Making sense out of deer scents can make or break your season before it even gets started.
If you happen to walk through a sports store right before deer season opens up in your state, you will see more sprays, scents, cans, and wafers than most hunters can shake a stick at.
Some of these products are gimmicks designed to bag the hunter long before they will ever help a hunter bag a deer, but some can be highly useful tools that bring a buck running.
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If you plan to use deer scents on your hunt, it vital that you understand what deer scents work best during specific times of the season.
During the early part of the season, bucks are still not actively chasing does. Instead, they are sparing and marking their
territories by making rubs and scrapes. This is the time to break out a bottle of buck urine.
The goal of the buck urine is to catch the nose of a buck that is already in the area and make him curious enough of the new smell to want to investigate and size up competition. This is a time when setting up on scrapes and rubs can be effective, and often deadly, when coupled with this uniquely powerful scent.
Mixing in a combination of doe urine is also very effective because it tells the buck that is investigating that everything is fine in the area and safe to proceed. Notice the velvet on this early season buck to the right.
Bucks are now getting much more aggressive and looking to challenge other bucks to set up a pecking order when does come into heat. Using buck urine on a drag line is the way to go.
If you happen to hunt an open field or have a wide area around your tree stand or blind, walking away from your set up and walking back with a drag strip covered in buck urine can stop a cruising buck in it's tracks and bring him right to you.
Rut is often the time when bucks throw caution to the wind and chase anything that smells like a doe in heat. Just like the two scent
combos in the early season, a mix of dominant buck urine and doe estrous can drive any nearby buck to the point of tears.
Hanging several estrous drip lines around your stand to add extra scent to the air can bring a buck several hundred yards away to try to find a ready doe. Sprinkling more dominant buck urine in the area can send a buck into a stomping rage. On the picture to the left, this buck is licking the air trying find a doe in heat.
With all the dominant bucks in the area tired out from a few weeks of flurry, their main concentration begins to switch back to food. Doe urine is back on the game plan as bucks are seeking bedding areas and a place to grab a bite to eat. Just like before, as they pass an area with doe urine, they tend to lower their guard, possibly opening up a shot.
In order for any of these scents to work, the human odor factor has to be minimized the best it can. In these cases, cover sprays and scent eliminators are designed to reduce human scent so the deer scents can be allowed to work their magic.
I have found that scent eliminators, such as Bucked Scent Eliminator, works better than cover scents in most situations. Trying to fool a deer's nose by importing a smell into their living room that is powerful enough to overpower human odor can sometimes have the opposite effect the hunter wants. Eliminating odor in the first place is just the best option.
Be wary of other cover sprays with added smells such as earth, apple, acorn, etc. If those smells are not naturally in your area, you very well may not even see a deer because they will take that strange odor as a warning and be two counties away before you even reach your stand.
What other deer scents tips do you have that have made you a better hunter?