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Rattling in whitetail deer

Updated on August 28, 2012

Rattling attracts horny bucks

Basic things to know about rattling

Deer Rattling Tips:

The best techniques to rattle

  1. Aggressively during pre-rut when bucks are ready but does are not
  2. Be conservative when dealing with young bucks
  3. Aggressive during late post-rut when bucks are wandering for the last doe
  4. Tickling your antlers when does are present
  5. Rattle during rut only if hot does are present

Don't rattle when

  1. Never rattle for the heck of it, you may spook deer that are nearby
  2. Never rattle when a buck is looking at you
  3. Don't rattle when a buck is already moving your direction
  4. Don't rattle unless you're ready to shoot, bucks can come in quickly
  5. Don't rattle during rut unless hot does are present, bucks are preoccupied with breeding and you may spook off nearby deer


Pre-rut rattling

Pre-rut can be very effective for drawing in some bucks with hormones raging. While bucks can't wait to breed, the does aren't quite ready. Deer hunters have their best chance of drawing in these love sick animals before does actually go into heat. Once does go into estrus bucks will be snugged up in seclusion in a nearby swamp or thicket. Bucks can't resist looking to see if the competition has discovered a hot doe, or the urge to protect his breeding ground.

Learning the art of rattling in whitetail deer can take some time but nothing gets your heart pounding more. There are different ways and sounds that you can make to attract whitetail bucks, knowing when and how is very important. If you rattle at the wrong time you could spook off a trophy deer. Rattling for deer is a process which takes time, when in doubt don't use this call. Over use of calls or rattling isn't natural to the woods and deer will quickly pattern the hunter, avoiding the area completely.

Rattling techniques and different sounds you may want to consider:
1)Aggressive rattling can be done by using a rattling device that would sound as though 2 bucks are going at it hard for 1-2 minutes
2)Another way to be aggressive is to rake the ground with antlers, push leaves and brush maybe even bang the antlers against a tree
3)One way to be conservative would be to gently grind antlers together as if 2 bucks are just pushing and testing each other
4)Tickling is what I call hanging a pair of antlers across a branch of a tree and just over and gently let them bang together from inches away a few times


When rattling keep in mind that a mature buck could be close by. At any time he might coming running right at you so you need to be prepared before beginning any rattling sequence. Keep your gun or bow ready and be very alert, looking around you constantly. Many times they'll run up to the edge of an open but not step out, that's how they get to become big mature animals.

I really think the best times to use rattling is early before hunters have pressured the deer. Another good time is about a month after primary rut when bucks are aggressively looking for those last few does to breed. Deer are creatures of habit , they will protect their territory from other bucks, this is the instinct your trying to bring out in the deer. I've found that watching your surroundings and trying to think like a deer has always improved my hunting. Many hunters tend to over call or constantly hunt from one stand and whitetails are quick to pattern hunters an avoid them. Good luck and hope this helps your deer hunting.


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