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Animal Scents And Lures

deer scents
Want to attract deer? Essence of whitetail interdigital gland applied to your feet both masks and attracts deer. Use sparingly or else deer become suspicious. This scent tactic is good all season long.

Each autumn a flurry of new gadgets and electronic devices flood the outdoor market promising quick fixes and instant success in the deer woods. But truth be told, each high-tech shortcut robs us of our most valuable asset: woodsmanship. Indeed, if you want to become a better bowhunter, then learn to part of nature and use animal scents and lures to bag your next buck. Here is what really works and when best to use it.

Non-Estrous Doe Urine

Bucks and does are inquisitive creatures, and will investigate any new odor they encounter. One of the best curiosity scents to use during the early season is a strange doe’s urine. Lay down a trail to your stand using urine from two or more different does to simulate a family group of does passing through the area. This works best during early season, and then it’s of little value as a curiosity scent for the rest of the year.

TIP: Always wear rubber gloves, gloves sprayed with scent eliminators, or charcoal-activated gloves when handling urines and lures.

Estrous Doe Urine

Bucks are actually in rut before local does enter their estrous cycle. They will travel more during legal shooting hours as the early season wanes in search of their first sexual encounter of the year. A whiff of a doe in heat will certainly bring them past your stand now. It is also a good time to add estrous doe urine to your mock scrape setups and any fresh scrapes and scrape lines you come across.

Do not use it during the early season, as it is an unnatural event and will actually spook nearby bucks. It will spook early-season bucks, but it is very effective during the pre-rut, peak rut, waning rut. In fact, it can also be effective in the late season as long as the bucks retain their head gear.

TIP: Position several canisters laced with estrous doe urine near your stand, and then periodically combine estrous doe bleats and tending buck grunts to the mix for a deadly one-two-three punch.

Dominant Buck Urine

There is a pecking order among bucks, and it is well-established by the time breeding season arrives. One whiff of a strange buck can turn a passing mature buck around to investigate. It can also be used quite effectively in conjunction with estrous doe urines in scrapes, mock scrapes, and scent trails. This is good during pre-rut, peak rut, less effective during late rut and late seasons.

TIP: A canister of dominant buck urine positioned upwind from suspected buck strongholds can draw a buck out into the open. The sight of a buck decoy now can cause him to throw caution to the wind and rush in to drive his competition off.

Tarsal Musk

Located on the inside of a buck’s lower hind legs. Dark in color. Gland secretions are mixed with buck urine and bacteria to produce a strong, telltale odor. Use outside known buck bedding areas, on scrapes, and along scrape lines to create an intruder response. Good in early season, best in pre-rut and rut, not very effective in late season.

TIP: Save tarsal glands from last year’s bucks and store in the refrigerator.

Scrapes And Mock Scrapes

Be sure there is an overhanging branch, then clean away a small circle of duff and forest debris near your stand. Now use non-estrous doe urine, and interdigital, tarsal, and pre-orbital gland secretions to start a mock scrape. Add estrous doe and dominant buck urines during pre-rut to this mock scrape or other emerging scrapes.

This is not very effective in early season. Best in pre-rut, not so effective during peak rut, very effective again as rut wanes when bucks are looking for one last doe to breed. Not that effective in late season.

TIP: Best locations for mock scrapes is to intersect doe travel routes between feeding and bedding areas, or any location that was hot last season.

Cover Scents

Essence of skunk along with fox, coyote, and raccoon urine all tend to overpower the presence of human odors. Spray on boots, boot pads, or drag rag. A gloved hand soaked in a cover scent will also help keep human odor off low-hanging branches.

Essence of whitetail interdigital gland applied to your feet both masks and attracts deer. Researchers have identified 46 compounds that reside between the toes. Each evaporates at varying degrees, which in time probably changes their odor, which in turn allows the buck to know which direction the doe is headed. Use sparingly. If there’s too much in one location, deer become suspicious. This scent tactic is good all season long.

TIP: Keep your hunting clothing free of human odors by first washing with a scent-free soap. Do not completely dry. Place each damp article in a scent-free plastic bag along with pine needles, sticks, dead leaves, moist earth, dead grass, golden rod stems, apples, thorn apples, blackberry briars, Queen Anne's Lace, cattails, acorns, hickory nuts, and butter nuts and store overnight.

Food Scents

Apple, acorn, corn, beechnut, grape and vanilla all appeal to a deer's stomach. Use only in areas where these foods are indigenous. Place in canisters and hang nose high in open areas near stand. This is good all year long, but work best in the early and late seasons. How good depends on abundance of natural food supplies.

TIP: Use as a natural “stopper” by placing on the ground inside shooting lanes.

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