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What is the best deer attractant?

Jul 3, 2024 | by N Johansson


Hunter in a tree

What is the best deer attractant?


The crisp autumn air fills your lungs as you settle into your tree stand, eyes scanning the forest floor for any sign of movement. Hours pass, and the woods remain still. No flick of an ear, no flash of white tail. You can't help but wonder: what's the secret to consistently attracting deer to your hunting area?

For many hunters, the challenge of drawing deer within range is a constant struggle. While patience and skill are crucial, sometimes nature needs a little nudge. That's where deer attractants come into play. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the sport, understanding how to effectively use attractants can be a game-changer for your hunting success.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the world of deer attractants – from natural food sources to commercial products and DIY solutions. We'll dive into what works, what doesn't, and how to use these tools ethically and effectively. By the end, you'll have the knowledge to create an irresistible environment that brings deer right to your stand.

So, let's uncover the secrets of the best deer attractants and take your hunting strategy to the next level. Whether you're after that trophy buck or simply aiming to fill your freezer, this guide will help you make the most of every moment in the field.


What is the best deer attractant

Understanding Deer Attractants

Definition

Deer attractants are substances designed to lure deer to a specific area. These can range from food sources to scent-based products that mimic natural environmental smells.

Purpose

Hunters use deer attractants to create a controlled environment where predicting deer movements becomes easier, thereby increasing the chances of a successful hunt.

Importance

Attractants prove invaluable in the early season as deer establish patterns, during the rut when bucks are chasing, and in challenging weather conditions. For example, a food-based attractant early in the season can help create a feeding routine that regularly draws deer near your stand.

Types of Deer Attractants

Deer attractants come in various forms, each serving a specific purpose. Understanding these types can help you choose the best attractant for your needs.

Liquid Attractants

Liquid attractants are easy to spread and can cover large areas quickly. They often mimic the scent of food or other deer.

  • Application: Ideal for creating mock scrapes or enhancing natural food sources.
  • Scenarios for Use: Best used near trails or bedding areas.

Powder Attractants

Powder attractants are versatile and can be mixed with soil or food plots.

  • How and Where to Spread: Sprinkle over existing food sources or mix with soil in strategic locations.
  • Benefits: Long-lasting and covers large areas effectively.

Granular Attractants

Granular attractants combine the strengths of liquid and powder forms. They are often nutrient-rich, adding value to the deer's diet.

  • Usage: Typically spread on the ground or over food plots.
  • Benefits: Easy application and long-lasting effects.

Spray Attractants

Spray attractants are highly concentrated and straightforward to use.

  • Application Tips: Spray on vegetation, mock scrapes, or even your hunting gear for immediate effectiveness.

Solid Stick Attractants

Solid sticks offer sustained release over time, making them convenient and durable.

  • Usage: Place them near hunting stands or trails.
  • Benefits: Long-lasting and weather-resistant.

Top Brands and Products

Several brands stand out for their reliability and effectiveness. Here are some top picks:

Brand Product Features Pros Cons Approx. Price
ConQuest EverCalm Deer Herd Stick Mimics deer herd scents, long-lasting Easy application, durable Higher price point $$$
Wildlife Research Various scent attractants High-quality, variety in scent attractants Quality, effective Can be overwhelming to choose $$
TINK'S Estrous and buck lures Wide range of scents Versatile, effective scent lures May require trial and error $$
Redmond Hunt Trophy Rock Mineral-rich, long-lasting Nutritional benefits, easy to place Requires strategic placement $$

How to Use Deer Attractants Effectively

Application

Using deer attractants effectively can significantly impact your success.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions: Follow manufacturer guidelines while tailoring applications based on your environment and observed deer activity.
  • Placement: Place attractants near trails, scrapes, and feeding areas to optimize deer attraction.

Placement

Strategic placement is crucial:

  • Tips: Use attractants near natural food sources, bedding areas, and travel corridors.
deer attractant

Seasonal Use

Attractant effectiveness varies with the season:

  • Spring/Summer: Nutritional attractants support antler growth.
  • Fall/Winter: Scent-based attractants capitalize on the rut and post-rut seasons.

Behavioral Insights

Understanding deer behavior enhances the effectiveness of attractants:

  • Tips: Adapt your strategy based on local deer habits.
  • Example: During the rut, using an estrous scent attractant can aggressively draw bucks searching for does.

Safety and Legality

Regulations

Being informed about legal considerations and hunting regulations is vital.

  • Legal Overview: Ensure compliance with state and local laws regarding baiting and attractants.
  • Examples: Some states prohibit baiting, while others permit it under specified conditions.

Ethics

Ethically using deer attractants upholds fair chase principles:

  • Ethical Practices: Avoid overbaiting and use attractants responsibly.

Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick overview:

  • ConQuest EverCalm Deer Herd Stick
    • Pros: Long-lasting, easy to apply.
    • Cons: Higher price point.
  • Wildlife Research Center Products
    • Pros: High quality, multiple options.
    • Cons: Can be overwhelming to select the right one.

Nutritional Benefits

Some attractants serve dual purposes as nutritional supplements.

  • Nutritional Impact: Attractants with minerals contribute to deer health.
  • Example: Products like Trophy Rock provide essential minerals promoting antler growth.

Expert Opinions and Success Stories

Gaining insights from seasoned hunters can offer valuable tips and tricks:

Insights

  • Expert Quotes: "Place granular attractants near bedding areas to condition deer to regular visits, enhancing hunting success. Consistency is key; deer will learn to frequent these spots if they find them reliable."

DIY Options and Natural Alternatives

Creating your own attractants can be a cost-effective alternative:

Homemade Recipes

  • Recipes: Mix common ingredients like peanut butter, corn syrup, and salt for an effective homemade attractant. Another popular recipe includes combining sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and cherry-flavored gelatin to create a sweet, irresistible lure for deer

Natural Methods

  • Natural Alternatives: Use food plots or native plants. For example, clover or alfalfa plots serve as food sources and attractants for deer, providing both nutrition and a natural draw to your hunting area.

  • Example: Planting a mix of turnips, peas, and brassicas can create a diverse and appealing food plot that attracts deer throughout different seasons.

Geographical Considerations

Different regions require distinct attractant strategies:

Regional Effectiveness

  • Effectiveness:Tailor attractant use based on regional deer behavior and habitat. In the Midwest, corn and soybeans are highly effective, while in the Southeast, acorns and peanut butter might be more appealing due to the local deer diet.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Understanding common pitfalls can help you avoid them:

  • Top Mistakes: Overuse of attractants, incorrect placement, and ignoring local regulations are common errors. For instance, placing bait too close to your stand can alert deer to your presence, making them wary of the area.

  • Best Practices: Proper application, moderation, and ethical standards are crucial. Always consider wind direction when placing attractants to avoid spreading human scent. Additionally, rotating bait sites and allowing areas to rest can prevent deer from becoming nocturnal or avoiding the bait altogether.