Tips & Tactics

Rattling & The Be-Bold Mindset

Rattling & The Be-Bold Mindset

By Willard Sullivan

Photo: Whether bowhunting or firearm hunting, many hunters are losing their fear of rattling.

I have a story I’d like to share with Buckmasters fans. What happened inspired more of a mindset than a tip, and it’s incredibly worthwhile.

Last season, I watched a massive-bodied buck appear across the property line and, at first, I simply hoped it would come my way.

The old boy was with a doe, following her slowly, tending to her and bedding when she bedded. Obviously, the buck was waiting patiently for her to come into estrus.

Since I didn’t have permission to hunt that land, and plenty of time to wait, I set up my old 20-X spotting scope and watched those deer.

After a while, I’d had enough, and decided to be proactive and try rattling to possibly convince the buck to come my way. Yes, I realized the deer had more important things on his mind, but I had nothing to lose.

I ranged the buck at 560 yards — a seemingly impossible distance — and tried several rattling sequences for more than an hour. Other than getting up to stretch from time to time, and to stare in my direction, there was no response from the buck.

Finally, the doe got up and headed slowly toward a wooded patch which was on our property. I quickly decided to be proactive again and make a bold move to close the distance to less than 200 yards.

I raced over and hurriedly set up behind some scrub brush in the wood lot, then rattled again when I saw the buck was still in the field.

After a couple of sequences, the buck decided it was time to check things out, because it looked my way, sped up and hopped across the fence to enter the same woodlot I was hiding in.

Now, I couldn’t see the buck clearly, so I shifted a few feet again as its hindquarters dissolved into the thick brush. Then I tickled the antlers again.

All of a sudden, a different mature buck came directly toward me on a dead run, attracted by the sound of my antlers clashing. I actually had to allow the deer to veer around me in order to find a clear shot.

To my surprise, the monster buck I’d watched all morning burst past, chasing the first buck. I’d really stirred things up!

I shifted focus back to this buck, sweeping my crosshairs across its chest until the reticles were slightly ahead, then squeezed off a shot. The deer went right down!

I eased over to it and realized it was indeed the same giant I’d watched earlier.

It tipped the scales at 265 pounds, with a fat 10-point rack that scored 148-inches!

So, what’s the lesson? It has two takeaways: In whitetail hunting, there are times you need to be bold. This was certainly one of them. Also, don’t be afraid to rattle. It really works!

Editor’s Note: If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd