Scenario. Very early/pre rut. Bulls JUST started rubbing out of velvet. First cold morning of the year...25 degrees at sunup...warming fast! Wind gusting from the north 5-25MPH. I am in my tree stand in a clear cut with woods 400 yards to my north with a small line of trees 1/2 way there. I can't see the woods due to the line of trees. to my west 175 yards is woods and swamp. 250 yards south is more trees and swamp. 3/4 mile east is the road.
I scented heavily the evening before. I hear a bull scraping his horns in the thick stuff 400 yards north. From the hollowness of his scrape it sounds like a big bull. Wind from him to me! At first I waited, but then thought....I have my antler with me....so after the second time i heard the bull scraping in the woods I scraped and rattled brush from my stand. the bull whacked a tree and rubbed more.
He went quiet for about 15 minutes and I thought....why don't I get down....so I did and raked the brush with my antler. (I have a small paddle bull antler that is about 14 inches long) the bull raked back. So I slowly made my way closer. I got to about 75 yards from the edge of the woods where he was hiding. I scraped a small spruce tree and the bull raked back but was still hanging back. I then tried a soft series of 4 bull grunts. and he raked back.
this is all within about 1 hour time.....about 15 minutes after my last rake and grunt, I rake one more time. No answer and that's it.
He would not come out of the thick woods.
Did I play this right, or should I have used another tactic like not raking at all and just moving quietly to him? Should I have thrown in a cow call? What do you think?