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.
Other Helpful Articles: Deer Hunting Tips
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.
More Helpful Articles: Deer Hunting Tips
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.