John's Journal...

Rattling, Grunting and Deer Lures - Make Them Work for You

Day 3: Why and How to Use Rattling Antlers to Bring-In Deer

Click for Larger ViewMany hunters make the mistake of holding the antlers too long after they rattle. "If you hunt alone, you'll need to have your rattling antlers on a string around your neck," Terry Rohm, a longtime, avid deer hunter, cautions. “Most of the time a buck that hears horns will come running. You'll need to drop the horns quickly after you rattle and pick-up your rifle. Once the buck gets to the spot where he's heard the noise coming from, if he sees no bucks, he'll leave as quickly as he's come there. If you're not ready to take the shot as soon as you spot the buck, you may not get a shot." Click for Larger ViewEach season I hear stories of big bucks that have come running into loudly crashing antlers, but because the hunter hasn't had his gun ready, he's missed the shot.

Most hunters believe they should utilize this calling tactic of rattling antlers only for the week before, during or just after the rut. However, if you've watched bucks for any length of time, you realize that bucks spar from the time they come into hard antler until well after the rut. "Bucks spar for many reasons," Dr. Larry Marchinton, leading deer researcher who recently has retired from the University of Georgia, comments. "Young bucks use sparring to express their dominance and as a method of playing. Older bucks often will clash antlers just to test each other. These sparring matches rarely develop into full-blown buck battles before the rut."

Click for Larger ViewLike humans go to car wrecks to see what's happened and who's gotten hurt, often bucks will come running to sounds they believe mean a buck fight to see the fighters and to learn who wins. But they also will come to antlers when you lightly tap and rattle them. Dr. Karl Miller, professor of wildlife at the University of Georgia, once told me, "Deer are curious, nosy animals. Any time they see or hear other deer, they'll usually come to investigate what they've heard, seen or smelled." Too, a buck recently in a full-blown buck battle or tending an estrous doe may avoid rattling antlers that otherwise may call him in to you. But when you don't see any bucks, rattle. You may bring in a buck you otherwise never will have spotted.

Tomorrow: Why Deer Scents Work

Check back each day this week for more about "Rattling, Grunting and Deer Lures - Make Them Work for You "

Day 1: When Calling Deer Did Work for a Buck
Day 2: Why Deer Calls Do Work
Day 3: Why and How to Use Rattling Antlers to Bring-In Deer
Day 4: Why Deer Scents Work
Day 5: Trio Buck Calling for Deer


Entry 592, Day 3