You Need Two to Rattle White-Tailed Bucks in the East
Rattling-In Bucks During the Rut
Editor’s Note: Just like humans are attracted to the sounds and the sights of a car accident, a fight or a fire, many times other bucks will come to the sound of antlers clashing, not only to view a fight, but in hopes of possibly picking up the estrous doe over which the two bucks are fighting. But in the eastern United States, hunters use tactics somewhat different than those of western hunters to rattle effectively.
Rattling-in bucks during the rut can be a very-effective tactic in the East, although rattling is considered a top whitetail-taking technique in the West. The term “rattling” refers to using antlers, a rattling bag or some-other device that makes the sound of two bucks clashing antlers. Bucks, especially young bucks, begin to spar when they first come into hard antler. Sparring continues to set-up the pecking order of the bucks in that area. During the rut, bucks often will double their home ranges, and research indicates they may go far outside their home ranges, either chasing estrous does or looking for an estrous doe. When a dominant buck from one area moves into the territory of another dominant buck, there’s often a fierce fight for dominance.
Thirty days after the peak of the rut, all the does that haven’t been bred during the first rut will come into estrus again for what’s known as the second rut. Once again, the bucks willexhibit rutting behavior and often fight. Just like humans are attracted to the sounds and the sights of a car accident, a fight or a fire, many times other bucks will come to the sound of antlers clashing, not only to view a fight, but in hopes of possibly picking up the estrous doe over which the two bucks are fighting. For this reason, rattling can bring-in bucks from the time the deer first go in to hard antler until the end of the second rut. Now that we’ve established what rattling is, I think that knowing why rattling sometimes doesn’t work in many southeastern states but is a productive method to call in bucks in Texas is important. However, rattling can be deadly effective in the East, even in the Southeast, if we can agree on certain principles of rattling.
Tomorrow: The Southeast Isn’t Texas