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Author Topic: Blacktail rattling 2019  (Read 4674 times)

Offline 3nails

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2019, 09:18:02 PM »
 Great idea to do it and great idea to share your efforts on here! I have been extremely successful rattling in whitetails and will not shoot one I didn't rattle in. Every year I tell myself that I'm going to give blacktail rattling a greater effort but I keep killing good bucks my old way and I'm too stubborn to change! I plan on changing that this year. If I don't kill a big one the first week I will give it a good effort starting around the 20th. I will also share how that goes.
 Last year was the first time in 24 years that I did not make it into the woods of Idaho or Montana with my rattling antlers. I blew a disc in my lower back requiring back surgery preventing my usual November hunt. My back feels great now and I have a tag for Montana. Maybe I feel extra motivated this year to rattle both due to withdrawals!
  I wouldn't start until you see some serious rub activity or signs of chasing otherwise it may seem unnatural to a mature buck. The blacktail bucks in my areas start showing strong aggressive behavior around the 20th which is why I picked that date.
 Post up your thoughts as you learn and I will too.      (Time for bed. My brain is done)
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Offline Pete112288

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2019, 10:49:42 PM »
I have done probably no less than 50-60 set ups with rattling for blacktail. I have had 1 come in once, and that was the first year I tried it (go figure) haha. But my thoughts are that it should be done when you know there is some rutting activity in the area. Rubs, bucks with does/chasing and such, etc. I start off pretty slow and quiet, I use the fake antlers and have cut the tips of the tines off to make them fit fully inside my pack. I just start with bumping them into eachother a little. Then once or twice I smack the ground to try to imitate deer stomping their feet. Other deer are very curious about fighting activity, does and young bucks will check it out. Thats how my 1 success story worked out. I pick up the volume after 2 or 3 min. Then pause at about 5 min and look around for 3-5 min. Then repeat a little more aggressively for 5-6 min. I work them together pretty good. You can mess with it till you get what sounds nice. I thump the ground with them quite a bit and will make a ruckus with the brush and such around me. I will do this on and off, mixing in a couple grunts later on for anywhere from 15 min to an hour depending on area and how I feel about the situation.
Here is the story of the one time that produced.
I was set up inside some big timber, behind me about 20 yards was where the big timber ended and thick jack firs started. I was on top of an 8 foot tall old growth stump that had a big tree growing out of the back of it, so it made for a nice improvised tree stand setup. I rattled for a few moments, thumped the antlers on the stump, where a root was, made a nice thump sound that carried through the woods well. After about 5-8 min I paused and looked around. Behind me came a doe. She had her head up and ears perked, looking all over the place, obviously worked up and searching for what the source of the fight was. Then about 30 feet behind her came a nice 3 point buck, he wouldnt stop chasing her no matter what i did. as they swung around I found a gap in the brush and dropped the buck on the move at about 25 yards.
Was a great experience. My opinion of it is make sure there is rutting activity and WATCH THE WIND! I also think they are more willing to come check it out when its not out in the pain open like a clear cut. Try to do it in the woods. and keep your head on a swivel, they can sneak on you pretty quick.

Offline slowhand

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2019, 10:58:26 PM »
Before I completely forget to do it let me tell you how my only rattle session went.
It was last season second day of modern rut season, Iím gonna guess November 14th or 15th. I went to one of my most confident locations. Iíll give it my best to describe the scenario and scene. Itís somewhat open with lots of tall old trees all around two sides are heavy reprod, above is a logging road that receives almost no traffic, and below is a very overgrown old clear cut.
Itís about 2 hours before sundown. Visibility was around 75 yards+ in any direction.
I found an old growth log that was large enough I could lean up against it and not be seen from below. I faced the logging road with it above me by 100+ yards. Reprod to my right and left. I chose this direction because the wind was coming from this direction. I waited a solid 30min after I had settled in and had everything I needed at my side (rattle bag, the can, a large stick and grunt tube).
Rifle across my lap.
I started with a doe bleat followed by a second about 1 min later. I waited watched and listened. I then rattled the rattle bag a little Followed by some hits to the ground with the large stick. More rattle bag with a second or two pause and then started in with the allout rattle of a big dog vs big dog fight. Rattle, big stick to the ground, intense rattle followed by more intense rattle. I would say I went for about 5 to 10 min then I sat as still as possible, listening and looking. I waited around 20 min for some form of response. Nothing? Well itís only my first try no big deal I thought.
I stood up and started very quietly picking up my gear and putting on my pack.
Once I was ready I started to head down wind as it was my exit direction.
I didnít take more then ten silent steps before I caught the rear portion of a very large bodied deer go crashing into the reprod.
Now Iím sure itís possible that it could of had nothing to do with the rattling.
Itís also possible that the deer rear quarter I saw run into the reprod could have been a doe
But I like to think that the Deer rear belonged to an old dominant Buck that was just smarter at this game than a first time Rattle hunter.
Itís also very possible from what I have read that it might have circled around to see what it smelled like where the rattle fight was coming from.
Itís impossible to say but I sure was encouraged to try this again.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 11:25:15 PM by slowhand »
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Offline AKmyles

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2019, 09:51:17 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences! I've only tied rattling a handful of times for black tails in Alaska, without much success. Despite seeing signs everywhere of them fighting.

Following along!
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Offline CavemantheHunter

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2019, 10:02:36 AM »
I rattled in a decent 2-point blacktail for my wife during the late buck last season. I let out 2-3 grunts and then did a 2-3 minute rattle session. Set the antlers down and pulled out the binos and a 2-point was standing 120 yards in the reprod looking at us (he wasn't there before). Down he went.

I have rattled in one other buck previously in thick reprod. He wouldn't show himself, though, just kept grunting and circling to catch my wind.

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2019, 12:09:10 AM »
I've rattled in a few - maybe six or seven, but never killed one that came in.  I've had them come in to twenty feet or so, but standing hidden behind reprod trees. Two bucks came in to the horns that day, within an hour of each other.  There is no science behind the perfect technique.  You just want to sound like two bucks going at it.  Hoof stomping, grunting, snort wheeze, can calls can all be a part of your technique.  Most hunters suggest just tickling the antlers in the pre-rut.  3-nails idea of waiting until you start finding rubs is not a terrible idea if you're after a wall-hanger.  After that point though, I'd recommend using the biggest antlers you can put your hands on and making as much noise as possible after a couple of more gentle sets of moderate rattling. 

It is important to stay hidden, and expect that the buck will come in from downwind.   You're hiding place should have an open view of the area downwind of you, because more often than not, they will circle and try to smell you first, unless they are already just wild with testosterone pumping.  Having a natural barrier, like a stream or rock wall that limits an approaching animal's direction in coming in is a great idea in concept, but hard to put into practice.  Rattle, stomp, grunt whatever, then glass and listen for movement.  Sometimes it may take a buck 30 minutes or more to get to your spot, so be patient.   If you know where your buck lives, then I wouldn't move for an hour or more once I started my rattling sets.    Good luck.
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Offline slowhand

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2019, 07:32:08 AM »
I've been reading up on adding scent to the setup. I'm going to set a perimeter of scent wicks around My hiding spot in hopes of creating a barrier or some level of attractant. My thought is that if the Buck is coming in and smells a strong deer smell it might give him that false sense of security required to get him to step into the open for a shot.  :hunter:
I assumed the Deer would come in from the upwind side (can't smell Me) but now you have Me thinking I should focus my attention to the down wind area. I don't disagree as this is where I ran into the Deer on My first and only setup.
Question for all the experienced rattlers reading. What time of the day have you had your success? Morning? Midday? evening?
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Offline fishnfur

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2019, 10:01:15 AM »
Morning is considered by many to be the "best" time, but anytime may turn out to be the real best answer.  The problem with just working one specific buck is that after an hour or so, if he hasn't come in, now what do you do?  Rattling can be overdone, and if the buck smelled you and you didn't realize you were busted, that buck has now been educated and will likely go the other way every time he hears rattling. 

A tree stand is a consideration, 'cause it gets your scent off the forest floor.  Whitetail hunters have good results rattling from above.  This might be your best bet.  Also, a two person set-up has been suggested.  Hunter number one hides well and is the rattler.   Hunter two hides 50 yards or so downwind of hunter one - he's the shooter.  At a predetermined time, perhaps 30 minutes after hiding and the woods have settled down, hunter one does a predetermined number of rattling sets.  Assuming the buck will come in from the downwind side, the second hunter should located close to where a buck might come in to try to wind whatever animals are suspected to be fighting in the woods.  If a buck comes straight in to hunter number one, he takes the shot.  If all fails, the two hunters move on to a new location and switch jobs. 

Scent use is an intriguing idea.  I keep thinking that retained/frozen forehead gland and tarsal glands from previous harvested bucks could be used to mark tree rubs or patches of ground in an area you are working, and would make perfect sense to a buck investigating rattling noises that he is smelling the funk of bucks that are in his territory.  This takes a lot of prior planning, previous success, and still leaves your human stench all over the same area you are marking.  During the peak of the chasing period, bucks tend to ignore human scent more than other less crazy periods.  That might be the time this type of setup could work.  ??  I've saved some glands in my freezer for just this use, but I'll be darned if I can find them!

Good luck!
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Offline slowhand

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2019, 10:11:38 AM »
I like the two hunter team idea. This would have worked well for Me in My first setup. I have just the man for the Job hunting with Me this weekend. We are planning for an all day Saturday hunt up in My Best spot.
I want to do two setups, one mid day and one couple hour before sunset. I can't help but stick to My old run and gun ways early in the morning.
I'm also going to try one rattle setup where My Son saw the monster opening morning last year. Not in the clearing but back in the thick stuff.
Light rattling only. 
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Offline MountainTracker

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2019, 12:10:59 PM »
Good thread here.  Iíve had success using the tactics 3nails has talked about before in ID.  Iíve tried to reproduce the same success on BT but have yet to do so.  I do think I need to be closer to a core breeding area or travel corridor to be more successful.  However I was able to harvest a good BT a couple years back when I was climbing a steep wet slope and was using my hiking sticks.  The tips sounded like light sparing whenever they would hit the ground.  The deer appeared above me starring down at me, almost like he came to investigate what the noise was about.  This was in the morning and I had knowledge of deer traveling through that area.  It almost seems like BT will sneak in unlike the WT Iíve rattled in who come running.


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Offline predatorG

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2019, 01:11:52 PM »
It is important to stay hidden, and expect that the buck will come in from downwind. 

This is generally true, but it reminded me of an Elk hunting podcast I listened to once. It was ElkNut saying that when elk are calling to each other, they never circle downwind to check if it's an Elk, Because they know its another Elk! The only reason for an elk to circle downwind of you is if you messed up in your calling and they got suspicious. I would assume that the same thing works for deer. No deer coming naturally to a fight will circle downwind, because he knows its other bucks he's responding to. The only reason that a buck would circle on you is if you did something suspicious that hes not sure about. Obviously no one is perfect, and blacktail rattling is relatively new, but once people get more proficient they should not expect anymore for the majority of deer to circle on them. That is just my theory. I've only rattled a couple times. Once I had a doe walk right up to me at about 10 yard with 2 fawns, and then walk away. The other time I watched a big buck simply ignore me, but it was pretty early in the season.

Do people like 3nails struggle with getting circled? I'd love some input on whether or not its true that the better you get the less you get circled, and I think its pretty obvious hes about as good as it gets.
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Offline slowhand

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2019, 01:35:27 PM »
It is important to stay hidden, and expect that the buck will come in from downwind. 

This is generally true, but it reminded me of an Elk hunting podcast I listened to once. It was ElkNut saying that when elk are calling to each other, they never circle downwind to check if it's an Elk, Because they know its another Elk! The only reason for an elk to circle downwind of you is if you messed up in your calling and they got suspicious. I would assume that the same thing works for deer. No deer coming naturally to a fight will circle downwind, because he knows its other bucks he's responding to. The only reason that a buck would circle on you is if you did something suspicious that hes not sure about. Obviously no one is perfect, and blacktail rattling is relatively new, but once people get more proficient they should not expect anymore for the majority of deer to circle on them. That is just my theory. I've only rattled a couple times. Once I had a doe walk right up to me at about 10 yard with 2 fawns, and then walk away. The other time I watched a big buck simply ignore me, but it was pretty early in the season.

Do people like 3nails struggle with getting circled? I'd love some input on whether or not its true that the better you get the less you get circled, and I think its pretty obvious hes about as good as it gets.

Can We get some additional information on the buck that ignored You? I want to learn as much as I can from each described encounter as I can.
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Offline predatorG

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2019, 01:45:21 PM »
It is important to stay hidden, and expect that the buck will come in from downwind. 

This is generally true, but it reminded me of an Elk hunting podcast I listened to once. It was ElkNut saying that when elk are calling to each other, they never circle downwind to check if it's an Elk, Because they know its another Elk! The only reason for an elk to circle downwind of you is if you messed up in your calling and they got suspicious. I would assume that the same thing works for deer. No deer coming naturally to a fight will circle downwind, because he knows its other bucks he's responding to. The only reason that a buck would circle on you is if you did something suspicious that hes not sure about. Obviously no one is perfect, and blacktail rattling is relatively new, but once people get more proficient they should not expect anymore for the majority of deer to circle on them. That is just my theory. I've only rattled a couple times. Once I had a doe walk right up to me at about 10 yard with 2 fawns, and then walk away. The other time I watched a big buck simply ignore me, but it was pretty early in the season.

Do people like 3nails struggle with getting circled? I'd love some input on whether or not its true that the better you get the less you get circled, and I think its pretty obvious hes about as good as it gets.

Can We get some additional information on the buck that ignored You? I want to learn as much as I can from each described encounter as I can.

Sure. I was down deep in a hole that I knew had some deer in it. It was about 10 minutes after sunrise but still super dark in there. I had got there about 30 minutes before sunrise, so right at legal shooting light. I had settled in and could hear stuff moving, but where I was was super thick and honestly a terrible spot to set up. I gave it a soft grunt, and then heard one to my left and one to my right. This was early in archery season so sometime in september. Watched 2 big bodied bucks walk from below me up past me about 50 yards to the right, but it was so thick (and dark) I didn't have a shot. I don't really rember which year this happened, but i ended up shooting a buck out of a stand either a week later or a year later  :chuckle: it all kinda runs together. The buck I shot was a decently sexy forky, but theres a masher in there thats been evading us for 3 years.
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Offline fishnfur

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2019, 12:43:23 AM »
Hey!  Predator G takes a break from the books and makes an appearance!  How's college young man?  Are you coming home to hunt this season?

Regarding rattling during the opener, I would just say that I have never had a deer respond to rattling prior to the season opener, and it was likely a week after that that the earliest buck moved in response to the horns -somewhere around the 20th.   During the end of the muzzy week one season, I could hear bucks about 75 yards or so deeper in the woods sparring towards last light.  I did three sets of rattling and they showed no interest in my attempts.  Totally unresponsive.

 The deer are curious to what is going on when they hear rattling.  One of my graduate level college books on Mule Deer and BT deer states that the deer act like kids running to see a fight when they hear the antlers banging between two sparring deer.  That remark was made regarding Mule Deer, though I suppose it happens in the BT world as well, though I've never seen it.  From Pred. G.'s story about the doe and fawn showing up after rattling, that may be exactly what happened in that case.  Regardless, I consider rattling to be a quality tactic to consider in the last 10 or so days of October.  If I was chasing a big buck in the early season, I'd save that tactic till his hormones are raging a bit more, say the last week of October.  I'd guess that you're only going to get one chance to get it right on that buck, so timing is of the essence.   

Let us know how it turns out.   
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Offline Okanagan

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Re: Blacktail rattling 2019
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2019, 06:58:04 AM »
Lotta good stuff in this thread.  It is interesting to see us collectively sift clues, consider theories and figure out a relatively new way to hunt. 

Will add only one oddball tale:

My first try at rattling blacktails I used a large set of mule deer 3x3 antlers, long tines and heavy.  At first grey light I spotted a spike blacktail on a brushy hillside 125 yards below me, totally unaware of me.  Wind was quartering him to me.  At the first clack of antlers the spike instantly raised his head to stare, and did not move.  I was in full camo including face, body and hands behind solid brush from him, looking through a lace of brush.  After several minutes of off and on rattling, the young buck lowered his head and sneaked away in the opposite direction.  It appeared that he wanted no part of bucks with antlers as big as those sounded. :)

 


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