October 14, 2021
You can rattle in whitetail bucks from September through the end of December, but the annual rut season is the best time to use them in your deer-hunting strategy.
During the last two weeks of October is when the testosterone in a fight-seeking buck peaks, but does are not yet ready to mate.
The first two weeks of November is good for rattling, too, because the very first few does are coming into heat, and bucks come running to the sound.
In the above Rut Crash Course video, entitled "Rattling Tactics," host Mark Kayser shares why the rut is the peak time to use rattles, and what to know about them in order to make your efforts pay off in the deer woods.
What Size Matters?
Big antlers look awesome and they make great noise but they take up backpack space. And if the antlers are too small, bucks may not hear them, or they'll get ignored altogether.
"You want a set that's approximately 130, maybe up to 140 inches in size to make the right amount of noise," Kayser said.
If you don't do antlers or don't want to smash your thumbs, a rattling cage sounds good and packs easily.
Distance, Volume, Time
Generally, 200 yards or more away from bucks is ideal for rattling; you don't want to be too close. However, ambient noise from wind, snow or other things may compel you to get closer. (Watch the video for specifics.)
As far as volume control, "Be loud, especially if that deer is out there,” Kayser said.
Rattle for about a minute to mimic males fighting, wait 10 minutes, then rattle again.
Learn much more in this Crash Course video.