The idea of bringing a big mature whitetail bucks up close & personal gets most deer hunters excited, especially when it’s your moves that make it happen!
Anytime you can bring more interaction to your hunt, not only will you be more successful- but it will be much more exciting as well. During the pre-rut and rut I love deploying a decoy in my setup and getting aggressive. This seems to be the best time as bucks are on the move, and if they are not with a doe they are usually on edge and ready for a fight at anytime! The buck decoy I use is posturing with its ears back and the body language suggests this is one mad buck looking for a fight! Some people like to use a doe decoy or a doe and buck combination but I’ve had by far the best luck with just a single postured buck.
I prefer to place my buck decoy about 15-yards from my stand. Also remember that almost all bucks will try and fight your decoy head on. Make sure to position it so you will have a shot when this happens. Now that you’ve decided to try hunting with a decoy, the next step is to continue to fool a mature whitetails senses. I’ve found if you can trick 3 out of their 5 senses, they’ll usually come storming in and never look back.
A whitetail relies heavily on their sense of smell so this is where you need to start and is the most important in my opinion. First ensure you are spraying down your boots and clothes thoroughly with Scent Killer Gold and also think about all your gear as well. If you’re hunting from a ground blind, spray that down. If you’re using a decoy, make sure to spray that down liberally after setting it up in the field. This will keep your own human odor out of the equation.
Next you need to make the entire setup smell like a highly active whitetail area. You have your buck decoy out that’s all bristled up and looking tough. I like to look around for a nearby tree and licking branch where I can setup a Magnum Scrape Dripper if possible. Create a mock scrape so any buck in the area can visually see and smell the scrape. I use rubber gloves when setting up my Magnum Scrape Dripper just for added precaution and hang the dripper about 6 feet up or as high as you can reach. Not only will the sight and smell of the mock scrape draw bucks in, but I love the way it works.
I’ve had a real issue with big bucks coming to check scrapes, but often times only in the middle of the night. Nocturnal bucks can be very frustrating. You know they’re on your property but can’t get them to come out during daylight hours. With the Magnum Scape Dripper you can actually pique a bucks curiosity and increase the chances of him checking the scrape during daylight hours. The dripper is an 8oz container that you add 4oz of scent to. The additional air pocket expands and contracts with the temperature change causing it to drip during daytime hours only. It also gradually intensifies the scent output to get the bucks even more riled up and curious. When those same bucks comes to check the scrape at night, they realize another buck was present during the day and this often causes them to get irritated and territorial, causing them to start showing up at a variety of times hoping to catch the intruder.
Use Their Instincts Against Them
After my mock scrape is created, I place several key wicks out with Special Golden Estrus to get that scent filling the area and drawing bucks in. This on its own can pull deer in, but with all the other factors we have going it just adds to the realism of the entire setup. The Special Golden Estrus is fresh & super premium deer urine with estrus secretions. This helps make the entire setup more believable for roaming bucks because they think there is a hot doe in your setup. Then they see the posturing buck and can’t resist getting in on the action. By using this setup you’re going after both their natural instinct to fight, and to find hot does. I like using key wicks to disperse the Special Golden Estrus as they can easily be hung on branches or twigs. They are also made with a special synthetic felt that doesn’t alter or change the smell of the lure, which is really important.
Now that the area has the right attractant smells it’s time to move back to making the decoy both look and smell right. The first thing I do is spray the entire decoy down with Scent Killer Gold. This removes any odor I may have left from carrying it in or setting it up. Then I like to take Golden Scrape and pour it right on the decoys hocks. This way when a buck comes in close to the decoy he will smell all the natural scents that would be present if my decoy were real. This is the key to not only bringing a mature buck in, but keeping him in close and focusing all his attention on the decoy.
Draw Them Closer
Once you’re setup is complete and you’re on stand or in your blind adding a little sound is the final step. I like to add a little rattling, grunting. Maybe a snort and wheeze from time to time so you can draw bucks in with the sound from a long way off. The biggest tip on this portion is to make it real.
Don’t rattle for too long and think it through just like how a real fight would go down. Use a couple different grunt tubes first to make it sound like there are two bucks in the area.
This also helps if there is a buck you don’t know about close so you don’t scare them off with a sudden crash of rattling antlers. Once you’ve done a few grunts back and forth, wait a minute and do a snort wheeze. This is the sign of one buck telling the other buck, you better back away now or this is going to get ugly. Next, start in on the rattling and make it seem realistic. Crash the antlers together, take pauses where the bucks would be locked up, break branches near you if possible and then get ready! Deer can hear this from a long way off so it may take awhile to draw them in.
Once you see a buck coming in, don’t make any more sounds! Let the scents do the work and let the realism of your setup take over. Now you have 3 out of their 5 senses fooled and it’s truly amazing how long these bucks will posture to the decoy. Sometimes they will even knock it over if you let them go. This will give you plenty of time to look over the buck, decide if it’s one you want to shoot and ultimately allow time to calm your nerves before the shot!
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