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How to make Deer Scents

Updated on August 29, 2012

Home made mineral beds

You can the white color outside the hole, it's salt.
You can the white color outside the hole, it's salt.
This home made mineral recipe has already attracted plenty of deer and has only been in the woods 2months.
This home made mineral recipe has already attracted plenty of deer and has only been in the woods 2months.

Making Deer Attractants

The wind was swirling, my scent had to be blowing down into the bedding area of some deer near a late season food plot. Sprayed down with homemade scent, I watched quietly as a deer continued to poke it's head out looking my direction. The rut was already over but the dark brown beast couldn't resist looking for love in all the wrong places. Finally I decided that next time it stuck it's head thru the thicket, I was going to take this deer for the much needed meat. Right at that moment the thick neck poked stretched out one last time, as I let'r rip dropping the game in it's tracks. I've been experimenting for some time with various homemade recipes, deciding that the rut had wound down it was time to give my home made scents a try.

There's several recipes that are easy to make and seem to really work. You're going to learn how to make, when to use these deer attractants. Deer are curious animals, creatures of habit, some simple free tips can lead to hunting success.

Mineral bed recipes for healthy deer

Whitetails all need minerals for strong bones and body. Does need the minerals, March, April and May for their young. Bucks use these mineral beds, June, July, August and maybe even in to early September, for antler growth. We put them in during our first spring turkey hunt and then refresh them in June when we turn our food plots under. One of the easiest, cheapest, ways to make minerals is to pick up a 50lb bag of general purpose mineral and a 50lb bag of solar salt from the local feed store and mix it 50/50. You can make a 100lbs which does about 8-10 mineral beds for the price of a 25lb bag of Record Rack, and it's almost the exact same mix.

If you're looking to get some great game camera pics, this is one of your best tools. Every year we get pictures of deer at our mineral beds that never come to feeders or food plots. If the want to learn more about mineral beds or get some other mineral recipes, try our articles about mineral beds for antler growth.

Home made cover scents

There are many great cheap or free scents that attract deer, they are curious animals and will check out almost anything new. Many hunters will use vanilla extract just to get the attention of some of the deer herd. If your hunting near pines, break a few fresh branches, cones and needles then boil them down in about 3-4 quarts of water, it makes a great cover scent but this method will only last a couple days. If you're hunting in pines break a few fresh branches and place them around yourself and the stand.

Fresh turned earth makes a great cover scent. If I'm going to hunt from the ground, I'll turn some up over my clothes. I've had deer come close enough to poke with a stick using fresh dirt. If you're hunting an Ag field, hay works great, dig some of the older musty hay from underneath and you can even flip the bails over.

Here's a few more great cover scents, ground or broken up acorns. Ears of field corn straight from the field. Persimmons work good if you smash some, they leave a sweet smell to the air. Any soft mast corp works good mashed up and spread in your hunting area. Deer must think that other deer have been feeding there. Anything natural from the area your hunting can be broken down and used as a cover scent, get creative.


Scrape hunting

This is a mock scrape we used to get deer in an open area.
This is a mock scrape we used to get deer in an open area.

Scrape Hunting with home made deer scents

Early season before pre-rut, I'll make a few small pawing scrapes along know buck trails. Then spray the area down with a recipe that I learned from a hunting show. mix 1cup of kosher salt, 1cup of mineral oil, 1cup of ammonia in a round-up sprayer and add 2 gallons of water. spray the area around the homemade pawing and the branches above, all the way down several trails. This makes bucks think that some young bucks are getting ready and seems to make them check these trails. You want to keep deer in your hunting area, this seems to do the job. The combination in the sprayer just smells like another deer has pissed there and nibbled at some branches.

I've experimented for several years on making homemade scents that really attract deer of everything I've tried this is the best during rut and post-rut. Find fresh scrapes from your property, scrapes the top of it into a plastic bag. Dirt, piss, droppings, or whatever is in the scrape, do this with several scrapes. Use a plastic gallon jug, an old milk or water container works great. Use a funnel an add your scrape materials, fill it with water, add 2-3 drops of doe estrus scent. Sit it where it can heat up, out in the sun, in a window, just like making sun tea. After it sits 2-3 days it's ready, spray your hunting area down good, spray your boots and pant legs. This stuff really works, I've had deer show up when nobody else is seeing anything, taken several nice late season deer this way.

Deers tarsal glands

The tarsal glands of deer will get darker as they become ready to breed. The young deer in the pic, has black glands but looks like it's still to young to breed.
The tarsal glands of deer will get darker as they become ready to breed. The young deer in the pic, has black glands but looks like it's still to young to breed.

Using deer tarsal glands to attract bucks

There is no better attractant than a hot doe period. Tarsal glands from a hot doe will smell as strong as any estrus doe scent on the market. Any natural deer scent is better than none. Any time we harvest a deer, we cut the tarsal glands from the deer, both sides. Then put a tie wrap or piece of wire thru them and sit them in the sun to dry for about 2-3 days. Once it's dry place it like you would a scent wick, hanging from a branch 30yds., in front of where you're hunting, play the wind of course. Buck, doe, the tarsal glands will attract attention. If you do get lucky enough to have tarsals from a hot doe heads up, bucks can't resist.

Using any of the above scents, minerals, etc, will only improve your hunting. The more natural attractants you use the more deer you're going to see. The main goal with any attractant is to get more deer if front of you. Using these methods along with some well thought out planning helps get deer where you want them to travel. We set our hunting properties up making deer use as many of the travel routes, we want them to use, as possible. Hope these methods will work as good for you as they have for us.

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