Most deer hunters try rattling for the first time using a set of shed antlers they found while in the field. Making rattling antlers is relatively easy to do, but there are a few important things to consider.
First, find the freshest sheds possible. The older and dryer the antlers, the less sound they will produce. Second, find a large, mature set of antlers to work with, because they will produce better sound and provide more surface area for contact.
If you live in a region with mule deer, it is easier to find an evenly matched set of antlers that don’t curve as much on the main beam as a whitetail’s. This is important, because the straighter the antlers, the easier it is to make contact and to control them. Also, there are usually no brow tines, which is a hazard for catching your thumbs while rattling.
If you use whitetail sheds, make sure to cut the brow tines off flush with the main beam to make them safer to use in the field.
Drilling a hole in the bases and attaching a leather lanyard makes it easier to carry the antlers in the field. Add some blaze orange cord or ribbon to keep them safe to have in your hands or tied to your pack. Store your rattling antlers in a dark, cool place, because any exposure to sunlight will dry them out and reduce their ability to generate the best sounds.