Cracking the deer lure code can be confusing, but once you know how to use lures and when, these potent potions are lethal. Having made a career of “making sense out of scents,” hard-core whitetail hunter Terry Rohm has developed a half-dozen tactics for pulling the dupe on a monster whitetail. Rohm, director of marketing for Tink’s, has pursued whitetails across the U.S. as well as Mexico and several Canadian provinces. He enjoys using scents to draw whitetails in close and stop them perfectly for a high-percentage, ethical shot. Follow his sage advice for your next rut-time adventure.
Rule No. 1: The Right Conditions Rule
“Deer lures are super-effective, but they aren’t a magic wand,” notes Rohm. “For deer lures to be effective, certain things need to be in place. First, you need to find and commit to memory where your family groups of does live. If you’ve got does, you’re going to have bucks during the rut, and if your buck-to-doe ratio is right, bucks will get very aggressive while trying to locate these family groups. The more bucks have to travel and compete for does, the more effective lures are.
“In addition, weather plays a big role in scent effectiveness. My worst fear as a scent hunter is hot weather. Deer don’t move as well when the weather is warm, and a warm-weather lull can cut down on overall scent effectiveness. Using scents correctly is about timing, weather patterns and understanding your hunt area.”
Rule No. 2: Make A More Convincing Mock
“Deer are just like humans; they are all different and have different personalities,” Rohm states. “I’m looking to use my trail cameras to find that big, aggressive, dominant buck that is ripping scrapes apart. Aggressive bucks are much more likely to make a mistake than passive bucks.
“Mock scrapes can be an effective way to find and hunt those aggressive bucks, but you can’t just go into the woods and create a mock scrape and expect a buck to take it over. Start looking along old logging roads, creek crossings, trail intersections and field edges for scrape sign. Field edges can be really good, especially if the field has a point of trees that extends out into it. These points are scrape magnets.
“Now that you’ve located some good areas to create a few mock scrapes, you need to control your own odor. Proper scent-elimination methods must be taken. Rubber boots and rubber gloves are a must. Next, locate an overhanging branch that is four or five feet off the ground so the deer can reach it, and be sure to place the scrape near a huntable tree. Under and out in front of the branch is where you will create the scrape. I use a sizeable stick and, being sure not to make the scrape circular, begin to dig away. I imagine I’m a buck walking up to the scrape and pawing away at it with my front hooves. I pull the dirt and vegetation back and away from the scrape. A properly created scrape provides visual stimulation.
“After the scrape has been created, I saturate the scrape with Tink’s Power Scrape. The Power Scrape, in addition to the fresh earth smell, draws bucks in. Lastly, I place my Scrape Bomb Scrape Dripper on the overhanging branch and tie it in really good. Bucks will try to hook drippers and pull them out of the tree. Before leaving, I spray a few mists of Power Scrape on the overhanging branch and around the entire area.”
Rule No. 3: Challenge His Dominance
“I love hunting established scrapes,” Rohm continues. “The key is finding the right established scrape to hunt over. Typically, I’m looking for a large active scrape that is situated in an area that has a good tree for a stand. I also want to study the scrape and decipher where the buck or bucks are coming from and what’s making them hit the scrape.
“Now I take the scrape over. Again, I’m looking to key on those bucks with aggressive personalities. I’m going to put Power Scrape in the active scrape as well as some Tink’s #69. I want the dominant buck in the area to think another stud has moved in, is taking over and has the ladies excited. If there is an overhanging branch nearby, I create a mock scrape and challenge his scrape with mine.”
Rule No. 4: Troll For Bucks
“When scrapes fill with leaves, pull away from them instantly. Now it’s time to key on the family groups of does. I want to be where the does are. Typically, these areas are around food. Bucks will be out trolling for does, and I rely totally on Tink’s #69 Doe-In-Rut Lure. When your buck-to-doe ratio is good, the bucks will be cruising and cutting across large tracts of country. This is where a Tink’s Super Dragger doused in #69 can work wonders. Dragging a rag all the way to your stand leaves a scent trail for a buck to follow, and the scent will be the strongest where it was last left. A lot of hunters don’t understand this and think a scent trail will lead a buck back to the truck. This isn’t so. If you’re walking 300 yards to your stand, the scent is going to be the weakest where you first started the drag and get stronger along the way. A buck will always follow the freshest scent, which will lead him to your treestand.”
Rule No. 5: Stop Him Now
“[During the rut] I want to put a lot of deer scent around my stand. At this time it’s hard to get a hot buck to stop. Guys holler and whistle, but I want the buck to stop naturally. I spray a lot of Hot Shot #69 Doe-In-Rut Mist into the air around my stand. In addition, I will have four or five Tink’s Scent Bombs filled with #69 or #1 Doe-P Deer Lure hanging around my stand. When a buck comes into the area, the scent will cause him to stop and offer me a shot. I will also use Hot Shot if the wind switches. A few sprays helps cover human odor.”
Rule No. 6: Don’t Forget Food
“If you’re hunting public or state land that has been pressured, try using some Hot Shot Turnip Greens Mist or Persimmon Mist late in the season. These pressured deer are savvy, but they have to eat. Using a food attractant scent, where legal, can be a great late-season tactic.”
Several manufacturers make quality deer lures and are always tinkering and testing to find the exact blend that will appeal to a big buck.
Wildlife Research Center’s (800-873-5873; www.wildlife.com) new Golden Estrus Xtreme ($15/1-ounce bottle) has been intensified through a proprietary process, making it stronger, more intense and longer-reaching.
Code Blue’s (844-282-0455; www.codebluescents.com) new-for-2014 Platinum Series Estrous ($40 1.5-ounce bottle) is collected at the precise time at which a buck attempts to breed, and has been proven by Code Blue to be 63 percent more effective in the field.
Rubline Foam ($10) from Wildgame Innovations (866-995-4263; www.wildgameinnovations.com) emits a UV foam and preorbital gland mixture designed to capture the attention of passing bucks. The UV-enhanced aerosol makes for easy and quick application.
Hot Trails’ (800-927-7404; www.hottrails.com) Scented Hunting Candles Doe-N-Heat ($15 four pack) are said to draw bucks in from over 500 yards, and the four-pack promises over 16 hours of scent dispersal.