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Guys I was curious, do you prefer real bone or bags and such? Also how much success during what time of season? Personally I've used both at all times of the season over the years and have never rattled in a mature buck!!
I have used both real bone and man made antlers (not a bag). By far I have done better with real antlers.
I've only used real antlers. if it works twice a year I'm happy. On the positive side, I don't think it scares deer away. I've seen bucks tuck tail and run at my grunt call. Operator error?
I've rattled in more does than bucks
Bag is easy to carry but just doesn't sound the same.
Real bone works much better IMO, but in the last few years I am not sure why I carry them anymore. Years ago I wouldn't leave the house without them, and rattled up my second biggest buck in 2003, 17 years after rattling in my first buck, with many in between. But anymore I struggle to bring anything in. About one buck per 25-30 rattling sessions. Used to be about 1 in 4.
Does will respond too, as will cows. I rattled in a 145" buck one morning and cows came in from the other way and spooked him off! I hate cows when I am hunting!
Won't leave the house without a grunt call though.
I have used the black rack this year, and it’s been solid. Not as loud and carrying as real antlers, but easier to pack and don’t break fingers
I carry a small set of real antlers. For years I carried a rattle bag, and didn't have much luck with it, nor did I have a lot of faith in using antlers to rattle in mature bucks. Switched to real antlers last year, and wow did things change. I rattled a nice 10 to 60 yards in late October (ended up killing him on Veteran's day) and rattled in a big broken up 8 on November 5th, also last year. The big 8 came in bristled up & stiff legged ready to fight, and then thrashed saplings and made scrapes all around me. This year I had an old wide 8 point south of me 100 yards or so, and going away from me. I hit the horns just a little and he turned on a dime and came back directly under me, all puffed up and ready to rumble. He never gave me a shot that morning, as he walked straight out in front of me facing away and then turned left behind a tree. That was on Nov. 10th. On Nov. 13th morning he came from the same direction as before, hounded some does for a bit then headed off. I hit the horns and he spun and came on a deliberate walk right under me again, only this time he continued in front of me, turned right and gave me a perfect broadside shot at 15 yards. I think it helps to be able to see the deer that you are attempting to rattle in, as it allows you to read his body language and know how hard to hit the horns. I also think it helps if the particular deer you are rattling at is a dominant buck in the area (or hasn't already gotten his butt kicked). I've rattled at bucks before, only to see them high-tail it the hell outta there. It's definitely not a guarantee, but I'm a believer in at least giving it a shot.
Used to clang around the biggest, heaviest real I had. Then I learned about the heavy horns bag by HS(I believe). I can have the band around it to keep it quiet and sits nicely in pant leg pocket. I'm not a huge fan of blind rattling but of the times I've used it, it calls them in as good or better than the antlers I used to lose control of walking, climbing, etc.
I did carry around a 130” set of antlers and bang them on everything in and out of the woods. Bought a Pack Rack Magnum and like it. Convenient and I think it sounds good. No more busting thumbs on a cold morning. I also had a chip fly off one morning when i was really busting them. Almost hit me in the eye.
I've always used the real thing. Seems to work on little ones every year and have rattled in a couple nice ones within 75 yds. Farthest I watched one run in from was a 1/4 mile during rifle season. Fun to do if nothing else.
The first buck I ever rattled in was 140 something. I used a wood arrow on the limbs of a old bear bow I was shooting at the time and on a sunflower stalk. The buck is on my wall. I got a different recurve and it never worked after that. . it just didn't sound right.
I used the real thing for about 20 years then 3 years ago I went to the black rack as my wife got them as a gift for me along with the extinguisher call. The call went to a friend as I hated it. I have a wooden grunt call by Primos that I have used for 20 years and boght 6 others to have as back ups. I like the black rack, sounds good to me and the deer like it as well. I rattled in quite a few deer in Kansas and Indiana and Ohio while using it. Still I am lucky to rattle something in one out of 15 times. Shawn
My biggest buck came to my rattling on a dreary November 24th. My rattling story is much like Ironbow's. It no longer seems to work. Up until about 15 years or so ago bucks seemed to come in often. That is no longer the case. I have only used the real thing.