bestul wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

I tote a rattle bag in my pack on every hunt, but I use it rarely because I have so much faith in my horns (sorry Chris, I have to call them that!).I have experimented quite a bit with bags, and my general impression is they have good sounds, but only moderate volume. So in my opinion, they'd work well in early season, when I generally rattle softer. During the rut, I want something to reach out there and grab a buck's attention. In my experience, louder rattling sessions are more successful. I just don't think bucks hear that banging as well as we think they do!One trick I've heard is to use a rattle bag made with longer, heavier dowels. I think there's one called "Heavy Horns" (made by H.S.?) like this. Any one have any experience with this?

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from halfastfisherman wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Scott - What are your feelings on rattling bags? Do they work as well as traditional rattling antlers? Any insight would be apppreciated. Thanks!

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from Mike wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Love the insight. The video makes it so much easier to understand how to do this correctly. Would love to see follow ups on grunting, scent tips, and other hunting ideas. Thanks.(And Chris, we all know deer have antlers not horns. It is just slang. Lighten up.)

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from Chris wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Deer have antlers, not horns.

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from NH Philosopher wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

Dave - if you strap the bungee holding the "horns" around your waist - please make sure to turn the tines of the antlers out. I've seen a friend impale himself in the leg tripping over a root with that same setup. The hunt was ruined and the trip to the hospital with the tournaquet was more than memorable. No need for avoidable accidents.Moving forward you should actually advise folks to pack them or hang them off the backside of their pack....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Billy wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

I agree it is great tips. I would also like to see tips on scents grunt calls etc...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Bestul wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

I tote a rattle bag in my pack on every hunt, but I use it rarely because I have so much faith in my horns (sorry Chris, I have to call them that!).I have experimented quite a bit with bags, and my general impression is they have good sounds, but only moderate volume. So in my opinion, they'd work well in early season, when I generally rattle softer. During the rut, I want something to reach out there and grab a buck's attention. In my experience, louder rattling sessions are more successful. I just don't think bucks hear that banging as well as we think they do!One trick I've heard is to use a rattle bag made with longer, heavier dowels. I think there's one called "Heavy Horns" (made by H.S.?) like this. Any one have any experience with this?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from halfastfisherman wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Scott - What are your feelings on rattling bags? Do they work as well as traditional rattling antlers? Any insight would be apppreciated. Thanks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Love the insight. The video makes it so much easier to understand how to do this correctly. Would love to see follow ups on grunting, scent tips, and other hunting ideas. Thanks.(And Chris, we all know deer have antlers not horns. It is just slang. Lighten up.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Deer have antlers, not horns.

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