John's Journal...

Texas’ Ford Ranch – A Dream Hunt for Everyone

Day 4: Why Deer Scents Work

Click for Larger ViewAlthough you'll find deer scents deadly effective at luring-in bucks at times, often they work for reasons not advertised. Once when I hunted at Westervelt Lodge near Aliceville, Alabama, in some of the most deer-rich country in the South, a hunter showed-up at camp excited about apple scent. He told us that, "We use this apple scent up in Pennsylvania to bring-in the bucks. I'll bet it will do the same with deer down here." I thought to myself that I doubted apple scent would work in the part of Alabama where we hunted since that section of the state had no apple trees growing along the nearby Tombigbee River. I also knew Pennsylvania had plenty of apple trees. But the next morning at an early breakfast, that same hunter bragged to everyone who would listen about the power of apple scent to lure-in bucks.

Click for Larger ViewAfter the morning hunt, I couldn't wait to see the Apple Man from Pennsylvania, as I now thought of him. I planned to clue him in as to why he hadn't seen any bucks and probably had spooked every deer that had smelled the apple scent. But when the truck he rode out of camp on returned with a really-nice 12-point buck on the back of it, I didn't ask who killed the trophy. "Boy, that apple scent did the trick," the proud hunter said as he emerged from the front seat of the truck. After listening to the story of how the buck came in, head out, sniffing downwind of the apple scent, I did what any resourceful hunter would. I said, "Hey, buddy, you got any more of that apple scent? I'd sure like to use some." As deer researcher Dr. Karl Miller of the University of Georgia explained to me later, "A deer will come-in to check-out any strange smell he finds. He wants to know what that new odor is and what's causing it!"

Click for Larger ViewI've learned that the more frequently hunters use a specific deer lure in a particular area, the less effective they'll find it at luring-in bucks. Most hunters have the most success with deer lure the first time anyone uses it in a region. But nobody really knows what type of deer lure works best, and what times to use it for the best results. However, I do realize that when you find a buck in a place you can't reach, like a clear cut, a thicket or across a property line, that often you can utilize deer lure to bring that buck to you. To use deer lure successfully, put the lure upwind of where you believe the buck holds. Place your tree stand across the wind from where you expect the buck to show up. Don't put the deer lure straight downwind of your stand, because the buck most likely will smell you before he smells the lure. "A deadly technique is to wear a drag rag as you walk to your stand," Terry Rohm, a longtime friend of mine and avid deer hunter, reports. "Tie a piece of nylon cord around each of your boots with a 12-inch long drag rag that has been soaked in deer lure attached. As you walk to your stand, the deer-lure-soaked rag not only will cover your human odor but also lays-down a scent trail that may cause a buck to walk right to your stand and give you a shot. Since you should go to your stand upwind of where you expect a buck to be, you have nothing to lose by trying this technique. On a few occasions, I've taken nice bucks that have come-in behind me with their noses down close the ground, following that scent trail to my stand."

Click for Larger ViewDrag rags, rattling antlers and grunt calls won't always produce a buck. But if they help you take just one buck you won’t have taken any other way, then like me you must consider those hunting aids worth their weight in gold. Generally you have nothing to lose and possibly a buck to gain by using deer calls, lures and scents.

However, some hunters don't know how to correctly use scents, and then the scents don't work for them. Here's some mistakes hunters make. Some deer hunters will put scents on their bodies or their clothing. Instead, place the scent in the area you want to draw the deer to, like a bush or a tree. Never put the scent on the bare ground or in a region that if the buck approaches, you can't see him. You also must remove or eliminate your human odor when and where you put-out scent, or else the deer lure won't do its job. Never pour buck lure on the ground, and leave that lure out all night. If you do, that lure will work all night to pull-in nocturnal deer. When the deer go to that region and smell the lure, they'll eventually walk-off, because they'll find nothing there except the smell. The next time you pour-out that same lure in that same area, the buck won't respond. To use deer lure most effectively, put it out during the hours you hunt, and take the lure with you when you leave.

Tomorrow: Trio Buck Calling for Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Rattling, Grunting and Deer Lures - Make Them Work for You "

Day 1: When Calling Deer Did Work for a Buck
Day 2: Why Deer Calls Do Work
Day 3: Why and How to Use Rattling Antlers to Bring-In Deer
Day 4: Why Deer Scents Work
Day 5: Trio Buck Calling for Deer


Entry 592, Day 4