I'm not trying to be smart, but "elk are where you find them". The two areas that you mention are generally on a migration route to lower wintering grounds from the higher county to the North. Thus, the increase in elk populations in either area is largely weather dependent. Both areas are quite popular during the November muzzleloader season. Last year, the weather didn't cause much of any movement until after the November season (which is a popular controlled draw tag.) If you are looking for lower and easier ground than the northern areas of 5000 to 6500 feet, then the Prospect and Butte Falls areas are options, but you are not likely to find the numbers that inhabit the higher ground during the October general elk season. Again, . . . . . get some weather, and things change!
There can be too much of a good thing with antler rattling.
I like to hit the horns together for a good 30- to 40-second rattling sequence and then hang them up and resist the urge to hit them again.
This works to the hunter's advantage, because if a buck has heard it, he may have been 300 or 400 yards away and he comes in and he's not exactly sure where it came from.
When finally is time to rattle again throw a slight change-up into the routine.
The second time, don't rattle as loud...