Until the rut kicks in, keep calling, rattling low key

Video pre rut rattling
Rattling during the pre-rut should be understated; you’re just trying to get a traveling buck’s attention, not bring him in snorting, looking for a fight. (Photo by Jeff Burleson)
Rattling during the pre-rut should be understated; you’re just trying to get a traveling buck’s attention, not bring him in snorting, looking for a fight. (Photo by Jeff Burleson)

Pro staffer says pre-rut vocalization, rattling is just to get a buck’s attention

Few people in the hunting industry would ever describe Marshall Collette as “understated.”

The big, garrulous hunter, a long-time pro staff member for companies like Mossy Oak and Quaker Boy, is rarely at a loss for words or opinions.

But on the subject of attracting deer during the pre-rut period in October, Collette is more likely to go with “understated” as a description for his calling and rattling tactics.

“October is a little early, I think, for real aggressive calling,” he said. “All I’m trying to do is get their attention and get them moving my way.”

Collette said he’s more apt to do a little doe-calling with a Quaker Boy Bleat-in-Heat can call or grunting on a Swashbuckler grunt call, but he’s not going to be do any calling that might be taken as a challenge to bring in a dominant buck for a fight.

“I’m just grunting to get their attention; I won’t take it to the next level until … when you start to see some chasing,” Collette said. “I want to watch them and watch their body language: That will tell me how aggressive I should be.”

Rattling horns

He’ll take a set of rattling horns with him every time he climbs into a tree stand, but this month he’s not rattling hard to try to draw bucks in to watch a fight over a doe — he’s just wanting to crank up a little curiosity on their part.

“I will do some light rattling, just tickling the antlers,” Collette said. “If I get a good, cool morning or afternoon, I might try to get a little more aggressive.

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“Again, I’m get trying to get a buck’s attention, to get him interested and coming my way.”

As far as scents are concerned, Collette keeps it simple. He doesn’t make any mock scrapes or drip glandular scents around rubbed trees. Instead, he soaks a drag rag in Tink’s 69 scent so he leaves a scent trail going into his stand, and he uses scent to cover his own aroma.

“I wear a pair of L.L. Bean 16-inch hunting shoes — the ones with rubber bottoms — and I’ll cut a strip of T-shirt and tie it to the laces (of his shoes), let it hang down 4 or 5 inches. I’ll soak it in Tink’s 69 and walk in,” Collette said. “When I get to my stand, I’ll walk around it. I’ll loop to the left and loop to the right around the tree. If I walk straight in, they’ll walk straight in. I want them to go around the sides of my tree and show themselves.

“Once I get in my stand, I’ll spray the new Tink’s aerosol to get the aroma in the air and help cover up my own scent. I don’t mess with any rubs or scrapes or hanging stuff. I’ll get some wicks out once the rut gets here, but October is too early.”

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>