The Ultimate Deer Scent Guide

Methods like rattling antlers and using decoys may work on an elusive buck in certain regions, but they are often essentially worthless in high-pressure spots.

If you’re frustrated because these methods have fallen short on your hunting trips, deer scent could be the answer.

Check out our picks for the best deer blinds.

The reality is, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a deer who will be able to withstand the attraction of the various types of whitetail scents out there. If you use the correct scent in the right season, your chances of drawing in a deer increase considerably. 

Sounds like something you need to know, right?

Let’s dive right into the best deer attractants you’ll want to consider for your next hunt.

Doe Estrus

The first primary type of deer attractant and one of the most powerful ones on the market is doe estrous. If you use it during prime season, fresh doe estrus is an excellent whitetail scent. The doe estrus serves to fulfill the buck’s main objective in the fall breeding period, which is of course, to find a willing doe.

 One of the best doe estrus scents on the market is the Matriarch Southern Doe Estrus, featuring urine from one doe so there is only a single scent associated with the attractant. Urine from a single doe is a much more effective and realistic choice than amalgamating the scents of various does into one.

The Matriarch also only uses estrus from the dominant does, which are typically the most attractive does to rutting bucks.

How to use doe estrus

If you decide to pick up a bottle of doe estrus for your next hunt, the good news is that you can use this scent in a range of hunting conditions. You can use the doe estrus to attract a buck straight to your tree stance. 

 Simply take a length of string and secure a scent wick to the end of it. Dip the wick in the doe estrus and drag it next to you as you make your way over to the tree stand. The buck will literally track the scent straight to your scrape location and pause to sniff the ground, which is the perfect time to draw your bow and prepare to make your shot.

When to use doe estrus

We strongly recommend that you only use doe estrus deer urine during a particular period in the hunting season. It is typically most effective during the pre-rut or post-rut hunting period, as it is powerful enough to attract a buck in search of a hot doe.

While the estrus could work during peak rut, most bucks will have already found their breeding doe and probably won’t react to the scent.

Buck scents

The second best deer attractant you’ll want to consider for your hunting arsenal is buck scent. In regions with an even ratio of bucks to does, buck scent could be more useful when hunting. If a mature buck comes across the scent of another buck, this activates their territorial side and instigates them to look for the other dominant male.

 The Dominator is an excellent deer attractant, using urine from a dominant buck along with gland secretions and tarsal scents, for an authentic smell.

How to use buck scents

You can use buck urine in several different situations. You may use it in a common ground area like a primary trail, so local bucks seek out the scent, or you can do a scent drag. With a scent drag, dip one wick in doe estrus scent and the other in buck scent.

The dual scents give the impression that there is a dominant buck in the area chasing after a doe, which will make other dominant males jealous and come out into the open.

When to use buck scents

You can use buck scent during just about any window of time in the hunting season, as bucks are accustomed to challenging other bucks throughout that period. The buck scent will likely be most effective if you start using it in the middle of September or so, which is right about when the dominant bucks begin to become hostile with each other.

Mid-September is also when deer scape communication starts.

Mock scrape scents

The third main category of deer scents is mock scrape scents. By using scent beads or powder to do a slow release of the scent, the smell will take on other deer smells if you use it in a scrape or mock scrape. When the buck or doe begins to disturb the mock scrape, this will further release the scent.

The best mock scrape scents contain urine from dominant bucks and doe estrus urine like the  Jackies Deer Lures Mock Scrape Scent. The combination makes for an all-season deer attractant straight to your scrape or mock scrape.

How to use mock scrape scents

 Put the scent right into the scrape or mock scrape to ensure deer visit it regularly. You can continue to create additional mock scrapes around the field edges near the food plot or tree limbs to heighten buck exposure.

You can also use this method on trail camera sites, which is great for in-season tracking.

When to use mock scrape scents

With the doe in estrus scent included, you can use mock scrape scents anytime from the beginning of October to the close of hunting season. Take out your mock scrape scent when rut commences and use it until rut ends when deer are regularly using scrapes.

Helpful accessories

No matter which of the three primary types of deer attractant you opt to use, scent accessories could prove very useful for your hunting arsenal. Helpful accessories include:

  • Scent stick canister
  • Scent drags
  • Scent wicks

You can  se a scent stick canister to slow release the attractant over a longer period and keep it fresh. The canister also makes it easy to use your scent wicks and scent more than once.   Scent drags do a fantastic job of distributing potent smells throughout a large area. You can use scent drags with buck scents and/or doe estrus scents to attract the deer into a hunting blind location or stand.

 Scent wicks are the simplest accessory to use for your deer scent. The wicks fit inside the scent bottle and keep the scent fresh for slow release.

The right deer scent can improve your chances

You can use any of the best deer scents in this guide from early to late hunting season. With the right accessory to release your scent and a solid understanding of how deer scents work, you’ll significantly increase the likelihood of drawing that buck within range during prime deer season! 

FAQs About Deer Scents

What is the most effective type of deer scent?

The most effective type of deer scent varies depending on the situation, but generally natural scents are thought to be more attractive than synthetic ones.

How long do I need to wait before applying new deer scent?

Generally, it is recommended that new scent should be applied every two weeks or so to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Is it safe to use synthetic deer scents in populated areas?

It is not necessarily unsafe to use synthetic deer scents in populated areas, but some people may find the smell unpleasant and it could potentially attract unwanted attention from wildlife officials or other hunters in the area.

Is there a certain time of day that produces better results when using deer scents?

Scents are usually more successful in early morning hours when deer activity is highest and they can best detect odors carried by the wind; however, this will also depend on local weather patterns and terrain features such as valleys which can influence how well a given scent can travel through an area at any given time of day.

Are there any special considerations for using different types of deer scents depending on the terrain and weather conditions?

Different types of scents work better under certain conditions – for example, estrous urine works better during rutting season while food based lures tend to be more successful during late summer/early fall months when food sources are scarce for deer populations.

About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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