Thursday, October 01, 2009

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.

On my website I have a new section called “Ask Othmar” where I post questions from hunters and my answers to it.


Othmar Vohringer Outdoors
Founding Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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12 comments:

Rick Kratzke said...

Othmar, I have to agree with you. In the early part of the season I have found also that light sparring works and full rattling doesn't.

Anonymous said...

do you guys know if this works in Ontario Canada.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Anonymous - Yes antler rattling does work in Ontario too. Whitetails, and mule deer for that matter, react to antler ratting no matter where in North America.

As I said in my article, the trick is location and not to overdo it or be to loud and aggressive.

Good luck and let me know how it worked out for you.

-ov-

Anonymous said...

Othmar, the other day I was researching early season tactics. I came across this page and I have to thank you. Saturday was the first day of the pennsylvania archery season. At about 5:30 in the evening I shot a 10 point buck scoring around 150!!! A giant for these parts of the woods on public land! So thank you for ur helpful tactics sir.

Anonymous said...

Othmar, the other day I was researching early season tactics. I came across this page and I have to thank you. Saturday was the first day of the pennsylvania archery season. At about 5:30 in the evening I shot a 10 point buck scoring around 150!!! A giant for these parts of the woods on public land! So thank you for ur helpful tactics sir.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Congratulations Anonymous, I am thrilled that my advice helped you.That is what this blog and Smart Hunting Strategies (SHS)is all about. Having hunted in Pennsylvania I know how difficult it can be and how rare big bucks are.

If you like send me a picture and short story to be highlighted here at Whitetail Deer Passion.

-ov-

Anonymous said...

Othmar, I can also relate to the person for pennsylvania. As was I researching early season tactics on you're page. I am also from Pennsylvania. Warren county we have our fair share of nice bucks thanks to the help of the pennsylvania game commission and they're efforts on the antler restrictions. It was the first Thursday of this years archery season when I arrowed my biggest archery buck to date. An 8-point that will score around 115 not a giant but as you may know in Pennsylvania to me any archery buck is a trophy in my eyes. I used you're "tine tickeling tactic" and I mus have done it right because he came running in and stoppedabout 20 yards away. So thank you for being so helpful and I hope to read yet more tactics that can help me in the future!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Anonymous - I am thrilled that my advice has helped you to achieve your goal. To make it happen on a place that is though to hunt at the best of times makes this even more worthwhile. I wish you the best of luck and many filled tags.

-ov-

Anonymous said...

I'm in south Carolina going to give it a try in the am

Anonymous said...

Does this work in Arkansas in late September??

Anonymous said...

For several years now my son and I lightly rattle/tickle in bucks. The time, just as velvet is coming off for about 2 weeks after, to mid September. They come in more out of curiosity than anything. South Western Manitoba, Canada
I've taken several nice ones like this.

Anonymous said...

Antler tickling this time of year in Illinois is deffinetly the way to go.have seen several smaller bucks this way already this season but the big guys just don't seem that interested yet but scraping and rubbing activity starting to ramp up.

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