John's Journal...

You Need Two to Rattle White-Tailed Bucks in the East

A Rattling Tactic That Works in the East

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Just like humans are attracted to the sounds and the sights of a car accident, a fight or a fire, many times other bucks will come to the sound of antlers clashing, not only to view a fight, but in hopes of possibly picking up the estrous doe over which the two bucks are fighting. But in the eastern United States, huntersClick to enlarge use tactics somewhat different than those of western hunters to rattle effectively.

Several rattling tactics will work, especially during the rut. “Where did you get those two huge bucks?” I asked two of my customers at the taxidermy shop in Alabama I once owned. The two hunters had brought in a 10- and a 12-point buck. “We rattled ‘em up,” they announced with big smiles.
I’d been hunting deer in Alabama my entire life, and my hunting buddies and I never ever had seen a buck when we tried rattling. So, I laughed, and said, “I think you may be the only two hunters in the State of Alabama who’ve used this technique successfully.” Then they laughed and told me, “You’re probably right.” “Okay, what are you doing that no one else is doing?” I asked. “First of all, we hunt as a team,” they explained. “This tactic isn’t one you should use from the ground, because it’s not safe. Only hunters who are in tree stands and off the ground should try it. We’ve learned that the hunter doing the rattling rarely, if ever, will get a shot at the buck. Every year, whichever one of us isn’t rattling is the person who takes the buck we rattle-in.” Click to enlarge

These two hunters said they’d found that Alabama deer would bed in thick-cover areas, and the deer preferred to stay in thick cover, rather than coming out in the open. These hunters also learned that when a buck heard rattling antlers, most of the time he’d use his nose to determine what bucks were fighting, how big they were, and whether an Click to enlargeestrous doe was in the crowd watching the fight. Deer could gain plenty of information through their noses. These two hunters had learned that they could take an older-age-class buck by rattling, if they teamed-up. One hunter explained, “When we set-up our stands to rattle, the hunter who’ll be doing the rattling gets to an open spot, like a green field or a power line right of way, where he can see any deer that crosses that open space. The second hunter, who’s not rattling, moves 50 to 100 yards directly behind the hunter doing the rattling and sets-up his tree stand. So, both hunters are now in tree stands. The hunter who’s not rattling starts looking for the buck that will circle downwind of the hunter who is rattling. Sometimes the buck will come-in between the two hunters, and sometimes the buck will come in below the second hunter. By using this type of set-up, the hunter who isn’t rattling has a much-greater chance to take the buck that comes into the rattling antlers. This technique consistently has worked for us before, during and after the rut. Most of the deer we take will be 3-years-old or older.” The two big bucks the men took proved that the rattling technique would work in the Southeast.

Tomorrow: Rattling Methods for Eastern Solitary Hunters

Check back each day this week for more about "You Need Two to Rattle White-Tailed Bucks in the East"

Day 1: Rattling-In Bucks During the Rut
Day 2: The Southeast Isn’t Texas
Day 3: A Rattling Tactic That Works in the East
Day 4: Rattling Methods for Eastern Solitary Hunters
Day 5: Techniques to Make Rattling More Effective in the East


Entry 541, Day 3