Throughout the years, I have talked to many hunters about their success in using scents and lures to bring a trophy buck within shooting range. It always amazes me as to how many strong opinions there are on this popular tactic that has been used by almost every hunter at least once. By talking with other hunters, I have come to realize that they either love using scents or they think that using scents is overrated and that they do not work at all.  Whichever opinion one has, there is one thing about scents and lures that is a fact, not just an opinion, and that is when using scents and lures it is not as simple as pouring it on the ground and waiting. When done properly and by paying attention to a few details, using scents and lures will be at the top of the list of tricks to harvesting a mature buck. Here are 3 tips that will not only fool a big buck but will also prove that using scents is not a gimmick.

Place Scent Downwind

Paying attention to wind direction is obviously one of biggest factors in being successful as a deer hunter. No matter how much effort one puts into positioning their stand location for the “right wind”, there is still a chance of a mature buck approaching from the downwind side. Placing a deer scent such as Wildlife Research Center Golden Doe downwind can be an excellent back up plan to prevent being winded by a buck. Placing the scent downwind in between the stand location and where deer may approach from allows an approaching deer to get a whiff of another deer instead of being alarmed by the smell of any type of human odor.

Don’t Put Scent There!!!

A hunter sprayed deer scent on the bottom of their boots? I have heard stories from friends of mine who are part of the group that say scents do not work. These stories started off with them stating that they have never had luck or had deer spook when they smelled the scent. However, as I dug deeper into their stories, they told me that they had sprayed the scent on the bottom of their boots when walking to their stand so that it would leave a scent trail for a buck to follow. Good intentions except the scent application also lead them right to where they were sitting, which is a good indication as to why the deer spooked.  [quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]I have learned over the years that there are some places to never put scent[/quotes] As mentioned before, putting scent on the body or boots is never a good idea, this rule also applies when putting scent on a decoy. Spraying scent on a decoy then putting it back into the truck after the hunt creates a situation in which there is deer scent all over the hunter as well as the truck and that is never good. However, placing scent on the ground in places such as in a scrape, or on an over hanging branch are both good ideas because it stays in the woods. If a hunter wants to apply scent on something that can be taken out of the woods after the hunt, then use something like a cotton ball or a scent wick, these can be put in a Ziploc bag after without making a mess.

Scent Elimination

When using scents and lures, the main objective is to try to fool a deers nose by making a buck think that he is smelling another deer. To do this effectively, paying attention to human scent elimination is key. One of my favorite scent applications is using Wildlife Research Centers Golden Estrus with Scent Reflex Technology in a mock scrape. When doing this I make sure that I do not make the scrape with my boots, instead I will use a stick to rake the leaves back which makes it look like a buck made the scrape instead. This prevents myself from leaving any foreign odors, from my boots, onto the ground since this is where a buck is going to be putting his nose.  After putting the Golden Estrus in the scrape, I will then place a scent wick on a over hanging branch. When all of this is complete I spray all around where I have been with Scent Killer Gold to get rid of any human odor. The only thing I want a buck to smell when approaching the mock scrape is the Golden Estrus.

Using scents and lures can be an exciting time for hunters trying to lure a trophy buck into shooting range. By paying attention to a few details, fooling a mature bucks nose with the smell of other deer will be something that becomes routine year after year.

Heath Wood has been published in many major hunting magazines, websites, and blogs for over the last 15 years. His favorite topics include deer, turkey, and predator hunting. Wood has also appeared on Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World TV, Hunters Specialties' The Stuff of Legends and the popular DVD series Cuttin' and Struttin', as well as the NWTF's Turkey Call TV. Heath enjoys helping introduce newcomers to hunting.

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