A whitetail lives and dies by their nose. For this reason, there are several companies that produce deer attractant targeted to attract and draw in deer. The reason scents can have such an impact on whitetails is because of how a whitetail uses their nose. They use their nose to locate food, smell danger, identify a doe starting her estrous cycle, and to communicate with other deer. So, taking advantage of this could be just the way to draw in that target buck this fall.
There are several types of scents available to the modern-day deer hunter. They make synthetic scents, powders, liquids, vaporized scents, and even harvest natural deer urine. They use these scents for many different purposes. Some scents are designed to cover human odors, they may smell like dirt or pine. They also make scents that are geared to appeal to a whitetails stomach such as apple or acorn scents. There are also scents that are designed to introduce a new buck into the area, this usually puts other bucks on high alert especially as the rut ramps up. Lastly there are scents to simulate a doe in estrus to draw in bucks who are in the rut.
How to use the scents
The best cover scents are just like what the name says. They are used to cover the scent of something else like human odors. They can come in many forms from vaporized to liquid. These scents should be applied to outer garments and boots. The next way to use scents is in scrapes and mock scrapes. They make several scent types for scrapes such as forehead gland scents and urines. When these scents are used properly your scrapes will see frequent deer activity. You can also use scents to drag along the ground creating a path. This mimics the path of a deer leaving scent leaving scent naturally as they travel along their way. Many people use this method in the rut to mimic a doe in estrus, hoping a buck finds the track leading him past an ambush point. They also make calming scents that you can apply to the base of your tree or even vaporize that will relax deer when they get downwind. Most of these scents mimic the smell of a whitetails bedding location. Lastly, they can be used to draw deer into an area. By using a scent wick, scent pad, or even applying some to tree or the ground down wind, the idea is to let the smell draw deer in whether it appeals to their appetite or reproductive urges. Now that we know how to use them Lets break down some of the best scents on the market.
Best Natural Deer Scent – Raw Frozen Scents (Click to shop)
My go to for natural deer urines is Raw Frozen Scents. They flat out work. From using them in mock scrapes to dragging them along a trail they attract deer both bucks and does. I credit this to the fact they use only 100 percent extracted deer urine at peak times. They handle it with care to not contaminate it, and they ship it cold to prevent it from spoiling. They carry a calming scent, a multiple buck urine, a scrape scent, and peak estrous scent. The peak estrous scent claims to contain more estrogen levels than any other scent on the market. This is because it is 100 percent doe urine, with no preservatives and no water. The one downfall to Raw Frozen Scents is the fact that it needs to be kept frozen to prevent it from spoiling. For this reason, I plan to use a bottle every trip to the stand. That guarantees it will not spoil from sitting out while I hunt.
Best Synthetic Deer Scent – Buck Fever Synthetics (Click to shop)
With many states having problems with different diseases affecting whitetail, some have banned the use of real deer urine to draw in deer. This was done to prevent the spread of any disease that may come from captive herds. Therefore companies have turned to manufacturing synthetic deer scents. There is no better manufacture of synthetic deer scents than Buck Fever Synthetics. They offer a full line up of products like pre/post rut scent, forehead gland, dominate buck scent, and red moon doe in estrous as well as a few others. They also offer scent free spray and rope scrape kits. I have had great success with Buck Fever Synthetics, especially in my mock scrapes. The best part about synthetics is they never spoil, and the scent seems to last for months without needing freshening up. The only downfall is that it’s not the real thing, but I believe it’s as close as you can get to it.
Best Powder Deer Scent – Pure Whitetail (Click to shop)
Pure Whitetail is the only company I know of that creates powder scents, and I couldn’t wait to try them out. Not only to see how well they worked but also to see exactly what the benefits were. When I opened the box and saw names like Bedded Up and Spell bound, I couldn’t wait to hit the timber. These scents have multiple uses, for example they work great in mock scrapes and as deer attractants. I found they worked best for me in two different ways. The first as a holding point for whitetail. What I mean by this was I would apply it to a bush 30 yards from my tree stand. The smell of the powder was enough to stop the passing deer offering me a perfect broadside 30-yard shot. This meant no ranging and no rushing the shot. I had some smaller bucks spend as much time as 15 minutes investigating the Pure Whitetail scents. The other big benefit to powders was that I liked to use them as a wind indicator. I found that using Bedded Down was perfect for this. Not only was it a calming scent to relax deer downwind it also let me know exactly where my scent was blowing.
Best Vaporized Deer Scents – Wyndscent 2.0 (Click to shop)
Wyndscent is the only company I know of making a vaporized product like this. The Wyndscent 2.0 is an electronic scent vaporizer that allows you to disperse scent in 1 minute or 3-minute intervals. To me this replicates a real whitetail giving off scent because it is more of a vapor cloud that travels with the wind. Not only is this a great way to spread scent, but since it is a vapor it also allows you to see the wind direction. They have teamed up with several scent companies to produce cartridges like Conquest scents, Pure Whitetail, Code Blue, and they even produce some in house. Wyndscent offers pre/post rut scents, rut scents, calming scents, and cover scents. They also offer other products like scent pads that can be used alone or on a heating source. I like to use the Wyndscent 2.0 best starting in late October drifting a doe in estrous scent toward known buck bedding. It will help draw those nocturnal bucks out closer to legal shooting light, giving you the edge you need.
Best Make Your Own Deer Scent – Scent Blender (Click to shop)
The Scent Blender uses a patented filtration system and high high-speed commercial blender base so you can create your own scents and sprays. You can walk right out into the deer’s home and grab the surrounding structures (pine, wood, grass, etc.) and blend it up to mask your scent. All you have to do is gather plant material from your hunting location and add water and you can have a 12 oz custom blend in seconds.
Products used for Scents
Now that we have covered some of the top scent companies let’s talk about how to use these products. For liquid scents it is best to use a scent wick or scent pad to disperse the scent. This allows you to keep it off the ground and let the scent get carried downwind. The only time I apply scent directly to the ground is if I am putting it in a mock scrape. When dragging a scent, it is best to soak a wick in your preferred scent and attach it to a rope about 10 feet or so long, I then attach it to my ankle and start walking. Make sure you soak the wick good this will simulate a deer walking a path. Keep in mind these scents are strong, so it is best to wear gloves. This is not only to keep the scent off your hands but to keep your setup as scent free as possibles.
Scrape ropes are one of the biggest things in the world of mock scrapes right now. If you have never used one, I suggest you try it. They allow you to create scrapes in locations you want instead of letting the trees pick the location for you. When creating a mock scrape with a rope I like to leave the rope weather outside for a few weeks, I then will place the rope in a gallon zip lock bag and dump a whole bottle of scent in with it. I will leave it soak all the liquid into the rope which is usually about 24 hours. This wastes no liquid and leaves you with a very potent scrape rope. It usually only takes a day for the bucks to find and start working these scrapes.
They also make aerosol scent products like Buck Bomb. I have found these products to be hit or miss. I have used them before and had great success with smaller bucks that were within close range, but never a mature buck. Not saying they don’t work, just that I haven’t had success with them.
To Sum It All Up
From the time you start creating mock scrapes, up until the end of deer season there is a use for scents for one reason or another. Whether you’re using them as a cover scent in the early season or an attractant in the peak of the rut, they can be just what you need to draw deer in that otherwise wouldn’t have walked past your stand. Remember a whitetail lives and dies by their nose so use that to your advantage. With that, I challenge you to try one of the above scents this year, you won’t regret it.