In The Field
Jan. 18th 2014
Well if you are anything like me a part of you is glad to see deer season wrap up. Then of course the day after deer season you have jitters to climb up in the Big Game Treestand with bow in hand hoping you have out witted one of your hit list bucks. During the season I like to do as much scouting as possible but the fear of pressuring the mature bucks one to many times keeps me from taking in all the intel possible. So my post hunting blues are medicated by long slow walks through my hunting grounds. No more fear that I jump my Big Buck and he run off only to get shot. Now I may push them out but they will eventually be back in plenty of time for another Full Draw Adventure.
This time of year trails seem to become more noticable. I walk the trails and look for any new pinch points previously
over looked. Also it might enlighten me to a food source that have overlooked, like a persimmion tree in a transitional
zone. One of my favorite signs to look for is all the current year rubs really stand out and can give you some great
isolated sign to your mature bucks. This time of year is a great time to relocate your Eyecon trail cameras and place
them in areas previously thought too deep to penetrate because fear of bumping the deer. You can leave the cameras
out a month at a time because up to the minute information is not as critical since you have another 8 to 9 months to
start the actual hunt. Well if nothing else it can be a great excuse to get out and enjoy God's great outdoors and it can
make for some short work for the upcoming season. Good Luck and remember to check out our videos to help
medicate your post hunting blues as well.
Good Hunting Magic Mike
Success with Rattling
When you think of rattling in Whitetail bucks, most of us don’t put a lot of thought into it. We may carry our rattling antlers into the woods in November but other months they stay at home. We all are a different type of hunter. Some enjoy spot and stalk, some enjoy sitting and waiting. I can tell you that me personally, I sit back and let them come to me. This does not always work but I have found ways to take a very simple approach to rattling that has helped me harvest several mature bucks.
First thing you have to look at is what you are using to rattle with. I am a fan of real antlers. I personally use a 130” eight point rack that I found while shed hunting. I cut the G1’s or brow tines off the rack to make sure I don’t smash my thumbs while clashing the two together. This also allows me to have a better grip on the antlers. I know there are a ton of different artificial rattle calls out there. They all sound good, but to me you can’t beat the real thing.
Location is one of the important things to rattling and I believe this is where most hunters struggle with success. When I scout my farms in late February I look for specific stand locations that have a natural barrier that will not allow the deer to get to my downwind side. Creeks, bluffs, and even open fields are three of my favorites. For instance, if I know there is a bedding area in one location, I am going to expect the bucks to come from that bedding area and try to get downwind of my location. I want to set up to where they would have to come within range of the stand before they were able to get my wind. Another big factor will be the buck’s line of sight. Deer have an amazing sense of hearing. They can pin point exactly where a sound is coming from and know how far away it is. So, if at all possible, set up your stand in which the buck would not be able to see the base of your tree unless he was within 80 yards. I will use locations with a lot of undergrowth or even a crest of a hill. If he is able to see your location and he does not see a deer he will most likely hold up and wait until he catches movement. Make sure that any time you get eyes on the buck, rattle when he is not looking your direction. You never want to allow him to absolutely pin point where the sound is coming from.
Early Season: Late September and Early October
A lot of hunters leave their antlers at home this time of year. I have had more success with bringing bigger bucks to bottom of my tree in late September than any other time of the year. Bucks are still in their bachelor groups for the most part, but as the temperature and daylight hours began to fall, the bucks’ testosterone begins to rise. This is a perfect storm for rattling. I spend the majority of September hunting food sources, however, this time of year the bucks are trying to establish a pecking order and territories for the upcoming rut. I will use this to my advantage and replicate a “sparing” match while in the stand. If you have ever seen two younger bucks spar this is what I’m trying replicate. I will lightly rattle the horns together. This is a longer stent of calling but it is not as aggressive as what I will do in the upcoming rut months. This will let the dominate buck in the area know a couple of things. One, there are two bucks fighting for dominance in his area and two, there are Deer on their feet and in the food source. This time of year for Central Missouri is a time when acorns are falling and if deer know it’s safe they will get up and try to eat as many as possible.
Pre Peak and Peak Rut: Late October and November
A lot of hunters out there think you just grab the antlers, bang them together as loud as possible and try to make the most noise possible. Unfortunately not many hunters out there have actually watched a real buck fight in the wild. So it is hard to reenact something that we don’t fully comprehend. So the next time you are online, go to YouTube and search white-tail deer fight. If you listen closely, you will notice that there is not a lot of actual rattling. There is more pushing and grinding of the antlers then rattling the tines together. In the pre peak and peak rut, I will bang the antlers together once, then, I will grind them while still in the locked position. I try and repeat this process for approximately 30 to 45 seconds. I then hang the antlers up and leave them for 45 minutes. I am always looking around while rattling and have had some success with bucks running in while rattling. The majority of these bucks are 3 year old and younger. I have noticed that my older bucks never run into the set up. They take their time, try and slip down wind, so they can check out what is going on before they show themselves. Another tip that I have discovered over the years is that the majority of my bucks show up somewhere between 6 and 15 minutes after I set the antlers down. So if you take anything away from this remember to stay on your toes for at least 20 minutes after setting the antlers down. Don’t be discouraged if he does not show up in the first 5 minutes.
Post Rut and Late Season
Late season can be a hard time to call deer. Usually they have been duped at least once this year from another
hunters calling, so a lot of your larger bucks are wary. Be 100% positive that he will not get down wind of your location.
I will usually try a mixture of both methods of rattling during the late season. I also will not blind rattle unless I know
that buck is upwind of my location. I will try and rattle softly first and see how he responds. If that does not work then
I will get a little more aggressive with it until he makes a move. There is a big misconception that whitetail bucks only
respond to rattling in the rut. I hope that these tactics you can better your success and have better Full Draw
Adventures in return.