Do deer attractants really work? Without a doubt, they do. Deer lures aren’t magic, but if used correctly it can sometimes seem like they are.

            To begin, you must understand what you’re up against. You’ve probably heard statements similar to, “a whitetail ‘lives’ by its nose.” It’s a fact, their sense of smell is the only sense they trust completely. The part of the brain that measures and computes smells (referred to as the “olfactory region” of the brain), in a whitetail is said to be approximately 1,000 times larger than ours. There are also numerous other physical facts that accelerate the whitetails’ ability to substantially outperform our sense of smell. There’s no question, they trust their nose—so if you can learn how to deceive it, scent can be one of the most important tools in your arsenal.




            There are three basic categories for lures: sexual attractants or “smells that come from deer,” food lures and curiosity scents. For curiosity scents other than plain urines, timing typically isn’t as crucial as it is for certain deer smells or urine lures.

            When using natural deer smells or sexual attractants including urine or musk-type lures, time of year can play a crucial role as to what scents will be effective and when. You may see a positive reaction to an estrus lure throughout the season. However, it’s probably best to use something different for the opening weekend of bow season.

            When you begin to see scrapes, lures like Active Scrape and Golden Scrape will begin to work well, whether it is in conjunction with a mock scrape or on their own.

            A good rule of thumb is to “use the smells when they would naturally occur in the wild.” You can fudge with that rule a bit when it comes to estrus urine. Sometimes nothing can work better than smelling like the first doe to come into heat, or later, the aroma of the last doe yet to be bred.

            When we say “food lure,” we’re not talking about baiting, rather, smells such as essence of apple, acorn scent, etc. These are smells from things deer like to eat.

            Curiosity lures are smells that are pleasing to a whitetail. They will usually come to investigate these smells in an inquisitive way. They can be plant derivatives, food extracts or possibly synthetic smells.



            You may have made the scent trail technically correct, but when you hung the drag on the branch you touched it with your bare, sweaty hand. Your mock scrape may have been perfect except for the fact you stepped in it with the same leather boots you wore inside for breakfast that morning. You must make your setup seem as natural as possible. This is the area where most mistakes are made. You must keep “scent transfer” to an absolute minimum. If the great smell of the lure is there, but there’s also the smell of “danger,” you’ve goofed. Their instinct for survival outweighs all else.

            Reducing scent transfer begins with a stringent system of scent elimination. Having no foreign odors around, especially danger smells, will boost your odds significantly.



            Possibly as important as using the correct scent at the right time is knowing how to get the smell to the whitetail’s nose. We have drags, boot pads, scent drippers, various wicks and other scent dispensers. Think about the scenario that you’re trying to sell to the deer and then which application would be best.


            A dripper is another tool that is used often, especially when creating mock scrapes. However, the Magnum Scrape Dripper is a great tool for dispensing lures at sites other than mock scrape locations. This temperature-activated unit dispenses scent during daylight hours. It helps to condition bucks into showing up during legal shooting light and spending more time in your area. The other nice thing is the Magnum Dripper can operate for up to two to three weeks on four ounces of scent, depending upon temperature swings. This unit freshens your setup each day, priming the location for you.

            Possibly the easiest method to effectively lure in deer is simply to hang scent-soaked wicks out on both sides of your position crosswind from you. Key-Wicks can be freshened by simply dipping it right into the bottle. Set them up at your maximum confident shooting range. The reason for this is because you’re trying to lure in deer from downwind. The closer they are set to you, the better the chance of a deer catching a whiff of your human scent. You want the lure to pull in the buck before he gets directly downwind of you.

            The Quik-Wik is possibly the most unique and convenient scent dispenser. It can be filled at camp and then kept until you’re ready to use it. Its screw-on seal and patented rain-shedding design make it a must for the serious hunter.



            Take cover scent as an example: you can’t go into an oak woods reeking of cedar cover scent and expect to fool an animal with a sense of smell far superior to ours. Think! Our brain is one area where we’re one up on a whitetail. Don’t rush things when creating your setup. Think it through. Keep it as natural as possible. Keep foreign smell out of the picture and results will follow. No, scent doesn’t work all the time, but it’s definitely a tool you want to have with you to use sometimes.



            Most deer scent falls into one of the three categories: food aromas, curiosity lures or deer smells. One product that appeals to all three areas is Wildlife Research Center’s Trail’s End #307. It’s a blend of several different ingredients that may incite different reactions in different deer. They may be drawn to it because they’re hungry, curious or to be social with other deer.

            Trail’s End #307 can be used in different ways—on a wick or boot pad, to draw in deer from downwind or to create a scent trail. Another great tactic is to use it in a Magnum Scrape Dripper. The Scrape Dripper is a unit designed to drip scent during daylight hours. Because of this, it conditions bucks into showing up during legal shooting light rather than after dark.


            An exceptional scent for those hunting just before, during or just after the rut is Wildlife Research Center’s Special Golden Estrus. This doe in heat lure is fresh and super-premium. This lure is collected, bottled and shipped in a special way to ensure its freshness. Each bottle is actually dated and stamped with a serial number to verify this. In addition, Wildlife Research Center’s new Golden Estrus with Scent Reflex technology is engineered for stronger, more consistent results.

405 new.png

            A popular masking scent from Wildlife Research Center is Fox Urine. It’s versatile because fox are naturally found just about everywhere you find whitetails. When choosing a cover scent, it’s important to choose a smell from an animal or plant that is indigenous to the area you’re hunting.