Equal Sex Ratios Make For Rattling Fun

Rick B. from West Virginia writes to ask about calling and rattling deer. “Why can I get deer to come to rattling when I bowhunt in Iowa, and if I hunt the same time period in West Virginia, I almost never get any response?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Rick, I’ve covered some of this before, but it bears repeating. Sex ratios play a major role in determining how often bucks react to rattling or grunting or snort-wheezing. And sex ratios also play a major role in the use of scrapes and how often bucks come to scrapes and rubs. This is especially true for the scrapes and rubs that are used year-after-year.

Think about it. The more does per buck that are out there, the less competition bucks have for those does. The closer the sex ratio is to one-to-one, the more competition. With that competition comes high responses to rattling and calling. And with good sex ratios, bucks have to work those scrapes and go to rubs more often. They’ll also respond to decoys better, too. 

It is all about mating does and competition for those does. That’s why I bowhunt states (in my retired life when I can travel) that have really good sex ratios. The county I hunt in Kansas has less than two mature does for each mature buck. You don’t see anywhere near the deer you see in West Virginia, but what fun to bowhunt there!

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com‘s content at tkachero@sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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