The use of rattling antlers while deer hunting can be an effective way to improve on success. There are certain variables that come into play.
At the top of the list is the ratios between bucks and does. If there are considerably more does than there are bucks, rattling can be less effective. The bucks do not have to be very aggressive in seeking out does. Rarely in these over populated doe areas do buck fights even occur. Since rattling is the hunters attempt at mock fighting, it will be less productive in these areas. That’s not to say it won’t work, just with fewer results. The closer the buck to doe ratio, the better the results.
The next variable has to do with timing. The rutting periods (pre rut, peak rut, post rut) are considered the most productive times of the deer hunting season for using rattling techniques. Hunters should spend as much time in the woods during these primary periods. A set of antlers to rattle will only improve deer sightings.
The final variable has to do with location. Obviously the hunter must be in an area that holds a fair amount of bucks. But the set up location is key here. Hunters need to be in an area that provides enough cover for bucks to feel secure enough to respond. The area should also be open enough for the hunter to be able to see a buck that is slipping in.
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There has been much written over the years as to when is the best time to rattle while deer hunting. The reality is that deer will respond to rattling throughout the season. There are however three primary periods that will generally produce the most action. These are the pre rut, peak rut, and post rut periods.
Pre Rut Rattling
During the pre rut period, bucks are switching from a feeding mind set to breeding mind set. Rattling during the pre rut can draw a variety of aged bucks. Young and middle aged deer will be drawn by curiosity. The older and mature bucks will respond out of an aggressive or more dominant behavior.
Peak Rut Rattling
Rattling during the peak rut period will often draw in the middle aged bucks. These bucks are simply trying to take advantage of nature. Mature bucks are already with and tending to receptive does. They are less likely to respond unless challenged. A less dominant buck will respond in an attempt to steal the doe from the fighting mature buck.
Post Rut Rattling
Rattling during the post rut period can produce quality middle aged bucks. But it can also draw in a mature buck that is searching for the last remaining receptive does to breed. This time period is often over looked by hunters. However, it can be one of the most effective times of the season for harvesting a mature buck.
Time Of Day
Rattling from an hour after sunrise up to about 11:00 am is probably going to be the best time of day. Late evening hours will be second. Midday hours will usually be least productive.
The key to successful rattling is focusing on these three primary periods of deer hunting.
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An aggressive approach to deer hunting can at times improve sightings. Rattling for deer is one such method. There is no big secret here. Rattling while deer hunting is a form of calling. It can be done throughout the season.
How To Rattle
There are several different methods to rattling that can be used. Soft rattle techniques will work but are considered less aggressive. To really reach out for distance, give hard knocks rattling a try.
This method requires larger, thicker, and louder style antlers. Simply smack the antlers together with force and rotate the tines together to produce a lot of volume. Use the following sequences.
- Rattle for one minute, then wait for ten minutes.
- Rattle for two minutes, then wait for ten minutes.
- Rattle for three minutes, then wait for ten minutes.
Make sure to sit still and be very quiet during the waiting periods. Also be alert for any deer movements. After 30-60 minutes of sequences with no response, it is probably best to relocate.
Best Times To Rattle
Rattling works all season. Sure there will be times that are better than others. But deer will respond to rattling from September through January. Now normally October, November, and December will provide a higher rate of success. These are considered the more productive times. The month of October is a pre rut period. November is a peak rut period. December is a post rut period. Obviously this will fluctuate from state to state.
The key here is use rattling tactics during these primary deer hunting periods. Be more aggressive and increase the sightings of deer.
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Rattling offers the hunter an aggressive approach to deer hunting. Rattling can add excitement on days when the woods are quiet. The following are tips for learning how to rattle for deer.
Shed antlers or antlers removed from harvested deer can be used for rattling. The antlers don’t have to be giant sized but rather comfortable to fit in the hand and have at least two tines on each. There are also synthetic antlers, rattle bags, and other products that are just as effective. Comfort and ease of use should be the determining factors.
The best way to learn how to rattle is by watching videos of other hunters in the field. There are also training videos available. Use this knowledge to practice and become proficient with the tools of the trade. The more time spent practicing the more comfortable one will be when using rattling tactics.
Position And Set Up
Rattling can be done from the ground or from a tree stand. Ground positions allow the hunter good concealment and the ability to move more frequently if desired. The tree stand often can provide a wider field of view and cover longer distances.
Regardless of what approach is used, the keys to success are concealment, being able to see in all directions, and hunting in areas that are most likely to hold deer. Another important factor is to see the deer before being seen.
Set up should be made in areas that provide a good field of view but also provide natural cover. Deer are more likely to respond to such areas as opposed to wide open places. The cover also allows the hunter more movement without being detected.
When To Rattle
The pre rut period is generally considered the best times of the season for rattling. Bucks are more likely to respond in preparation for the rut. However, the early or late seasons can also occasionally provide responses. It does not hurt to experiment throughout the deer hunting season.
Start out by softly rattling for a few seconds and then wait a few minutes to see if any deer are in the area and will respond. Afterwards, increase the volume of impact and aggressiveness slightly for 30-60 seconds. Wait 15-30 minutes and repeat. It is not necessary to rattle extremely loud unless focusing on deer from a long distance away or during windy day conditions that reduce noise.
After each sequence, glass the area with binoculars. Pay attention to any responses by the deer. Some deer may walk or run right in while others may sneak in. There may also be deer that run away from rattling.
As with any deer hunting situation, the use of scent control products as well as having a favorable wind direction is important. Experiment with different rattling sequences to see what works best in your area.
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During the rutting period, the use of a doe decoy can add excitement to a deer hunting setup. Use one of these techniques to draw the attention of a breeding buck.
When the rut begins, bucks will search the doe bedding areas looking to find a receptive doe. These are good areas to place a doe decoy. Put the decoy downwind of the beds in an open area that is visible from a distance. Attach a scent wick, or some other form of canister, to the rear of the decoy. Use doe in heat deer lure in the wicks. Place stands downwind of the setup.
Placing a doe decoy in a known travel zone can also be helpful. Both does and bucks will use these areas moving from one location to another. Put the decoy in plain sight. Use doe estrus scents to add to the setup. Stands or blinds should be placed downwind of the decoy. Look for travel zones that have fresh deer sign. Rubs, scrapes, or tracks that are fresh indicate current activity.
Secluded areas that offer good cover is another location to consider placing a doe decoy. Does will often get away from normal travel areas when they start coming in heat. They will seek out areas away from other deer. These areas may be a small patch of hardwoods, young pines, thickets, or cut over. Using a decoy in such locations can be effective.
A decoy placed near an active food source can also be beneficial to a hunter. The does will continue to feed during the rutting period. Bucks will monitor current food areas searching for the does. Look for food that is secluded away from other deer movement. Small food plots, isolated field crops, or acorns can be good locations.
Deer Hunting Tips
Make sure that the decoy is visible. If the bucks can’t see it, they obviously want respond. Keep the decoy free of any human or unnatural odors. Spray it down with scent illuminating products. Use rubber gloves when placing or otherwise handling the decoy. Put the decoy about twenty yards from the tree stand or blind. When using scents, place them in wicks or other scent holding products and not directly on the decoy or the ground. Always use caution when using a decoy for deer hunting. Dismantling and the use of hunter orange is recommended during transport.
Deer Hunting Tips: Decoys For Deer Hunting
The use of decoys for deer hunting can offer added excitement for hunters. The purpose of a decoy is to provide a visual target for the deer to see. This can result in drawing deer in from a distance. Here are a few tips for deer hunting with decoys.
Types Of Decoys
There are a wide selection of decoys available on the market. They come in many models such as standing, head up, head down feeding, and even bedded down. There are buck and doe decoys. They are made of many different types of materials such as foam, hard plastic, heavy cardboard, and others. They can be full sized 3-D or single layered light weight versions. There are also the more advanced mechanical versions that offer moving parts such as tail and ears.
Which Decoy To Use
Deciding which decoy to use boils down to individual preferences and of course the amount one is willing to invest. A decoy can come with a high price tag depending upon the brand name, quality, and style. Many hunters prefer the more realistic full sized 3-D versions. There are more light weight types such as the fold up styles that have a picture of a deer printed on both sides of a cardboard or foam back ground.
The main goal of the hunter is to place the decoy in areas where it will be seen by the deer. Locations such as field edges, open woods that offer a good field of view, or any other areas where deer will see the decoy from a distance. The more visible the better. If hunting near heavy cover that offers open areas along the outer edges, this would be an ideal place for a decoy.
Decoy Set Up
The decoy should be placed upwind of the hunters stand location. Generally, a 25-30 yard maximum range from the stand will be sufficient. Deer will normally approach a decoy from downwind. This will provide the hunter with a relatively short shot. Place the decoy slightly to the left of the stand if deer are expected to come in from the right. Place the decoy to the right if deer come in from the left. This will provide a broadside shot as the deer walk by the stand. In most cases bucks will approach a buck decoy from the front and a doe decoy from the back. Keep this in mind when deciding how to face the decoy.
Make sure the decoy is free of human or unnatural odors. Use scent elimination spray products to saturate the decoy. Use rubber gloves when handling the decoy to prevent scent transfer. When transporting, make sure the decoy is not placed where it may come in contact with chemical odors such as gasoline from your vehicle.
Doe Or Buck
A doe decoy is often the most successful during the breeding periods. The use of estrus scents placed on the ground around the decoy is an added bonus. Buck decoys are often more productive during the rest of the season. However, it may be beneficial to experiment with both throughout the season.
Use these tips for deer hunting with decoys and see if they add more excitement to the hunt. Be safe, good luck, and enjoy your next hunting experience.
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Deer hunting tips: Rattling in the simplest form is an imitation of two male deer fighting. The hunter uses two deer antlers, or manufactured antlers to reproduce the sounds made by bucks in an attempt to lure a curious whitetail into a specific hunting area. Rattling is done by tinkering or clashing the two antlers together. In nature, bucks fight for dominance to determine breeding order.
There are several ingredients that are involved when it comes to successful rattling. There needs to be a good ratio of buck to doe. There needs to be more bucks and less does. Too many does in a given area will result in less effective rattling results. Bucks would not need to compete for breeding order. The area to be hunted needs to have thick terrain to provide comfort for the deer. Mature bucks are less likely to respond to rattling in open areas.
Rattling works best during the deer rutting periods. This varies depending on the area to be hunted. Pre-rut and post-rut are good times to use rattling techniques. The rutting period coincides with the doe breeding periods of late October, November, and December in many states.
There are several guidelines to follow when attempting to rattle deer. Obviously the hunter needs to be completely camouflaged and using cover scent. Hunting in a tree stand if possible is generally better than hunting on the ground. The stand should be as high as the hunter feels comfortable while allowing for an accurate shot. Being elevated will allow the rattling sounds to carry longer distances. The stand should be placed down wind of suspected deer movement areas.
Begin rattling by softly tinkering the two antlers together for about thirty seconds. Wait a few minutes to see if there are deer close by that may respond. Repeat the process a couple more times. If no response occurs, clash the antlers together with more force causing louder sounds. Wait ten to fifteen minutes while watching and listening for deer movement. Repeat the process again allowing a little more time between rattles.
Be willing to continue this process all day if need be. Deer movement during rutting periods can be more frequent. They will often travel longer distances so the hunter needs to stay on stand as much as possible. So make sure to have a comfortable stand to sit in. A good pair of binoculars is also recommended.
Using these rattling deer hunting tips could give the hunter a better chance for a successful hunt. Try adding a grunt call into the mix to entice even the wisest of bucks.