The time is right for hunters to try to rattle in a buck. By tickling and clacking a pair of shed antlers together, or by using one of the commercial calls, hunters can bring in curious bucks before, during and after the rut. You may even call in a lonely bull elk, as one Eastern Montana hunter did. Techniques vary on whether the battle fakery needs to sound loud or soft, a lot may depend on how quietly the wind is blowing. Those imitating a big brawl, though, can snap branches and thump the ground with their boots to try and mimic the sound of an intense fight. Or maybe just barely clash the tines on a calm day and see if any curious deer poke their heads out. Colstrip hunter Jerry McPherson, who founded Montana Decoys, likes to set up two doe decoys in front of where he’s rattling. He said the decoys help calm approaching deer. One nice thing about rattling is that, if you’ve been hiking all day, it gives you an excuse to sit down and rest for a bit without feeling guilty for taking a break. And you may even call in a buck and fill your tag. Good luck.
(Written by Brett French-Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)
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