Mathews Inc.
Rattling Bucks ?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
ND String Puller 09-Dec-22
Grey Ghost 09-Dec-22
SBH 09-Dec-22
Jaquomo 09-Dec-22
t-roy 09-Dec-22
ND String Puller 09-Dec-22
Bowaddict 09-Dec-22
12yards 09-Dec-22
Bowaddict 09-Dec-22
stick slinger 09-Dec-22
t-roy 09-Dec-22
ND String Puller 09-Dec-22
tacklebox 09-Dec-22
ahunter76 09-Dec-22
scentman 10-Dec-22
arlone 10-Dec-22
ND String Puller 10-Dec-22
M.Pauls 10-Dec-22
Groundhunter 10-Dec-22
Charlie Rehor 10-Dec-22
RD 10-Dec-22
RonP 10-Dec-22
SBH 10-Dec-22
ND String Puller 10-Dec-22
Jaquomo 10-Dec-22
Grey Ghost 10-Dec-22
12yards 10-Dec-22
ND String Puller 10-Dec-22
grizzly63 10-Dec-22
Bigdog 21 10-Dec-22
Native Okie 10-Dec-22
Huntiam 10-Dec-22
Franzen 11-Dec-22
Jethro 11-Dec-22
M.Pauls 11-Dec-22
Ambush 11-Dec-22
Aspen Ghost 11-Dec-22
EmbryOklahoma 11-Dec-22
Mpdh 12-Dec-22
W 12-Dec-22
Bou’bound 12-Dec-22
APauls 12-Dec-22
09-Dec-22
I’m curious to know what you guys use for rattling. Have you had consistent success with rattle bags? I’ve used both shed horns and bags and other gimmicks over the years. Heavy shed horns really make the sound travel. But packing a stand, sticks and all my other junk has me wondering if i should just carry a rattle bag.

I don’t typically rattle much until the end of a sit if I think nothing is going to walk by. I know timing is key. But have you had success with something other than a big set of shed antlers? Anyone make their own custom rattle bag?

From: Grey Ghost
09-Dec-22
I used to carry a heavy set from a 3x3 buck I killed. I cut them off at the pedicles, drilled holes in the bases, and tied them together with paracord. Like you said, they were awkward to pack around. So, I decided to try the Knight Hale Pack Rack. To my surprise, the deer respond to it just as well. I've been using it for at least 10 years now.

Matt

From: SBH
09-Dec-22
We have not noticed a difference between the rattle bag vs real antlers. They respond to both from what we can tell. Personally I think a big heavy set of horns sounds so much better and the rattle bag is weak sounding but the deer don't seem to mind. I wouldn't hesitate to carry the rattle bag if weight or space is an issue.

From: Jaquomo
09-Dec-22
I have used rattle bags and synthetic antlers. Neither worked for me. I only use natural brown antlers now and they do work.

BTW, you CAN rattle in whitetails with muley antlers, and vice versa. I've read that it doesn't work that way but whomever wrote it doesn't know squat about rattling.

From: t-roy
09-Dec-22
Personally, I like the sound of actual antlers vs synthetic/rattle bags. Probably mostly in my mind, but I think they sound better. I have a set of heavier 8 point sheds with the brows cut off. Agreed, they are a bigger pain to transport than the other options. A buddy of mine made a rattle bag out of a big Crown bag, some bigger dowel rods and a few oddball sized pieces of scrap wood, that sounds pretty good.

BTW….you can tell you’re out of shape, when you have to take a break in the middle of a rattling sequence;-)

09-Dec-22
Thanks fellas good info. I remember Dwight Schuh using MD sheds for his whitetail hunting.

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-22
Knight and hale pack rack also. Sounds very realistic and have had good results with it. What I used when I rattled in my Nebraska mule deer and his group of doe last year. Don’t do it much on public ground for whitetail unless I’m in a spot where I know they haven’t been pressured as much. But it has worked then also a few times.

From: 12yards
09-Dec-22
I occasionally rattle. What I usually accomplish is smashing a cold finger. But occasionally I'm delighted by a response from a buck, which then usually goes downwind and busts me. Then I sit an wonder if I should have rattled while my finger throbs.

From: Bowaddict
09-Dec-22
No busted knuckles with pack rack:)

09-Dec-22
I’ve heard people rattling and now they were not using antlers. Sound bad/fake. I carry antlers, but it’s not ideal for space. I’ve thought about trimming down the points to make them more compact, but don’t want to wreck my rack if it sounds bad. Has anyone tried this? Taking 3-4 inches off all the points would make it a lot more packable.

From: t-roy
09-Dec-22
Stick slinger…….I round the tips off some, but I only take an inch or so off of them. Saves a little wear and tear on the knuckles and it lessens the chance of poking a hole in the pack or clothing strapped to it, as well.

09-Dec-22
Thinking I might pick up a big bottle of crown royal ;) And maybe experiment with oak dowel rods or maybe pieces of elk antler. Thanks for the info guys.

From: tacklebox
09-Dec-22

tacklebox's embedded Photo
tacklebox's embedded Photo
Real bones for me, nice 150"ish. I prefer sheds in that size range of the same side from different deer. I feel like they "clash" better when matched this way, and IMO sounds more realistic.

I think the biggest issue though isn't so much in what you use as it is cadence and putting together a sequence of sorts. Not just smashing them together hard and fast like it seems I often see / hear done.

I rattled in 4 mature deer this season, one twice, his entire right side already gone at the base, one missing a giant G2, one I had already decided was gonna live to see 5, before finally getting this guy to nearly mow me over on the ground.

From: ahunter76
09-Dec-22

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Rattled & got a pass at 15 yards.
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Rattled & got a pass at 15 yards.
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Rattled & passed at 20 yds.. Wife was with & took photo & asked, why did you not shoot him? Replied, want a big one. She says, you call him back & shoot him. True story.
ahunter76's embedded Photo
Rattled & passed at 20 yds.. Wife was with & took photo & asked, why did you not shoot him? Replied, want a big one. She says, you call him back & shoot him. True story.
I've used these for at least 50 years (yes, 50). They still work great & I have no idea how many Bucks have come to their rattle.

From: scentman
10-Dec-22
Last season during archery I sat on a log near a scrape, I tossed the rattle bag onto the log before sitting down... just sat and getting my position this 10 point runs in looking for a fight... boy that rattled me. Yrs ago I went on the cheap and tossed 3 screwdriver handles in in nylon stocking material, sounded purty good!

From: arlone
10-Dec-22
I would think a bag with some real antler pieces of varying sizes might sound better than a store bought rattle bag??

10-Dec-22
Tacklebox...dandy buck you got there!

AH76...can’t argue with those results!

Thanks fellas...actual antler pieces in a bag might be the ticket for portability and sound.

From: M.Pauls
10-Dec-22

M.Pauls's embedded Photo
M.Pauls's embedded Photo
I switched to a “rattle bag” years ago, just because I’m a mobile guy, and a big set of horns is just so cumbersome. For sure antlers to me sound better, but it became very clear to me years ago, that the “antlers” are a very small part of it, so I opted for the convenience of a bag. It’s just a simple old cotton bagged one, probably almost 20 years old.

Ever watch or hear bucks fight? They don’t just stand there and shake there antlers together. About 90% of the noise is ground noise with the odd crack and rattle from the horns. I no longer rattle from a tree stand. I’ll always get out, rattle in a location where it allows the buck to circle in downwind so that he’s comfortable. You gotta give him the space, don’t force him into a weird situation or he likely just won’t come. Give him the space. But when you rattle, crash around, bust up big trees, body check broken poplars, whatever, make a ton of ground noise, throwing in the odd rattle but try and envision torqued antlers slipping as bodies are pushing. They’re not tickling each other. Then get back up in the tree and see what happens. I definitely don’t overuse the technique, but when I do, my rattling success has gone way up.

Watched this guy cross a swamp about 450 yards away, following does, which I’m assuming he checked and none were hot. I did a sequence as soon as he was out of sight, and 20 minutes later he was offering me a 17 yard shot, oblivious to me, as he was looking the other way, to where the noise had come from

From: Groundhunter
10-Dec-22
M. Paul's nice post.

10-Dec-22
Very nice trophy photo.

From: RD
10-Dec-22
Knight and Hale for me also, seems to work pretty well for the last few years.

From: RonP
10-Dec-22
i've had some success with a rattle bag with both deer and elk. i haven't done it enough with both bag and sheds to notice a difference. hard for me to believe there would be a difference.

as mentioned above, lots of ground noise, sticks breaking, etc., is important. buck to doe or bull to cow ratios are also important imo.

From: SBH
10-Dec-22
You don't always have to sound like the two biggest bucks in the area. Every situation is different. To what M Pauls said...ever watched two bucks just lightly sparring? Its not real loud, just antlers clicking lightly and sometimes for 5-10 mins straight when I've seen smaller deer bothering each other. You ccan still get the attention of a bigger buck in the area if he's at that right time and curious as to who is around or what they are up to.

10-Dec-22
MPauls...holy smokes! That’s a beauty, thanks for the post! Makes perfect sense.

I remember reading an article or seeing a video where Rob Nye would rattle on the ground like that for his hunters up in a tree stand. I guess I’m usually hesitant to give my location away by calling. Especially if I’m hunting one particular buck. But there are times when you have nothing to lose during the rut, and rifle season going on. Really, that’s exactly what a cruising buck is listening for. I’ve probably wasted a lot of good opportunities over the years no doubt.

Good points SBH. Thanks again fellas

From: Jaquomo
10-Dec-22
M.Pauls, I pretty much only hunt on the ground, sometimes a popup and sometimes natural fort blinds I build. Besides stomping my feet and making all sorts of ground racket, I also grunt like real bucks do. Where I had issues with the bags (probably operator error) is in making that delicate tine/tickling sound that sometimes draws in bucks that hang up. Do you have a way to do that with your bag?

From: Grey Ghost
10-Dec-22
During the peak rut in my area, if a mature mulie buck is dogging a doe, I've found that they often ignore a rattle. Small bucks will respond, but the big boys couldn't care less. By far, my most successful technique in that situation is a doe bleat. Mule deer does can't seem to resist the urge to investigate a high pitched doe bleat. If they have a mature buck in tow, he will follow. I got my target buck within range 3 times one morning this year by repeatedly calling in the doe he was dogging. Unfortunately, I couldn't stop him, so I took a rushed shot that deflected off of branches.

Matt

From: 12yards
10-Dec-22

12yards's Link
Not sure if this will come through or not. Worth a try.

10-Dec-22
That’s hilarious Steve! If that’s what MPauls does and kills those giants it may be worth a try !

From: grizzly63
10-Dec-22
It would be better as a team effort. One on the ground raising cane and an overwatch shooter. I like throwing some bleats out during the lulls.

From: Bigdog 21
10-Dec-22
Another trick take one and racking and beating one the tree like making a rub.

From: Native Okie
10-Dec-22
This is the first year I’ve successfully rattled bucks in. I’m a believer now.

I do know a guy who used to bring a 6’r of Busch Light to the stand and he said he would drop a his cans to the base of the tree as a rattling sequence. He actually killed a few nice deer but I always laughed at that story.

From: Huntiam
10-Dec-22
Real thing

From: Franzen
11-Dec-22
I haven't picked up the rattling horns in years. When that got really popular, it seemed to never work. I always felt that so many people were rattling from a tree, that it just seemed obvious for any decent bucks to pick up where a hunter was.

M.Pauls' method seems intriguing, and like it would work well. However, I'd be too concerned with spooking too many other deer in my area. I think there is a certain deer population and terrain where this might work better than others. The antlers on a long rope seems like it might be more the ticket in certain areas. One of these days, I'll likely implement that method when I feel like carrying the horns again.

From: Jethro
11-Dec-22
I tie a set or 2 of antlers to my bow hoist rope. Tug the rope to clash the antlers. Depending on technique can get loud crash, light tickle, brush sounds, and hoof thump sounds.

It has worked for me. Would love to say I thought of it. But I read about it in Mike Mitten’s book.

From: M.Pauls
11-Dec-22
Jaq, I haven’t tried “tickling” with the bag really. It’s all out or nothing for me. Then if a buck comes in and hangs up, I assumed he’s hanging up because he’s waiting for a visual ideally. He’s already come, so he believed it to a degree. At this point I’ve had some success with a grunt or snort wheeze to seal the deal, and sometimes I’ve lost them here. Honestly I’ve had more luck with grunting than wheezing. But even if they don’t get their visual, more often then not, I have them scream in, and start trying to pick up a scent trail on the hot doe that they’re assuming was there. Oddly enough, I’ve had many bucks browse right over all my tracks I just made busting trees up, and not give a hoot. Total rut type nonsense!

But I will say, I have had almost no bucks hang up since getting really aggressive with my rattling. There are still lots of times where it’s a dud, and nothing shows, but when they come, I’ve usually had them come in hot. I think this is because of the situation you’re painting. Like SBH says, I think by tickling the horns, you can get bucks to show up out of curiosity, because that’s a real situation that we’ve all seen, likely even more than actual real all out brawl fights. But to me, there’s not a whole lot more “draw” power to a mature buck with a big fight, rather than the curiosity of some light sparring. The all out brawl fight is painting a picture of a hot doe that’s got bucks all wound up about who gets to breed, her in my mind. Which is why I think this works so well in late Nov, when the big mature bucks are back in their feet, desperately searching for those last does coming into heat. FYI, the buck in my photo there was Nov 26th, prime time for a situation like that.

From: Ambush
11-Dec-22
Aggressive rattling works good on coyotes to.

From: Aspen Ghost
11-Dec-22
Back in the old days I used to occasionally rattle in a buck accidentally with the noise created while climbing the tree with a Baker climber. It happened a couple times before I figured out why they came trotting in inquisitively.

11-Dec-22

AllamakeeHornKicker's embedded Photo
AllamakeeHornKicker's embedded Photo
I have my best luck rattling the last week of October and first week of November. Real sheds same side. Last 4 of 5 bucks (160+) have come from rattling one way or another led me to killing those bucks. I won't climb up the tree without my rattlers.

11-Dec-22
Blind rattling in the area I hunt always concerns me, primarily because of the thick vegetation. You never know if there’s a deer just out sight that you will spook. I did rattle in a decent 3.5 year old this season. I saw him at about a 100 yards away (wanted to get a better look ant him) and heading away from me. I picked up the antlers and clacked them together with a short sequence, laid them down and then promptly snort wheezed. That buck came trotting in with fire in his eyes, skidding to a stop 10 yards from my stand. I then evaluated him and knew he was something I didn’t want to kill. Pretty cool experience none the less.

From: Mpdh
12-Dec-22
I shot a mature 8 pt after rattling a blunt tipped cedar arrow between the other arrows in my bow quiver.

From: W
12-Dec-22
Best response is real horns on the ground kicking leaves and bushes. That might not always be practical.

From: Bou’bound
12-Dec-22
real antlers dangled in and bounced leaves from pull up rope. you gewt ground, leaf, and antler sounds all at once from the tree. pull them up and do traditionally if you want to make more isolated rack only noise in a more controlled way

From: APauls
12-Dec-22

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
Bou'bound no offence but have you ever had any results doing that BS technique? I read about it years ago, and tried it myself once. Sounds like absolute crap and I was embarrassed that I had done it lol. It did not work. In theory it sounds good, but in reality it does not.

I've had luck like my brother on the ground, or choosing windy days where I am in a tree and a buck can not hear the ground noise. Or in the open. This buck I rattled in 2 years ago across a road, then a quarter mile hay field, and then through a wind row. Once he got through there the decoy sealed the deal. It was about -20 and windy out. If you are out in a field they also don't necessarily expect to hear ground rustling.

While I have smashed many a finger rattling this year for the first time I cracked my balls so hard I had to stop. I was doubled over in the stand. I so badly want to pack something else but I still haul my dang antlers in every time. I cut the brows off and sanded all the points to a round but they still near kill me every year. I'll prob have early onset arthritis in my fingers cause of em! lol

Also kid you not years back I was seeing a bunch of bucks one morning and I shot one rifle hunting. Had two buddies like 650 yards away so I went to talk to them they'd seen nothing. So I says, come sit in my stand. It was about 10:30am, they came and I had a LW hang on like 8 feet off the ground. So my one buddy with the tag is in the tree, and two of us are on the ground looking down a small cut line for a few hundred yards. At about 11am we decide to rattle, and because we are all together and goofing off I hold my antlers, and my buddy holds his and we lock horns like a couple of bucks and are pushing each other around like a couple googans barely able to contain our laughter. We clash around for a few minutes and then sit down at the tree. Not 10 mins later an old warrior buck comes walking in stiff legged basically to the base of the tree and my buddy pounds him with the & Rem Mag in bow range. True story. Epic memory.

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