The most effective scent strategies are also among the most simple to execute. You just need a system.

By Doug Howlett – American Hunter Magazine – 8/24/2011

To avoid danger and stay alive, a whitetail uses its ability to detect faint odors more than any other sense. Without argument, its nose is its greatest aid in survival; however, it can also prove to be its undoing when it comes up against a hunter who develops the right strategy of combining attractant and cover scents. To do this, a hunter needs to know what to use, when to use it and then execute a plan that will put a buck at total ease and even pull him in for an easy shot. Here’s how to build your own easy-to-follow scent plan for big buck success.

Time Your Scents
First, you have to use the right scent for the right phase of the rut you’re hunting. I still see a lot of guys who use that generic bottle of doe pee pulled from a discount store shelf throughout the season and expect it to bring bucks running as the rut hits fever pitch. I’ve also seen hunters who dropped top dollar on doe in estrous scent and started dumping the stuff out as early as mid-October in the honest belief they were going to trick bucks into thinking they were the first doe ready to mate. Again, with the foolish notion that bucks would come running. Both types of hunter are missing the point and not getting the real benefits from attractant scents that can be had.

“It’s important that a hunter use a scent that is believable to the deer,” says Mike Mattly, public relations manager of Code Blue scents and an avid Iowa deer hunter. Here’s what you need to use and when to use it.

Doe Urine—Basic urine from a doe is good throughout the season, but mostly during the earliest weeks, before the rut when bucks are still in bachelor groups and not yet super competitive. More than anything, doe urine will reassure deer as they pass through an area that everything is all right. A relaxed deer is much easier to hunt than one on edge. This serves the same purpose throughout the season and can bring curious deer in on a trail dragged with the scent. As the rut recedes and deer begin to fall back into feeding patterns, doe urine is a solid go-to scent.

Buck Urine—A quality buck urine used in conjunction with scrapes (real or mock) or in other high-traffic areas is a good transition attractant leading up to the rut. Aggression in bucks is building and they are becoming more competitive. The smell of an intruder in their space, mixed with the sound of deep grunts and rattles, can draw them near in an effort to locate the interloper. Now is the time to challenge a buck.

Doe Estrous—Not until you are within two weeks of the peak of the rut do you want to use the higher-dollar doe estrous scents. As soon as you notice bucks beginning to chase tail-wagging does and your trail cams pick up increased activity, you want to drape the area around your best stand with estrous scent. Use it both on a drag into your stand and around your setup to act as a cover to scent and as an attractant. Use this throughout the key phase of the rut until you detect the rutting urge beginning to wane and then push it a few days more. Not all does will come in or go out of estrus at the same time, so by being one of the last ones, you may pull that one buck still seeking.

Tarsal Gland—Fuel both a big boy’s rage and sexual drive by busting out a little tarsal scent from a buck, along with that doe in estrous. Drip them both in mock scrapes along an existing scrape line or mud-worn deer trail and stay at the ready. Both work well on a drag. Use throughout the rut peak. Code Blue’s Gravedigger line of scent-impregnated soils are ideal for scrape use.

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