Rattle Bag VS Antlers

Calcoyote

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
69
Location
Oregon
I realize that this is early season and the time to rattle won't start for another few weeks.

I use a rattle bag because in my opinion it is not as bulky as carrying antlers. How significant is the difference? I have rattled up some bucks with a rattle bag and been successful in harvesting a buck using them, but am I missing out by not using real antlers?

I have done my fair share of predator calling over the years and found that stand site selection, setup, and attention to wind direction seems to be more important than what brand of call is used. In fact, I know guys that have called in coyotes using nothing more than their voice to imitate a cottontail, but what works for coyotes might not translate into Whitetail hunting. Please give me your thoughts.
 

FrankAbagnale

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
171
I am not even close to an expert. Not even an amateur really, but I did just switch from the bag to some black rack antlers. My thought process is they’ll be louder and that seems to be the case testing them out around the house.
 

WCB

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
2,485
just my .02 but I have had far better luck with real antlers. You don't need a giant set...cut the brow tines off and even the tips of each tine an inch or so. The strap right against my pack and imo add no real bulk. But if you have desirable results with your rattle bag you probably have no reason to change.
 

4ckb

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2022
Messages
18
Haven't ever had much luck with rattling although I'll call and decoy a lot over the next two months. I do carry a black rack with me on each hunting starting in a week or two, though.
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
1,448
Location
Western Iowa
I've used both with varying degrees of success. However, the real horns sound better and have called in more mature bucks for me. The rattle bags tend to sound "clinky" vs. the solid cracks from real horns. I carry an unnecessarily large set of heavy horns, but I like the tone from the thick bones.
 

huntngolf

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
121
Definitely a sound difference from the bag vs real horns. Like the guy above said, the real horns have a loud crack to them when you first bang them together, hard to achieve that with a rattle bag. I think if you're rattling in areas where sound and deer will cover long distances (prairie type areas) real horns will work better. Type areas (heavy thick timber) where deer are likely gonna be a close distance to start with a rattle bag will probably work ok. Personally I use real horns every time
 

rebels20

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
20
Havent noticed a real difference here in the mountains of East Tn. I mainly carry a rattle bag just for sake of ease vs horns.
 

TSAMP

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
872
rattling antlers are a status symbol, like truck tires. Guys rattle a set of 160s just to let you know how accomplished they are. I have a small 8 pt set I've used the last 10 years and do fine.

I believe real antlers allow you more versatility. Tickle them or really bust out a sequence. It's a long range and short range tool. The bags lack the long range versatility. Although admittedly antlers for me work best as a close range tool. A slight tickle gets a bucks attention and closes a 100 yard shot to 20. If I smash out a Mozart symphony I generally get response from only from juveniles coming in hot to see a fight, not participate.

I dont really see a benefit of a fake antler.
 

Outlaw99

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
747
rattling antlers are a status symbol, like truck tires. Guys rattle a set of 160s just to let you know how accomplished they are. I have a small 8 pt set I've used the last 10 years and do fine.

I believe real antlers allow you more versatility. Tickle them or really bust out a sequence. It's a long range and short range tool. The bags lack the long range versatility. Although admittedly antlers for me work best as a close range tool. A slight tickle gets a bucks attention and closes a 100 yard shot to 20. If I smash out a Mozart symphony I generally get response from only from juveniles coming in hot to see a fight, not participate.

I dont really see a benefit of a fake antler.

I disagree. Mature bucks aren’t interested in the school boys rough housing. I know this as I’ve witnessed it on numerous sits. Big bucks feel threatened from other big bucks. I’m not saying one needs 160” sheds to rattle in big bucks. I am saying that heavy, solid antlers with some solid sound behind them make all the difference in the world.
 

peaches

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
54
Please don't use either in the Midwest. It rarely works with mature deer, and it's annoying as heck to hear a rattling sequence and some goof honking on
a grunt tube every 5 mins.
 

fishslap

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
682
Location
Longmont, CO
Please don't use either in the Midwest. It rarely works with mature deer, and it's annoying as heck to hear a rattling sequence and some goof honking on
a grunt tube every 5 mins.
I’ve killed three bucks from the ground in Missouri hardwood forests still hunting while blowing a grunt tube and hitting a doe bleat periodically. I felt like it helped.
 

peaches

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
54
I’ve killed three bucks from the ground in Missouri hardwood forests still hunting while blowing a grunt tube and hitting a doe bleat periodically. I felt like it helped.
Yes, a grunt tube will move a younger buck, a mature deer will look for the buck and then move off. Grunting is best used with a decoy placed 30 yds down from where you want to shoot.

Calling isn't nearly effective as it was 15 years ago. Deer also look up a LOT more than they used to.
 

ForkieLivesMatter

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
10
Location
West Virginia
I tried and didn’t have success with a rattle bag, I have synthetic antlers similar to the black rack and have called a few in. Calling is effective in places with a good buck to doe ratio. If there’s tons of does for every buck in the area I think calling is extremely ineffective. The rut isn’t as intense and the bucks don’t have to fight over does or move very far to find one
 

TSAMP

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
872
I disagree. Mature bucks aren’t interested in the school boys rough housing. I know this as I’ve witnessed it on numerous sits. Big bucks feel threatened from other big bucks. I’m not saying one needs 160” sheds to rattle in big bucks. I am saying that heavy, solid antlers with some solid sound behind them make all the difference in the world.
I suppose small is subjective. Probably should have been more descriptive. I think there is validity to what your saying, but it works with aggressive dominant bucks, in certain scenarios. I've watched mature deer tuck tail and scoot out when antlers clash.

I think moral of the story is, Real antlers over bagged antlers everyday. Unless space is a premium, but know your baggy is less versatile, and doesn't look cool at all.
 

Bkelly

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
14
I definitely prefer real antlers. I have tried both and have had better luck with the real stuff.
 

JjamesIII

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
169
Location
Ohio
I realize that this is early season and the time to rattle won't start for another few weeks.

I use a rattle bag because in my opinion it is not as bulky as carrying antlers. How significant is the difference? I have rattled up some bucks with a rattle bag and been successful in harvesting a buck using them, but am I missing out by not using real antlers?

I have done my fair share of predator calling over the years and found that stand site selection, setup, and attention to wind direction seems to be more important than what brand of call is used. In fact, I know guys that have called in coyotes using nothing more than their voice to imitate a cottontail, but what works for coyotes might not translate into Whitetail hunting. Please give me your thoughts.
The biggest set of antlers you can get your hands on. I noticed a big difference in the deer I’d call in. I used the bags, then a set of smaller 8 point antlers- I was about to give up on ever rattling again because all I ever got to come in was an occasional dink buck. I found a 150 class heavy horned dead buck and started to use those antlers. It’s made a very big difference in the response rate and size of deer I call in.
 

Latest posts

Featured Video

Stats

Threads
256,778
Messages
2,652,739
Members
62,238
Latest member
chrisk
Top