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Weird Ways to Bag Buck Deer Day 2: Realize Deer Are Curious About Smells

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Editor’s Note: Odd-ball tactics may sound funny – but they just may be the change-of-pace you need to put a buck on the meat pole. Deer are curious, and their natural curiosity is one of the most-overlooked aspects in most sportsmen’s hunt plans.

Some companies who have worked on deer lures have learned that asfidity and English Leather cologne actually may draw deer into an area due to the animal’s curiosity about the smells. But the problem with different scents is you don’t know what those scents mean to deer. Whereas some deer may be drawn to a scent to investigate it – other deer may be repelled by the strange scent.

* Pottying at the Tree Where You Hunt – Dr. Grant Woods, widely-renowned, longtime deer researcher from Readsville, Missouri, explains that, “All mammal urine breaks down to ammonia, and deer will come to the smell of ammonia to investigate. Even real deer urine breaks down into ammonia, regardless of what type preservative you put in it. Ammonia has a very-stout smell. It’s light and molecular in weight too, which means it will drift easily on the wind. When deer smell ammonia, they’ll come to check out that smell. Try to use ammonia that doesn’t contain any pine scent or any other masking smell. Most researchers who, when deer hunting, relieve themselves while they are still in a tree, make sure they leave urine on the tree trunk and the tree limbs. Then as that urine breaks down to ammonia, its smell will be carried out into the woods and attract deer.”

* Utilizing Estrous or Buck Urine: “In researching deer, we’ve used a catheter before to pull urine from an estrous doe without that urine ever passing through her vent,” Woods says. “We’ve observed that straight estrous urine that hasn’t been through the doe’s vent has little or no effect on buck deer. Apparently, only after the urine passes through the bacteria in the doe’s vent does it have the attractive ability to lure in bucks during the rut.  Probably when the urine reacts to the bacteria in the vent, a gas is created that drives bucks nuts and lets them know that the doe is in estrus.”

Taking an older-age-class buck that’s nocturnal and that stays in thick cover during daylight hours is possible, if you tell that buck a story with buck urine that he’ll believe. Be as scent-free as possible, so the buck doesn’t know you’re there. Get close to the area where you think the buck’s bedding or holding during daylight hours. Pour buck urine along the edge of a deer trail to allow the scent to be carried by the wind into the area where you think the buck’s living during the daytime. Every day, go to the same trail, and pour out the same buck lure at the same time. At night, that buck holding in the cover often will go to the place where you’ve poured out the buck urine, paw the ground and leave his urine to tell this intruder buck to leave.

After following this same routine for three or four days, tie a drag rag to your boot, soak it with buck urine, and walk to your tree stand near the spot where you’ve been pouring out the buck urine. Plan to reach the place you’ll hunt 45 minutes to 1 hour before the time you’ve been pouring out the buck urine daily. Let the woods settle down, and make several, low, deep grunts on a grunt call. Be ready, since that nocturnal buck in the thick cover may come looking for you, and then you can take him.

* Realizing That Buck Scents Make Sense – During an either-sex season, many hunters will scurry around and try and collect doe urine from does being butchered. However, many biologists feel that buck urine, especially the urine of big, dominant bucks, may be a better prize.

Researchers have found that if a hunter introduces the scent of a dominant buck into the territory of another buck, more than likely the one buck will come looking for the other buck. An effective tactic may be to collect the urine of a large, mature buck that has been taken, make a mock scrape and pour a little of that urine into the scrape. Biologists think that possibly if the dominant buck comes by, finds that scrape and thinks another dominant buck may be in his area scraping, he may get very upset and start hanging around that scrape, waiting for the buck that he thought is moving into his territory. Because of the natural social order of deer, one buck in a given area establishes himself as the dominant buck. As the dominant buck, he claims the right to breed the does. If by using the urine of another dominant buck in the deer’s territory, this dominant buck may be fooled into believing that there is a second buck contesting his right to breed the does. So, the dominant buck probably will stay around and wait for the intruder (the hunter).

“This action may be an effective method to lure a big buck to within gun range. By adding a little more urine to the mock scrape each day, the dominant buck may get the impression that there’s another buck trying to scrape in his area. That may cause him to come back by and check the scrape regularly in hopes of finding the interloper and running him off.

To learn more about hunting for deer, check out John E. Phillips’ bowhunting books, available in Kindle, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows” ( and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” (

Tomorrow: Understand That Predators May Lure Deer

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