Lakecaster Online

Scent Sense
By John Plumb

Until three years ago I was not an enthusiast of using masking or attracting scents on deer. Never would spend the money. I always found enough deer to shoot at. Another great feature of Texas living, lots of deer.

My mind got changed on one hunt. That's all it took. I actually saw doe scent hold a buck sniffing for 15 minutes around where it had been spread. Could have killed him 30 times, but the lesson was worth the buck. Climbing down from the stand I decided this stuff worked, and worth further research.

After playing with the stuff for three years, I concluded it's worth every penny, and applied right, a new world of deer hunting is at hand. You will see bucks you would never in a million years see. I saw it draw a buck over 600 yards to a feeder where the scent was hanging high. The breeze carried the scent to the buck way down the pasture. It was like he had lost his balance.

In Kerrville, my wife shot two bucks in forty minutes. Both had their head down sniffing where the drops had fallen to the rocks when applied. For a long time they sniffed. Time to devise a plan.

If your hunt place tends to be an afternoon shoot, put this stuff out as soon as the morning hunt is over. Try to drop it on something dry all around your feeder, or an open area if you do not feed. I feed year-round and we have deer year-round. These deer are Betty's pets. I do not get to shoot at them, but I learn a lot about deer behavior by watching them.

The guys who package this stuff claim it lasts a long time. Believe me, if you go for three days, take three bottles, minimum. Put it out as soon as possible when you arrive, after the morning hunt, and when you leave in the evening, 1/3 of the bottle each application. Put some up at 5 feet or so to get it wind-borne, and anywhere you can see to shoot.

A "cheap trick" is to take a plastic film can, drill tiny holes all in it, hang the cap on a string and fill it with cotton. Drop 10-20 drops in the cotton, snap on the lid and hang it where you can shoot to. Bucks will put their nose right on it and stand for a shot.

Don't let the scent advantage make you complacent and forget that bucks are smart and wary, and if you bungle in the stand, or move at the wrong time, you're history, and so is the buck. Bye-bye. You still have to do the same stuff you normally do: time the rut, time of day to hunt, where to hunt, etc.

What I see at our place is basic and simple. When the moon is bright, feed all night. Your better chance is between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Most of the bucks I am seeing now are out in mid-day. Come the dark of the moon, things get more traditional for deer movement, early and late.

Where deer and people cohabit, they tend to be more nocturnal because of the proximity. People are still the enemy, but we've pushed them into a corner. Their habitat shrinks every time someone clears a pasture, or builds a house on 10 acres. Where will it all end?" Not well, I'm sure.

One good end. I'm seeing some real quality bucks with really nice horns. A couple of them are for a fact wall hangers. It has been a while since I have seen the deer in such good shape, and in such numbers. It should be a grand season. I know my little place can only be a small representative of the over-all picture. The deer have made a good living.

Where I hunt has both open and woods, thick woods. In the open, it's .270 time. In the woods, 45-70. If you are to hunt in the thick, you need a brush gun, 30-30, 44, etc. Cannon is a good word. It must be heavy enough to "bull" its way through brush, but they will not shoot through trees. It's an ideal place for my favorite stands set up close to trails.

With some scouting after opening weekend, you'll find where the deer have moved to. It always happens, and the firefight will put them back in the woods. Count on it. Oh, you'll see lots of does and yearlings at the feeder, but the bucks will be way back in. The lightweight ladder stands can be moved quickly and quietly. Ambush, if you please. Try the scent if you haven't. You might well be surprised.

See you ON THE LAKE, in a few months.

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