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 'œdesigner 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



Recommended for You

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips! How-To

How to Make Hunting Fun for Kids

Jeff Johnston

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips!

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the place for you. North America

From Bucks to Bears to Ducks, Saskatchewan Is a Hunter's Heaven

Lynn Burkhead - February 05, 2019

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

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!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

See More Stories

More Accessories



When the tines of a Booner buck appear through the fall leaves, we all get a little shaky. Accessories

4 Must-Haves for the Whitetail Afflicted

PH Online Editors - December 18, 2017

When the tines of a Booner buck appear through the fall leaves, we all get a little shaky.

History and modern innovation don't always fit together comfortably, but they appear to do so with Accessories

Sure-Shot Game Calls' Yentzen One2 Duck Call

G&A Staff - January 29, 2018

History and modern innovation don't always fit together comfortably, but they appear to do so...

These ballistic apps will help put your shot right on the money.
Ballistic apps and laser Accessories

Tested: 4 Best Apps For Long-Range Shooting

Keith Wood - October 26, 2017

These ballistic apps will help put your shot right on the money. Ballistic apps and laser

See More Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×