I want to address the most important aspect of rattling and hunting from the ground with your bow. Movement. When I was a rookie hunter, one of my mentors, Pastor Fred Soyring (RIP), always preached that if you want to see deer from your stand, movement was critical, or I should say, the lack of movement. This never left me, well, at least I know its value, but to be honest, I don’t always follow through!
There are many great videos on YouTube, and articles for learning the finer points of rattling in Whitetail bucks that I encourage you to find. They have been very helpful to me, but this hunting tip has one specific focus, concealing your movement while rattling and hunting on the ground.
The obvious approach to concealment is a ground blind. I have not used one myself, as I like to travel light, and be mobile, but I am thinking about buying a light-weight, carry-in model. The other option for ground hunters like myself, is locating good cover. I will discuss a few factors of using the terrain to your advantage.
Background foliage such as a downfall, or heavy brush is imperative, regardless of whether you are rattling or not. This breaks up your silhouette. But for rattling, you need to be sitting behind a fallen tree or some thick brush as well. Another option is to find a small ravine, or hole to drop down in to conceal your movement. Another good idea is to get tucked up next to a waterway, or set up on a steep hillside. This keeps deer traffic in front of you, and decreases the odds of getting busted from behind, but you should still try to have cover concealing your forward position for rattling motion. Also, when you are doing your winter and spring scouting, you can locate great ambush spots, and build some natural cover blinds to slip into when the season opens. Its just another great excuse to get in the woods! Think of it as scouting good tree stand locations, just on the ground.
This will give you some ideas to think about if you choose to become a ground hunter. It really ramps up the challenge of hunting, and those face to face encounters are intense.
So for a quick review, remember these key points in trying to rattle in bucks, and hunt from the ground. (1) Back ground brush or trees to break up your silhouette. (2) A downed tree, stump etc. in front of you works to hide your rattling sequence, and hunting movement. (3) Using terrain such as waterways and hillsides for taking advantage of natural deer funnels decreases your chances of being discovered.
God bless ya, and have fun hunting from the ground. There’s nothing like it!