Catchin' Deers

On Target With Nature Podcast

Episode 04 | 2023 | John Stoltzfus |
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Catchin' Deers

Welcome to the On Target with Nature Recording Library. I'm gonna call this one Catchin' Deers. Yeah, I've seen that written on some t-shirts and some hats. Catchin' Deers. Well, I had to think of that comment, and when we talk about lures and scents, we could take that illustration we're trying to catch deers as they do in catchin' fish. So I know it's totally different, I'm just using that to add some humor to this recording.

What I wanna get to is that lures and scents are a lot in the same field as fishing. We're trying to draw, we're trying to lure a deer in. Not so we can catch it, but so we can shoot it. But the concept is the same. So I get all these questions: what kind of lure do you use, what should I use, when should I use it,... and the timing definitely has a factor. I believe that when the timing comes together and that scent is blown the right way, and that deer comes in, or a buck comes in downwind of that scent and gets that scent, he's gonna get curious or it might trigger something in his mind like, "I have to go up and check this out." So a lure is just that; it's something - it's a tool to use, it's something that you can put in your backpack and give you possibly an advantage over, or to get that deer closer to you.

With all that being said, I still believe that if you do your homework and you have your stands in the right location, and you have scouted, you have set your property up the way that you best give yourself an opportunity, I think that that is more valuable than a lure or some doe-in-heat scent, but that's not the case for everyone. So that's my reason for this recording is to give you an understanding of how you can use lures and scents that it can benefit you.

I've also had days where that has not worked; they didn't pay any attention to it. So it's kind of the same aspect of fishin' in a pond. There's maybe 50 fish in that pond, and one day you're using worms and you're just catching one fish after the next. Two days later, you go to that pond again, and they're not biting at all, and you know you still have a bunch of fish - you might still have 25 fish in there. Maybe they got spooked from all the fishin' two days before; that can happen in hunting too. But also what can happen is you could use that lure or that scent two, three days in a row, and then all of a sudden the next day, boom, you just have all kinds of action.

And so I say with lures and scents, it's a tool - it's a tool to use - it's simply a lure and everything has to come in play. The scents gotta be blown the right way, there's gotta be deer on the downwind side of that to smell that, to get a whiff of that and make 'em want to come in and check it out. So when we talk about lures, we are - and there's a lot of people in hunting industry right now that are - switching gears a little bit more towards the pre-orbital and the interdigital and the forehead glands, things like that; the more glandular natural scents. And I have seen a lot of success here in the past two years of using that.

We currently carry Wicked Wicks, or basically all of Smokey's glandular scents that he has a pre-orbital, and then we have the the Wicked Wicks, which is a multi-buck pre-orbital, and that has been our favorite to use on the hemp ropes. That seems to contain the scent well and is great on mock scrapes. So, timing of that, we typically like to get those mock scrapes out early, get 'em in early, and let 'em there, and then maybe freshen with scent about August; right when bucks start, you know, going in the hard horn and changing their home range a little bit, and on through September. But what we've found is, I feel that it just gives them a social hub to hang out and to let scent and to communicate, and it helps us keep a good inventory of what bucks are around. Like you heard on my last recording, we had a buck bed, like maybe three or five yards away from the one hemp rope, and we had probably 15 pictures of that buck. So it's neat to see, and it's like I said, scents, I do like to use some doe-in-estrus in end of October, like by the third week of October, more as a cover scent, and also, you never know when that buck gets downwind of that and gets just a whiff of that and may come and check it out.

So the pre-orbital, the interdigital scent goes into the scrape. That's the gland on the hoof. So interdigital is in the scrape, and that's the one that comes from the hoof. The pre-orbital is the one that comes, right beside the eye. You'll see them rubbing kind of the side of their eye; that's the interdigital gland. And then the forehead gland obviously is right on the forehead. They'll rub that on trees and also licking branches; you'll get some forehead gland on that. So you can use the forehead gland on the ropes as well as the pre-orbital, and then interdigital in the scrape. And then as you get into the rut, you can use the tarsal gland scent in the scrape as well. And some doe-in-heat you can put some doe-in-heat scent in those scrapes just to fire 'em up, or hang Wicks with doe-in-heat around the scrapes - around the stand locations - to get that scent in the area.

As far as a cover scent or a deer scent, for a cover scent, so far I have two that I feel are fairly close to each other and I think are effective as a curiosity scent or a cover scent. And that is RAW, it has a calming scent. So, basically, that's a blend of deer scents that makes it smell like a bedding area to those deer, and they feel comfortable cuz there's other deer there. And then, the other one is the EverCalm's - the Deer Herd Stick. I like that for putting on the boots on the way in or rubbing on the trees around your stand location. Just to put off that, again, it's like a deer herd scent that can calm deer down coming into the area, knowing that there was other deer there and there's not as much danger.

As far as usage and how much to use, they say that a doe would go an average of, I think if I have this right, it's between 2-4 ounces when she would urinate. And so I think the big question is are you using real lure - actual deer urine, natural stuff - or are you using synthetic? The synthetic lures are much higher concentration, so I've seen more people spook deer with using too much synthetic lure. I think with a natural deer urine, you will not overload that very easily. You will not spook a deer by using too much. And I think more so people that were used to using the synthetics and go on to natural don't use enough because they're still in that mindset of, "You don't want to use too much." Well, if a deer urinates up to 4 ounces per shot, then you're not gonna overuse it - you're not gonna put too much down right away.

The doe-in-estrus, I would not use quite as much of that as I would just the regular deer urine. Like if you're doing a mix of buck and doe in a scrape just to get that scent there, or if you're using the calming, you can get away with using much more in that than the other one. I think the interdigital is probably the one you wanna be the most careful with; only about 3-4 dropper fulls at a time in a scrape, so you don't need much at all. The pre-orbital, you can use up to like a ½-1 ounce to soak that rope with before you put it out. I would do that early so that that can soak into it and get that scent into the hemp rope. But, in the season, I would probably only use 2-3 dropper-fulls at a time - ¼ ounce - and same with the forehead gland. You don't want to use too much. It's high concentrated, and too much of that scent could actually be counterproductive.

And then what didn't I cover yet? Tarsal gland, that is something that you would only use a little bit as well; that would be in the scrapes. So, again, if you think of it as Catchin' Deers - that saying - it cracks me up when I hear that saying, Catchin' Deers. But in a sense, there are some comparables to fishing, and you're using that lure as a tool to draw that deer in for the shot.

So I hope this year you get a chance to experiment a little bit with different lures and see what works for you. If you have some success with something, don't hesitate to share it with us. We like feedback. We're getting a lot of calls and get different feedback right now. So that's it for the lures that I have for now. I will try to update them as I get more details or experiences and try to also add more to the library.

So hopefully you get out in nature and enjoy its so many blessings.

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