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How to Hunt Deer Mating Trails with a Deer Attractant

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Editor’s Note: Regardless of how-many decoys you put-out to lure-in ducks, if you place those decoys in ponds and potholes that ducks never frequent, they won’t lure-in any ducks. The same is true of deer attractants. Yes, their fragrances eventually may lure-in deer. However, if you put a deer attractant along the edges of trails that deer use every day, they don’t have to find the attractant. They’ll pass by it regularly. You’ll see more deer at your deer attractant sites next to trails than if you just put the attractant out in the middle of the woods where there’s no deer sign at all. To see the most deer and possibly the biggest deer quickly, put deer-attractant products where you know deer are traveling on trails. Several-different types of paths or trails are used by deer. Some are obvious, but many are inconspicuous. If you know what to look for and where to look, you can take a stand along these trails, place deer-attractant products nearby and drastically increase your ability to find and bag deer. Let’s determine how to locate various kinds of trails, how to hunt them and how you can use deer attractants to improve your chances for taking deer on those trails.

The buck in search of a doe sets-up signposts in his home range to let the does know when and where he’s most likely to show-up. Much has been written about hunting scrapes, which are pawed-up spots of dirt where the buck has urinated that often have overhanging branches where the buck can leave the scent of his eyes, nose and mouth. Also, rubs where the deer has rubbed his antlers against saplings and scraped the bark off to leave a visual signpost for the does may be present in the region. Although many of us will set-up a tree stand close to these scrapes to harvest a buck when he comes in to freshen-up a scrape, a more-effective way to hunt a scrape is to hunt the trails in-between scrapes. You can put a deer attractant just off the trail to pull the buck a few yards off the trail. Then, when you take your deer, you’re taking that deer on the trail to the scrape rather than at the scrape. What makes this type of scrape or rub hunting more effective is that often more than one buck will be using the same scrape or rub. Therefore, if you use this tactic, you may be able to take a second buck from that same deer-attractant site on another day.

Even if you spook a buck along the trail he’s using to go to and from his scrapes, that buck may come to the deer attractant from a different direction on another day or may go to his scrape from another direction on a different day. But he still may be close to your deer-attractant site and come to it, which means you still may be able to hunt that deer. Sometimes when deer are making scrapes during the rut, they will move along trails going through thick cover to frequent these scrapes. Hunting the trails in thick cover near scrapes during the rut may improve the odds of your taking a buck rather than your hunting the trails in more-open areas that lead to the scrapes. Also, if you’ll hunt the thick cover, the buck is more comfortable about putting his head down to check out a deer attractant than he will be in an open place. Using a deer attractant in those thick-cover places not only attracts bucks and stops them where you want them to be when you take the shot, you also have the advantage of them having their heads down checking out the deer attractant when you’re ready to draw and shoot.

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