Tips & Tactics

Homemade Rattling Antlers are COOL

Homemade Rattling Antlers are COOL

By Duane Western

Photo: Homemade rattling antlers are beautiful and functional. – Photo Courtesy Ryan Noffsinger

If you are thinking about making your own set of rattling antlers, here are some things to consider.

I discovered this tip through a bit of bad luck — actually — good luck.

Since I wanted to make my own set from scratch, and I began searching for a perfectly matched set of shed antlers.

My preference was to find a pair as similar as possible. After all, shouldn’t both rattling antlers be the same size?

During shed-hunting season, I had the good fortune to find the right side of a deer shed, but not the left.

A few days later, I found a left side from a different buck, but not the right side.

I shrugged my shoulders and decided to proceed with the mismatched pair, but what I discovered was the size difference was actually an advantage.

Homemade Rattling Antlers are COOLWhen packing the antlers, the smaller antler fit more easily inside the larger, which means it took about half as much space in my pack as a pair of equal size.

There is also a school of thought that antlers from two different bucks sound more realistic to nearby challengers listening to the fight.

–Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin

There are many advantages to using commercially manufactured rattling antlers and devices, such as decreased weight and size and easier packing. Artificial antlers work, and it’s safer to carry rounded-off, synthetic tines than real ones.

Still, it’s a ton of fun to make your own set, whether for function or for decoration.

I have a handsome set hanging in my office. They are polished, and tethered together with a braided strap studded with silver beads. My name is embellished on the sides with an engraving tool. I love them!

For field use, I like Duane’s suggestion of using mismatched antlers for the reasons he shared.

If you decide to make your own, I highly recommend removing the brow tines and antler tips that might pose a danger when carrying and slamming together. Grind and sand smooth the raw, sawn spots.

Nothing smarts more than slamming a point into your knuckle on a frozen morning. Even if you saw off brow tines and tips, it’s still wise to use heavy gloves to protect your hands when rattling.

Editor’s Note: If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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