John's Journal...

Make It Happen In a Tree Stand with Will Primos, Eddie Salter, Wayne Carlton and David Hale

Wildlife Biologist Steve Warner Knows Where and When to Rattle Bucks

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Until about 20-years ago, you had almost no control over the deer you hunted. You only could take a stand in an area where your research and scouting had led you to believe a deer might show up and pray the deer would appear. Sitting in a tree stand all day and waiting for a deer to appear was about as exciting as watching maple syrup pour out of a bucket in zero-degree weather. However, today, with the new and exciting deer calls on the market, you have the ability to make a deer come to where you are, cause the deer to hunt you and make bucks show-up that ordinarily may not have walked into your sights.

Where you rattle bucks may be more important than when you rattle bucks. Using rattling antlers is a tried-and-true tactic for luring-in bucks. Many believe rattling produces bucks only under certain conditions and at specific times. The standard philosophy concerning rattling has been in the past that rattling ...
* pays off best in areas where the makeup of the deer herd is closer skewed to a 1:1 ratio of bucks to does,Click to enlarge
* works only during the breeding season,
* calls in dominant bucks and
* doesn't produce after the rut.

However, I've always learned there are no absolutes in hunting white-tailed deer. When you try and make absolute statements as to what will and won't produce bucks, you're much like the high- school football player who's convinced himself he can date any girl in the school. More than likely if he continues to ask for dates, he will be turned down more times than he thinks. Consider these known factors about rattling:
* bucks spar from the time they come into hard antler when they push and shove to exert dominance or be playful until the breeding season’s over, and they drop their antlers.
* bucks are social animals and possess a herd instinct. When they hear the sound of other deer, whether those deer are fighting or just sparring, they'll often respond to those sounds.
* young bucks and does often will come in to watch a battle when there's a fight.

Click to enlarge"I rattle a lot throughout the season," Steve Warner of Texas, longtime avid deer hunter, and wildlife biologist, reports. "But I try to go to regions where I know the bucks will be. In the mornings, I rattle in places near thick cover where I assume the bucks have bedded-down. I'm hoping to pull those bucks out of that cover and to within bow range. Rattling will bring big bucks out of thick cover often when nothing else will. In the middle of the day or later in the morning, I may rattle in feeding sites or along travel trails.  If the bucks are up and moving and hear rattling, they'll often come to it. Later in the evening, I'll go back to the thick cover."

One of the most-important keys to rattling successfully is to know where the buck should be before you begin to rattle. Then you will understand from which direction to expect the buck. When you hear or see him coming, you'll have time to prepare for your shot. "One of the most-effective methods of rattling I use is to take the horns and rake them on a small tree," Warner reports. "Many times, raking the antlers against a tree like a buck rattling a bush will call in as many if not more deer than actually clashing the antlers together." Yet another technique Warner suggests using is to grunt while Click to enlargeyou're rattling, since bucks grunt when they fight as well as before and after they fight. "When you're rattling deer, often the deer will come in on the run and may not stop," Warner explains. "Or, if the deer do stop, they may begin to run again before you can take the shot. One of the best tools I know to stop a buck that's running is to blow the grunt call. Most of the time when a buck comes in running to the antlers, then when the deer's within range, you can blow the grunt call, the buck will stop, and you can take a shot. If the buck comes in running, stops out of range and begins to run again close enough for you to take a shot, blow the grunt call to stop the deer. Then you may have the opportunity to shoot. One of the most-overlooked aspects of rattling in bucks often is camouflage. As the buck comes in quickly, he’s looking right at where the sound is coming from - directly at you. If you don't blend-in with your environment to keep the buck from seeing you, you won't get him in close enough to take a shot with your bow. So wear camo, including a full headnet, gloves and hat. Try, and have cover in front of you to break-up your silhouette even more.”

No longer do you have to sit in a tree and hope a deer will come in and present a shot. Using these calling aids, you can make something happen when you're in your tree stand. Often calling deer doesn't work for some hunters, because they don't continue to call throughout the season. On any given day, some deer won't come to a call. No one knows why. On other days, deer seem to come from all directions any time you call. No hunting aid is foolproof and produces deer every time you use it. However, from my research, I've learned that deer calling with various types of calls consistently will produce more deer within bow range than if you don't use deer calls. If you want to make something happen in a tree stand, use deer calls.    

Check back each day this week for more about "Make It Happen In a Tree Stand with Will Primos, Eddie Salter, Wayne Carlton and David Hale"

Day 1: Will Primos - New and Exciting Deer Calls
Day 2: Eddie Salter Hunts Aggressively Using a Bleat Call for Success
Day 3: Wayne Carlton Makes it Happen in a Tree Stand by Throwing His Call
Day 4: David Hale and Wayne Carlton Go Get Them with a Grunt Call
Day 5: Wildlife Biologist Steve Warner Knows Where and When to Rattle Bucks


Entry 536, Day 5