Sunday, October 21, 2012

Early Season Antler Rattling

© By Othmar Vohringer

Yesterday I received an email from a hunter in Illinois. He had been wondering if rattling in the early season would work. Here is his question and my answer.

Q. I am wondering if antler rattling does work in the early season. When I asked hunters around here they each seem to have a different opinion. Some say it doesn't work, others say it works and still others say it scares deer that early in the season. What is your opinion based on experience?

A. It would take up several book pages to explain your question in detail. Rattling does not work. Tine tickling on the other hand does work quite well.

During the early part of the season female deer are not in heat and bucks do not engage in full blown out breeding rights and territorial fights. However, in the early season bucks do engage in sparring to test each others strength. In the early season I mimic sparring using a rattler bag. By gently clicking and grinding I have attracted consistently early season bucks.

But there is a whole lot more to it then just sit down and click antlers together in hopes of attracting a buck. Location is very important and so is the antler clicking sequence. Be on the wrong place or to aggressive and click for to long and you're liable to scare more deer off then you will see.

The important thing to remember is not to think of it as fighting but rather a friendly sparring competition among bucks and then match that with your rattling antlers or rattling bag. My average sparring imitations last up to 20 minutes but not continuously.

Like I said antler rattling and clicking is a very complex issue that would fill up many pages. Antler clicking is the least understood in terms of why it attracts deer of both sexes and all ages to the hunter. I have been studying this subject for many years and still have more questions than answers. Save to say that antler clicking is so effective that it is my number one early season deer attractant tool. In the early season I leave all the deer calls at home but I will not leave home on a hunt without my rattling bag.

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