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?