This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: During the pre-rut and rut rattling is a technique many hunters use to replicate the sound of two bucks fighting. And that sound is a big attraction to other deer in the area.
GRANT: Bucks often fight when a receptive doe is near; so rattling not only communicates a couple of bucks in the area, but a receptive doe.
GRANT: Research has shown that the most intense fights often occur between bucks that are three years old or older and are approximately the same size.
GRANT: GrowingDeer Pro Staffer Cody Kraut was hunting in Illinois when he recently used the rattling technique.
CODY: (Whispering) Well, it is October 27th today and I am so excited to be in a tree. Things are really starting to heat up in Illinois. I finally got to lay eyes on one of our hit list bucks; so it’s good to see that he’s breaking daylight. And we’re just one step closer to getting a shot at him.
CODY: (Whispering) I set up in a tree where I was able to park and slip right down into a creek. And I was able to walk that creek all the way to the base of this tree. And right behind the camera, there is thick timber that opens up real big and it’s an awesome bedding area.
CODY: (Whispering) This is just a natural corridor to get to and from the bedding. So I think we’ll definitely be able to catch some deer coming along this hillside. And I should be able to get a shot right to my left here.
CODY: (Whispering) We’ve got a big bean field that’s new this year. It was a bunch of little trees, little cottonwood trees last year. But what I’m excited about — I’ve got a north/northeast wind and my wind is going straight for the creek. And it’s just catching the creek and just riding on out. So a buck could be in that bedding area following this thin strip of trees and think he has the wind in his favor but he’s just missing my wind as long as the wind stays true.
CODY: (Whispering) Anything’s possible, so we’re gonna hang tight and, hopefully, we can make it happen today.
CODY: (Whispering) I think I’m going to go ahead and give rattling a shot. It’s about that time of year. Who knows, maybe we’ll get one of these mature bucks up on their feet a little earlier.
GRANT: Just minutes after rattling he spotted a mature buck at the far end of the plot.
GRANT: This buck’s attention was obviously focused on the source of the rattling.
GRANT: He fed on beans but he kept looking across the field trying to find those bucks.
GRANT: He started walking across the field but stopped every now and then looking south.
GRANT: As the buck began skirting the field, Cody rattled again.
GRANT: The buck began moving across the field at a faster pace.
GRANT: The buck then left the field in a northeast corner.
GRANT: About five minutes after he left the field, Cody spotted him in the timber.
GRANT: The buck was walking toward the top of a small hill, so Cody gave a snort/wheeze call. And if you’re not familiar, that’s a call bucks make when they’re very aggressive when they’re getting ready to fight.
GRANT: The buck turned and started approaching Cody’s stand.
GRANT: He stopped just 20 yards away from Cody. You never know exactly what a deer is thinking, but it seems obvious he was looking for the source of rattling and that snort/wheeze call.
GRANT: Even though Cody opted not to use his buck tag, this hunt provides several great lessons about rattling and buck behavior.
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GRANT: I wanted to use onX on the desktop to break down this hunt and explain this buck’s behavior.
GRANT: During this hunt the wind was coming from the north. Cody approached his stand by walking up this creek from the south. The stand was just a couple of yards off the creek.
GRANT: Since the stand was only a couple yards from the creek, the wind direction and later the thermals were taking Cody’s scent right down the creek channel. This was a great setup because Cody knew where his scent was going. It was going in a creek channel, not likely to be many deer crossing that creek channel given the size of the creek. And he creates a bottleneck or a funnel.
GRANT: We look at the field here – beans. Deer are feeding in the beans; this ag field pinching in. He creates a little pinch point and this is the natural way to get around there given the bend in the creek at this time.
GRANT: So we’ve got a field here, but a deep creek — it’s not that much water, but deep banks coming through here. Deer want to be feeding in here — this current stand of beans. They’re kind of pinched in by this open field. This is an easy way to get there right within range of his stand.
GRANT: This type of setup – knowing where your scent is going and it’s very unlikely that deer are going to cross your scent stream – is a great setup to use the blind calling technique.
GRANT: Blind calling simply means you’re calling. You’re trying to attract deer, but you don’t know where they are. You haven’t seen them. And when you do this in maybe just a flat patch of woods or somewhere where there’s not this funnel or bottleneck, then deer can easily circle around that call trying to get a scent of those deer before approaching. And when they do, of course, they cut your scent and the game is over.
GRANT: Cody’s first rattling sequence was blind calling. He didn’t know that deer was in the area. I mean, he knew there were some bucks in the area, but he didn’t know that specific deer was that close.
GRANT: So, he beat the antlers together and the buck entered this field from this patch of timber.
GRANT: As common, this buck didn’t just charge all the way down to Cody’s stand. You wouldn’t either. If you heard a big fight, you might get close enough to kind of see who is fighting in the hallway at high school, but you don’t run right in because you don’t know exactly what’s going on. You kind of keep your distance.
GRANT: That’s common in other species, too. So this buck entered the field, ate a little bit, but was looking south towards where Cody was rattling.
GRANT: If the buck would have entered the field, heard there was a fight going on and charged straight across here, it’s probably a little bit less than 200 yards.
GRANT: But by taking the safe approach, moving across here, taking a bite or two, and looking to the south frequently, getting in the timber. We don’t know exactly where it went. But if it took a straight path, that’s 300 yards.
GRANT: The buck went half again as far to make a safe entry to the area versus charging right in.
GRANT: It’s important to remember the number one objective of any deer is to survive. And this buck took a safe approach to get into the area where it thought two bucks were fighting.
GRANT: When the buck entered the timber and worked its way down, I’m sure it was playing a little peek-a-boo using cover and yet trying to see the two bucks that were fighting. Just as importantly, I’m sure it was using its nose. It was trying to get downwind of the sound of these bucks fighting so it would probably be able to identify those bucks based on their scent.
GRANT: This is an important consideration, especially for those of us that hunt in thick habitat. Maybe this is all timber, not open fields, or timber and steep terrain.
GRANT: In those situations, it’s easy for a buck to use the cover of the habitat or the terrain to circle around, get downwind of us, leave the area and we don’t even know a buck responded to the calls.
GRANT: Calling can be a very effective technique to bring bucks within bow range. But the setup, like Cody had, is just as important as the calls.
GRANT: Cody had a great hunt. He opted not to add any venison to his freezer during this hunt, but he certainly increased his knowledge of how deer behave in certain setups.
GRANT: I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation and, most importantly, I hope you take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.