Skip to main content

The Rattle Battle: Best Whitetail Rattling System This Season

The Rattle Battle: Best Whitetail Rattling System This Season

When I started this field test, I was looking for four things: realistic sound, durability, affordability, and easy-to-carry ergonomics. The first criterion being the most important by far...the other three simply don't matter if you're rattling the wrong tune.

These five whitetail rattling systems will have you calling in rut-crazed bucks with the best of them:

Cabela's Real Rack

It stands to reason that every hunter should be rattling with real bone. Of course, most of us can go for a walk on the food plot and happen upon a set of sheds for this purpose, but there are those that don't have the time or the property to find sheds that crash together in perfect unison. That's where Cabela's comes in.

They buy sheds from Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico game farms, burn in their logo, and attach a paracord lanyard. Even though no two sets are alike, the pair we received was easily the best sounding of our five tested options, and they should last forever. But the Real Rack isn't cheap, which will be a problem for every deer hunter I know.

Bottom Line: You'll have to drop four times the price of competitors' offerings, but a real, honest sound is worth its weight in bone.

Price: $100

Flextone Black Rack

The Black Rack produced some great authentic rattling in the field during testing. In fact, it might have been the most effective rattling system of the manmade bunch. The Black Rack features a foam core throughout that Flextone has dubbed Bone-Core Technology, which combines with a full rack design to produce realistic tones.

While rather clunky and less intuitive than a rattle bag or real set of antlers, the Black Rack is versatile and can create just about any rattling sequence you need from sparring to a full-on territorial throwdown. Just be sure to take some time to learn how to work with the two separate full racks. Flextone has a great reputation with deer hunters, and the Black Rack should only elevate their standing.

Bottom Line: The Black Rack makes up for a rather clunky design by producing super-realistic sounds.

Price: $25

H.S. Ruttin' Buck Rattling Bag

For rattling bag fans, the Hunter's Specialties Ruttin' Buck version is a solid choice. Real solid. The oversized rattling system was the loudest of our test, echoing through the timber with authority on a cool November Illinois rut hunt. It comes with a durable bag filled with sturdy wooden rods, a lanyard, and a silencer strap for quiet transportation.

The only complaint from testing came when trying to produce a subtle, less aggressive battle. The bag's rods don't really respond to a light roll of the hands, so it can be difficult to change volumes. But when the time is right and bucks are ready to fight, this bag will do the job. Not to mention the Ruttin' Buck bag leaves the smallest dent in your wallet.

Bottom Line: This easy-to-use rattle bag is a great option, though not as versatile or compact as others.

Price: $15

Knight & Hale Da' Bonehead

Knight & Hale recently rolled out Da' Bonehead, a 'designer version ' of the company's popular Pack Rack offering. I'd been using the Pack Rack for a few years to great results, so I was pretty confident in this dressed-up model. Da' Bonehead looks kind of cool, I'll admit, and it's the lightest and most compact system in the test.

Bang the two pieces of molded plastic together well enough and it won't be the worst sounding battle in the woods, either, but compared to real bone, it's not close. The sound rings hollow and uneven...noticeably so. Will Da' Bonehead ruin your hunt and send that buck running for the hills? Probably not, but there sure are better options.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for a solid rattling system out of the Knight & Hale camp, stick with the Pack Rack.

Price: $25

Primos Rack-N-Roll

We all know that the biggest issue with most rattling systems remains that they're cumbersome to use. Most hunters have been caught with their hands full by a riled-up big buck at least once. He comes charging in to your call, and you've got to figure out how to quickly and quietly put down the rattler and pick up your gun or bow.

It can be a tough, sometimes impossible dance. To solve this, the Primos Rack-N-Roll comes with a built-in strap that allows you to attach it to your leg, a tree, or wherever is most convenient. This makes one-handed use a cinch. Multiple sections of nodes bang together to create surprisingly realistic sounds.

Bottom Line: There's no plastic that can sound exactly like the real thing, but Primos came close here.

Price: $25



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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Chances are good that you're not getting the best out of your trail cams.3 Ways You're Using Trail Cameras Wrong Optics

3 Ways You're Using Trail Cameras Wrong

Tony J. Peterson

Chances are good that you're not getting the best out of your trail cams.

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns.Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense? Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

We're deciphering new deer data for rut success.Daylight Deer Movement During the Rut Whitetail

Daylight Deer Movement During the Rut

Jeff Johnston

We're deciphering new deer data for rut success.

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians; learn more about this tick-transmitted problem.Ticks Making People Allergic to Meat News

Ticks Making People Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians; learn more about this...

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future. The Best New Deer Hunting Technology Accessories

The Best New Deer Hunting Technology

Jeff Johnston - May 15, 2020

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future.

The new, lightweight monopod that should be in every hunter's pack.Kestrel Glassing Systems Ultra-Light Monopod Accessories

Kestrel Glassing Systems Ultra-Light Monopod

Joe Ferronato  

The new, lightweight monopod that should be in every hunter's pack.

To help you find the perfect Father's Day gift this year, the PETERSEN'S HUNTING staff2018 Father's Day Gift Guide Accessories

2018 Father's Day Gift Guide

Kali Parmley - May 14, 2018

To help you find the perfect Father's Day gift this year, the PETERSEN'S HUNTING staff

Tom Rainey shares some of the latest product offerings from Browning Trail Cameras.



For more ofNext In Line: What's New From Browning Trail Cameras? Accessories

Next In Line: What's New From Browning Trail Cameras?

PH Online Editors - January 19, 2018

Tom Rainey shares some of the latest product offerings from Browning Trail Cameras. For...

See More Accessories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting 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