Why do Hunters Use Deer Scents to Attract other Deer?

Did you know that Whitetail deer are the most popular game animal pursued every year? There are many accessories out there that help in this endeavor and while simply sitting quietly can sometimes work in killing a buck, special attention should always be given to scent. A deer’s sense of smell is one of its greatest advantages, and by adding some deer scents to your arsenal you can greatly improve your odds of fooling a buck and having a successful hunt. 

Deer scents hung on a tree in the woods

Why do hunter’s use deer scents to attract other deer?

Because a deer will trust its sense of smell above all other senses. Read that again.

Even if they may hear something strange, or see a silhouette on the skyline, they can be forgiven and forgotten with the right tricks. If a deer smells you, however, they will immediately run and there is no going back. This is why hunters spend so much time and effort when it comes to scent control. It comes into play in all aspects of a hunt, from checking trail cameras to sitting in a tree stand. 

In order to fool a deer’s nose, you must first attempt to reduce your own scent as much as possible. Scent eliminators are a great start and should be used whenever possible.

Why do Hunters Use Deer Scents to Attract other Deer?

What about other scents that hunters use that can actually attract deer? By using the right kind of deer scent in the right season, you can trick a deer’s nose and actually bring them to you. Let’s take a look at some of the different deer scents out there and when to use them. 

What are the different types of deer scents?

Doe and Buck Urine

Using deer urine is a popular choice for scents and has been for many years. This is exactly what it sounds like, and is simply urine from a doe or buck. These scents are great for calming a deer’s nerves and playing to their curiosity. If a deer smells a new animal in the woods, it may come to investigate.

Deer urine can be used during any hunting season as well, which makes it very versatile.

General rule of thumb; doe urine will attract both does and bucks, while buck urine tends to only attract other bucks.

This can also act as a great cover scent to cover human scent, especially when walking in and out of a tree stand or blind. 

Doe Estrous Scent

This scent comes exclusively from does that are in heat (called estrous or estrus). As a doe comes into heat, her hormones and chemistry in her urine will change, signaling to bucks that she is ready to breed. Because of this, this particular scent works extremely well during the rut.

It is extremely effective at the very beginning or the very end of the rut, when the mature bucks are not already locked down with a hot doe and are cruising around looking for more does to breed. 

Estrous Doe Urine

Buck Tarsal Gland Scent

When bucks make a scrape, they will tend to hold their back legs together and urinate on them. This trail will flow over their tarsal glands which are located on the inside part of the bend in their leg.

The urine then gets infused with oils and secretions from these glands that put hormones out that signal a deer’s gender, status, and hierarchy within the local deer herd. While most deer only use this method of communication during the fall, for best results this type of scent should be used when the bucks are actively rutting and checking scrapes. 

Preorbital and Forehead Gland Scent

In addition to the tarsal glands, bucks will also use another gland to leave a scent. This is the preorbital and forehead glands. When making a scrape, bucks will tend to rub their eyes and forehead against a nearby branch. This collects scent from these glands and communicates the same information as the tarsal glands. If you see a scrape anywhere, there is usually a low hanging branch somewhere nearby that a buck will use to leave this scent. 

How do you use Deer Scents?

In addition to actually attracting deer, using these scents has other benefits as well. The use of scents will help to hide and mask your approach as a hunter. It can hide your human scent while hunting, giving you a better chance of success. When combined with the use of decoys, scents can also help bring them to life by making them appear more real to deer. 

Another great benefit to using scents is using them to get deer to stop where you need them. If you can stop a deer in a shooting lane, you just might get a shot. Instead of using a call that can direct attention towards a hunter, you can use a scent.

Lastly, you must use the right scent for the job. As we mentioned, each different scent has a different purpose and works best in different situations and times of the year.

If you pair the correct scent with the right part of the season, the combination can be deadly. Even if you do not pair the correct scent with the season, the simple act of using a scent can still spike a deer’s curiosity and bring them in closer for a quick smell. 

Final Thoughts

Deer hunters who use scents in order to help them with their hunting will usually see much more activity and results than those who do not. Using scents to attract other deer is the secret to finding and killing the big bucks that you are after. This can also be the difference between seeing a lot of deer or seeing none at all. If you have ever considered adding the use of scents to your deer hunting list of gear, you might be surprised at how well they will help you!

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