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Thread: Rattling bucks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    284

    Rattling bucks

    Alright so with the new 1 mule deer limit I decided to put some time into whitetail hunting. I quickly realized how little I know about them. Typically for mule deer I just walk ridges and more or less pick the buck I want. For whitetail I decided to spend most of my time sitting and watching. I ended up shooting a whitetail buck on the hike up to my planned lookout spot but I attribute that mostly to luck. So the question I have is what kind of rattling system do people typically use when sitting in wait? Do the rattle bags work? Do shed antlers work better? How long do you sit and rattle for before moving to a different spot? Any info is welcome. I'm by no means a new hunter but these things don't act like the mule deer I'm so used to chasing.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    775

    Re: Rattling bucks

    I use mule deer antlers from a 150” buck I killed years ago. Like to have a partner because those buggers come in hot and fast and on my blind side normally.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Langley
    Posts
    3,561

    Re: Rattling bucks

    I'm not sure about rattling for mule deer, but I use a small 4x4 set from a Region 3 muley for blacktails. It seems to work.

    The only advice I really have is that they often circle in down wind and blow me out before I ever see them, so be on alert, not just for deer but cats too. If you hunt in thick stuff, it's not a bad idea to sneak out of your hiding spot 20-30 yards out in the open, do your rattle, then sneak back into your spot. Better odds the deer will show up in a more favourable situation, perhaps in the same cover as you rather other cover 20-30 yards away. It can take them half an hour to show up. I usually start with a light rattle for deer in close proximity, then half an hour later I will get a little more aggressive and combine with a little stomping.

    Once I have been blown out, or if I am have rattling in the same area with no success after a few outings, I stop rattling in that area. There is a lot of research suggesting that deer actually have a reasonably good memory, but than many had thought. At a certain point if you are working a pocket of deer, they know it is you making the sound and associate it with your scent, other sounds and anything else you have given them to pattern you, so you're just saying "HEY DEERS I'M BACK!!!" ... so if calling does not seem to be working, stop doing it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    In the bush near a lake
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    5,214

    Re: Rattling bucks

    I use antlers a small 3x3 set. Rattle bags work well for some but I have to use antlers for good results. I just can’t get a feel for the rattle bag like I can antlers. Doe bleat can call is good to add in. Grunt calls work but I find at times they scare bucks off

    I hunt over scraps when rattling/calling WT so I know it’s a matter of time before a buck shows. I will work that location for the duration of the hunt and not move. If I am on good sign and the wind is good I will hunt the same location first light to last every day till I tag a buck. Outside of some populations migrating do to snow levels WT have a small home range so if you are on a really good location stick to it. Add in the fact most of my WT location are to thick to risk still hunting staying put is best

    The WT game is about patterning deer and ambush not about covering ground. They are often way more spooky then MD and often in thick bush that walking through undetected is not happening. But WT follow patterns and travel routes beyond MD so they can be predictable so if you pattern them you can ambush WT relying on the fact they will pass through a small pocket. This is why trail cams are such effective tools for WT

    WT are a mental game and picking the area you are going to hunt is basically choosing a 50yard circle you are going to put all your faith in driving your self crazy well you sit ?ing if you made the right choice lol

    In my opinion a lot of the best WT locations in BC hunters just drive by thinking it’s too thick but if you can find the 20-50yard openings in that thick stuff where multiple trails meet you are likely to find bucks that normally go unseen.

    Yes WT are taken many other ways but there is a reason blinds/tree stands are the most common tactic used for WT in North America. It just straight up works and opens up options for locations you could not effectively hunt still hunting or spot & stalk

    good luck

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Abbotsford, BC
    Posts
    174

    Re: Rattling bucks

    I keep a compact rattling bag of sticks in my fanny pack in November. I only use them now in Nov. I've had rattle success in late October in the West Koots but not here. Sorry, I had a curious little fork mule come into see what I was making noise for once in MU 8. But those curious buggers come to the door chime of the truck if get out to take a leak and leave the truck running.

    The bag of sticks sounds to sharp in my opinion and I think the old bucks are wise to this. I've never knowingly had a big Mule come into a rattle session. Natural antlers are the best for me but I won't pack them anymore since the violating hole-in-one incident 25+ year-ago. I tried sheds before but they didn't seem to work for me and I didn't have confidence in using them. I tried tattling those plastics in the big box stores and didn't have any luck with those either. I Guess the odds of rattling a buck into Abbotsford Cabelas is pretty slim anyways.

    I keep a variable pitch grunt call with me that seems to do the trick. In fact the last buck I pulled the trigger on was playing peek a-boo in and out of trees until I give him a doe bleat and whoops, up comes the head on his extended neck and that was the end of that hunt. Right in the throat and he dropped on the spot with this legs perfectly folded under him.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1,310

    Re: Rattling bucks

    I can't bring myself to hack up antlers I've shot regardless of size, and not much luck shed hunting for a decent set of rattlers...I use the $20 primo antlers and they drew in a decent buck (largest buck to grace my cams this year anyways)....I start out lightly in the morning, get progressively more aggressive....I like to do a longer rattle session but not continuous, take some breaks, throw in some grunts....space the sessions out anywhere from 20 mins to an hour.....and some days I don't rattle at all, but I have been successful at it
    Unfortunately, the rifles are getting lighter because we are getting heavier and more unfit as a society. This is the key to the mainstream acceptance of the short magnums. - Nathan Foster

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,399

    Re: Rattling bucks

    Seemed to work for me last day of rifle WT season. Although ac sqeaker, it showed within 5 minutes of 3 rounds of rattling small WT antlers and a few doe bleats.
    This after almost a full 4 day lapse of any daytime activity.
    BC's Wildlife belongs to BC Residents .......

    BC WILDLIFE is not for corporate greed to benefit Foreighn Owned GOs.

    POACHERS are not HUNTERS as the media posts.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    284

    Re: Rattling bucks

    Thanks for the feedback. I have a really hard time cutting any of my racks to make rattling antlers. I do have a few sheds which I think will have to work.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    In the bush near a lake
    Posts
    5,214

    Re: Rattling bucks

    Sheds work just fine as long as they are not dry chewed up sheds

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