Deer season brings along all the frustration and excitement that draws so many hunters back year after year. A big key to success is using the best deer attractants that work.
What a lot of people forget about is that deer season is actually composed of several different periods where deer activity changes. They are:
- Early season: Deer are focused on finding food
- Pre-rut: Buck dominance is established
- Rut: Deer are actively looking to breed
- Post-rut: Some breeding might still be occurring and foraging is prominent again
A major tactic that can be used to increase your success is the use of attractants.
My point is:
Understanding deer activity and utilizing the correct type of scent can drastically increase your chances of harvesting a deer.
But there's a catch...
There are lots of attractants on the market with each claiming to be the best, but which ones actually are?
We have put together our top 5 attractants and provided each item with a description of what makes them worth your money.
You can also make your own attractant and we will provide some recipes for the best homemade deer attractants later in the article.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What Is The Best Deer Attractant?
Let's go over the top 5 deer attractant reviews next.
This attractant/calming scent is perfect for all stages of deer season.
The innovative stick method of application rids the potential for mess and leaks and has been proven to be extremely effective in the field.
It can be applied to one’s self, clothing, and hunting equipment to help keep deer in your area from spooking.
A lot of people mistake this only for a scent blocker, but it is also an attractant that mimics doe urine and other common scents deer associate with bedding areas.
This makes the deer curious and helps take the deer off their guard and they will be less likely to detect you. The stick is the best deer scent attractant by far.
Also, Conquest Scents is a family owned and operated business in the good ole USA.
Buck bomb provides several different types of scents to cover the different periods of deer season.
That is what really makes this product one of the most versatile on the list.
Their Ambush product is made of 100% whitetail deer urine making it a great attractant and cover scent throughout the deer season.
The Doe “P” version is 100% natural whitetail doe urine and is perfect during the pre-rut and rut. This is also a covering scent throughout the season.
Buck Bomb’s Doe in Estrus product also contains 100% natural doe urine with increased estrous hormone making this version your best bet during the rut period to bring in frenzied bucks.
They also produce a Dominant Buck version containing 100% natural buck urine.
This is most effective during pre-rut when bucks are competing for dominance, but can also bring you results during the primary rut.
This product has a shelf life of up to three years so you have all the time in the world to pick the right moment for use.
The cans can be used all at once creating a large dispersion of the scent or used intermittently, spraying areas around you or using it with a dragger.
The ratio of urine to other aerosols is 1:3,000 giving this product excellent range reaching out to deer at great distances. It is the best buck attractant.
This attractant is best used during all phases of the rut, but will bring you the most success during the primary period.
Tink’s is one of the leaders of attractants and have been producing quality products for decades.
Their #69 Doe-in-Rut Buck Lure is 100% natural doe urine collected during their estrous cycle.
It is available in 1 ounce or 4 ounce bottles, both with an easy to squirt application top. This makes it very convenient for attracting deer.
This attractant is best used with boot footpads, a dragger, or hanging from low limbs and shrubs.
This attractant will bring the most success when used during the primary rut where deer are looking to mate, but can also be used with more limited success in the pre and post rut.
Code Blue Whitetail Doe Estrous attractant is unique in that the 100% natural doe urine is collected from a single doe while most other products are a blend.
How does this impact its effectiveness? The makers claim that blends confuse bucks that are used to tracking single does by their scent.
Because Code Blue only uses urine from a single doe it is more realistic to the buck giving this product “true to life” effectiveness, as stated by the makers. This makes it the best way to attract deer.
This product comes in a single 1 ounce bottle and is best used with a dragger or hanging from limbs and shrubs near your hunting site.
This food/mineral attractant can be used all season long.
However, it will be most effective at bringing in curious deer during the early season and pre/post rut where the deer are less focused on finding a mate.
To really swing the odds in your favor, you should apply the attractant in the area you are intending to hunt for several weeks leading up to the hunt.
This will predispose the deer to come to your hunting area.
What makes this product stand out from other food attractants are the high reactive minerals that react with moisture when poured, creating vapors that can reach out at greater ranges to attract deer.
Deer crave the minerals in the liquid and will keep coming back to the area you applied the liquid to, so it makes for some of the best deer bait.
To use this product, pick a specific area within your hunting grounds and clear the vegetation in a 4 foot diameter. Pour the full gallon of liquid onto a stump or into the ground.
Be aware of hunting regulations in your area. Using this during hunting season might be considered baiting in some areas!
Best Homemade Deer Attractant Recipes
If you are tight on cash, or maybe just looking to broaden your self sufficient hunting skills, making your own attractants might be the way you want to go.
And no, you will not need a chemistry lab to make these homemade attractants.
In fact, these are extremely simple recipes that man has been using to hunt deer long before we, and our commercial attractants, came along.
A great cover scent and food attractant that can be easily made at home is an acorn/apple spray.
The acorn smell helps mask human scent and helps you to blend into the smells in the woods. The apple will serve as an attractant to curious deer.
Here are the steps:
- Gather up a 1/2 pound to 1 pound of acorns and smash and grind them to a pulp.
- Add the acorn pulp to a gallon of boiling water.
- Bring the water down to a low boil and let simmer for five hours.
- In the final hour add 3-5 pressed apples of your choice or a few cups of apple cider.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit overnight.
- The next morning filter the water away from the remaining acorns and apples.
- You now have a gallon of homemade deer scent mask/food attractant. The best method for use is to distribute the liquid into several spray bottles for easy application.
This recipe can be tweaked to fit the environment you are hunting in. Some people like to add a little persimmon oil, cedar, and even cow manure if you are hunting near a farm!
Tarsal Gland Spray
For attractants to be used during the rut stages, tarsal glands of a doe or buck used properly can be more effective than the commercial brands.
CAUTION! There are bacteria located on the tarsal glands that have been shown to cause disease in humans, so wear rubber or nitrile gloves when removing them and use proper hand washing techniques.
Here are the steps to make a tarsal gland spray:
- Remove tarsal gland from back legs of the buck or doe. The gland is the dark, dense hair on the inside or the back knee joint of the deer. Be sure to label bags with the gender. Freeze glands immediately.
- When ready to make the spray, cut the dense hair away from the skin.
- Warm up around 10 ounce of water and add the hair to the water and stir gently. The oil on the hair will move into the solution.
- After 30-45 minutes pour the solution through several coffee filters into a new container.
- You can now distribute the tarsal solution into spray bottles for use.
- Smaller spray bottles should be used and the remainder refrozen since you will not need that much to do the job.
Tarsal glands from a doe during rut will be extra effective during rut phases.
Attractants will not guarantee that a big buck will come along.
You still need to be positioned in an area that deer regularly frequent, be aware of the wind direction, and use the correct type of attractant.
With that said, an attractant used correctly can really improve your chances of success and we have provided a few of the best deer scents as well as some homemade attractant recipes that you can experiment with.
And don't forget to get the right scope for your rifle. There's no reason to do all of the work and then miss the shot because your gear is not good enough.
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