Unique Tactics for Rattling and Decoying

Bill Pellegrino took the antlers off this full-mount decoy to lure his buck into bow range.

I carry a unique set of rattling antlers that always seems to draw a little harassment from my hunting buddies -- until they try them. I use a heavy, 5-point whitetail antler along with a stubby, 3-point elk antler. I like the combination because I can really make a ton of noise when I want to. Being able to project the sound of battle into far-reaching places has worked well for me in the past, and it did again on this trip. Bill poked some fun at me when he first saw the odd-looking pair, but after watching a buck run toward my position one noisy, windblown afternoon, he was looking to replace his own smallish rattling rack.

Now that I taught Bill a thing or two about rattling, it was his turn to unveil a new, secret weapon. Just prior to leaving for Iowa, Bill's taxidermist completed a full-body doe mount Bill planned to use as a decoy. He then had another friend weld a lightweight frame beneath the decoy so it could be firmly planted in the ground. A spindly pair of detachable antlers was also furnished so the decoy could be used as a doe or a small buck. On the drive to Iowa, we named the decoy Sally, which was shortened to Sal with the antlers installed.


Now, I've seen many mass-produced decoys work fantastically, but this ultra-realistic decoy worked better than any I've ever seen! One afternoon, Bill and I set up on opposite ends of a five-acre alfalfa field. I could see his position from my perch, and I watched him place Sal (antlers installed) approximately 20 yards in front of the giant oak that hosted his treestand. As the evening passed, I observed in amazement as every deer that entered that field marched straight over to investigate Bill's new decoy.


BOWHUNTING Associate Publisher Danny Farris has found lots of success with this unusual set of rattling antlers, which features one whitetail antler and one elk antler. Farris says this allows him to really make a racket and send the sounds of a simulated buck fight a long way -- something that can be particularly helpful on windy days.

Does and bucks alike paraded in front of his stand, and incredibly, none of them spooked. One young buck even approached Sal head-to-head and began licking his antlers! I told Bill having that decoy was like having his own deer magnet. I don't know if the secret is in the realistic-looking eyes or in the decoy being covered with actual deer hair. Whatever it was, it was awesome.

Shortly after arriving home, I took the full-body cape of my Iowa doe to my taxidermist and told him I wanted to have a decoy made. After witnessing Bill's success with his mounted decoy, the cost would be a small sacrifice for such an effective whitetail-hunting weapon.


Later, I discovered Primos Hunting Calls has introduced Harry -- a new, hair-on deer decoy that retails for far less than what I'm paying for a full-body doe mount. Although the decoy doesn't use real deer hair, it certainly looks very realistic. So, anyone who is interested might consider giving the Primos version a try.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

"Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg and Mathews design engineer Mark Hayes talk the smooth, quiet and fast shooting qualities of the new flagship Vertix bow from the Wisconsin bowmaker.

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Kevin Steele and the boys are bowhunting turkeys with the help of some well-placed decoys.

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Designed exclusively for their crossbows, Ravin has announced three new mechanical broadheads to maximize penetration and overall performance.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Top New Arrows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show!

Check out our top picks for the best new mechanical broadheads to debut at the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

New Mechanical Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

Check out our top picks for the best new mechanical broadheads to debut at the 2019 ATA Show!

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane.

 Good broadhead flight How-To

4 Steps to Perfect Broadhead Flight

Bowhunting Online Staff

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane. Good...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

It's not just genetics that determine the size of your bucks. Whitetail

Big Antlers Start in the Soil

Dr. Grant Woods

It's not just genetics that determine the size of your bucks.

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

Work now to see and kill more deer this fall. Whitetail

Fall Food-Plot Planting Guide

Jason Snavely

Work now to see and kill more deer this fall.

Late winter and early spring are perfect for penetrating sanctuary spots and gathering intel. Whitetail

Maximize Your Scouting

Levi Morgan

Late winter and early spring are perfect for penetrating sanctuary spots and gathering intel.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now