Attractant Scents

attractant scents
Always use careful practices to eliminate your human scent as much as possible when applying attractant scents. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

There's more to working with attractant scents than simply buying a bottle of estrous doe urine. For example, a properly made mock scrape will tempt bucks closer when normal movement patterns don't coincide with climbable trees.

Attractant scents can be broken down into four general categories: sex attractant, curiosity scents, food scents and territorial/challenge scents. Knowing what scents products work best during each phase of the deer season is one of the primary keys to success.

Early season

Specialized curiosity formulas, buck urine (territorial appeal), doe urine (territorial appeal), food scents.

Rut

Doe in estrous, buck in rut (not from a dominant buck), mock scrape mixtures, buck tarsal .

Late season

Curiosity scents, doe in estrous (for late or second rut) .

All-season

Blended curiosity scents.

Sex attractant doe-in-estrous scents are the most popular form of deer scent but they should only be used during the rut. Their purpose is obvious: lure a buck close by convincing him that a hot doe has just passed. In this regard, they can be amazingly effective. However, like any attractant scent, the lure's effectiveness is only as good as your ability to conceal and eliminate human scent from the same areas where the estrous scent is deployed. In other words, it does little good to apply estrous scent to a drag rag if your boots and pants legs are leaving human odor on everything they touch.

Curiosity scents range widely and often take on the qualities of homemade brew. Some of the more common include combinations of anise oil and beaver castor. Hunger stimulants include such scents as apple and acorn scents. While these definitely can work at times, they aren't as widely used, or as effective, as sex attractant scents.

Finally, territorial and challenge scents serve a different kind of purpose. They are designed to make a buck think that another dominant buck is in the area. If he is also a dominant buck presumably he will be inspired (or enraged) to come and run the other buck off. You've probably heard of people cutting hock glands from a buck killed by another hunter and using them to attract bucks to their tree stand locations. This is the same basic principle.

According to one industry expert, you have to be careful how and where you use challenge scents or you may actually do more harm than good. "Our testing has shown that other deer can tell how dominant a buck is by the smell of his urine. Small bucks shy away from buck-in-rut urine if it is from a buck that is highly dominant. Tarsal scents are the lure we recommend for irritating a buck by making him think his territory has been invaded by another buck." In other words, unless you are hunting a dominant buck, it is probably not a good idea to rely too heavily on challenge attractant scents.

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