In experiments, buck response to rattling was greatest during the rut and lowest during pre-rut. However, seasonal response rates varied according to buck age.
By the Deer & Deer Hunting staff
Young bucks (1½ to 2½ years) were more responsive to rattling during the pre-rut period, whereas middle-aged bucks (3½ and 4½ years) more frequently responded during the rut.
Mature bucks (5½ years and older) were slightly less responsive during peak-rut, possibly because they were already tending estrous females.
During post-rut, most young and middle-aged bucks had returned to bachelor groups. However, mature males were still testing females. These single, mature males represented most of the responses to rattling during the post-rut.