The rut is about to explode and you need to be aggressive to lure in that monster buck in your area.
When the temperature starts to drop and store shelves sit empty of buck lure, it's safe to say that the rut is about to explode.
It seems like second nature to so many hunters to break out the buck lure, a few scent wicks and blow on the grunt tube a few times; yet, rattling seems like something only for television. Regardless of the doe to buck ratio or age of the bucks in your area, rattling at the right time can tip the odds in your favor and help to bring out a weary buck.
It's time to break out the antlers and shake up the woods.
1. Easy does it.
One of the biggest misconceptions when using rattling antlers is to create the biggest heavy-weight fight in the entire county. Hitting the antlers together as hard as possible isn't as important as generating a fight from start to finish, which will spark curiosity throughout the woods.
Start off by lightly hitting the tips of the two antlers together and then gradually work the rest of the antlers into the sequence. Keep in mind that sounding like a pair of immature bucks might draw in a few smaller bucks first, but don't view this as a bad thing.
The more bucks coming together in one area will eventually help lure out the big guy.
2. Take breaks and start again.
Much like using a grunt tube, being successful at rattling in a big buck is about creating a scene.
Once you've begun your rattling sequence, continue it for 30-45 seconds and take a break for a minute or two. After a couple of minutes has elapsed, start rattling again.
Continuing this sequence 3-5 times will be enough to convince an elusive buck in the area that two young guns are going at it about something. He won't be able to keep himself away.
3. Rake a tree.
Having that trusty set of antlers in your pack can be used for much more than just rattling.
Using both antlers, rake the tree bark that you're sitting next to a couple of times to sound like a buck making a fresh rub. If you're on the ground, get the antlers into a small bush or sapling to create a thrashing sound.
The key with using brush or bark around you is not to create excess movement as interested bucks will pick up on that while they're making their way to your location. The dominant buck in the area won't be able to stand that another buck is making rubs in his zone.
4. Watch your wind.
Bucks listening to the sounds of clashing antlers will be expecting to smell other bucks in the area that they're coming to.
The majority of bucks will want to approach the fight from the downwind direction, so be aware of the wind while rattling. To help fool him even more, now is a great time to use doe-in-heat or buck urine scents to help bring him in close for a shot.
Being as realistic as possible when using rattling antlers is most important. As tempting as it can be to whack two antlers together to sound like a couple of 170-class deer, remember that too much action can spook bucks away, as they can be threatened by two really mature bucks.
Good luck hitting the horns this season and be on the lookout for bucks coming in to watch a fight.