Deer Hunting Scents

white tail deer

There are many different types of scents. Scents come as attractants and cover scents. Attractants can be used all year around but are much more effective during the pre-rut and rut. Cover scents put out a scent that deer are used to smelling and are used to cover the human scent with an over powering scent.

Each type of scent has its use. Used wrong scents can actually harm a hunters changes. For example using Doe in Heat scent in September will cause bucks to actually avoid the area. Once the pre-rut and rut starts doe in heat scent is like an irresistible magnet to bucks. In my experiences, doe in heat scent will not pull a buck away from a doe that is in heat.

Cover scents can be highly effective in helping to hide a hunters scent. Human scent will cause most deer to turn and run. Only time that I have ever not had a deer turn and run is when I was hunting around metropolitan areas where human scent is abundant. Even then the deer are still Leary.

I got to add another tactic I will sometimes employ. It may sound strange but a well-placed used sock can stop deer from going in a direction or taking a trail that the hunter doesn’t want. When a deer comes to a choice “helping” them make the one that the hunter wants. A piece of white fabric that will move in the wind can do the same thing. The used sock will give the scent element as well.

Doe in Heat


Doe in heat scent is urine collected from a deer when it is heat. It is bottled and sold to hunters. This scent can cause bucks that catch a wiff to come running. Sometimes sprinting into the area. This type of scent works really well during the rut. I would caution against trying to use this type of scent outside of the rut.

I’ve had huge success employing this during the rut. Adding it to a drag and putting down a trail to follow has been very successful. Adding calling to the use of scents can make it almost irresistible to bucks.

Another tactic to consider is adding doe in heat scent to a decoy to add another element of realism to the buck. One thing that I have seen using this tactic is doe’s will sometimes blow and run from doe decoys. For some reason I haven’t had a doe react to a buck decoy.

Mock Scrape


Mock scrapes can also be highly effective if the doe to buck ratio is high. Bucks will scrape the ground in an area to mark their territory. Usually there is a licking branch above the scrape. The buck will pee in the scrape leaving their scent. Doe’s will use these scrapes to let the buck in the area know that they are ready to be bred. A Doe will pee in the scrape and move off a short way to wait for the buck to show up.

There are products that you can add it to drip into the scrap that will put down a different buck scrape thus creating a need for any bucks in the area to protect their territory.

There are drips that will only drip during the day. I have had good success using this strategy. The drip bag only drips during the day getting the bucks to visit the mock scrape during daylight hours.

Year Around Scent

Year around scents such as buck scent or doe scents can be used to help put deer at ease as well as to help get them to follow the trail that the hunter wants them to. I have had decent success using this tactic but have also had deer run from it.

Using a drag and add scent as you go is usually how I deploy this tactic. When I get to my stand location, I will hang the drag on a tree branch. I have had deer stop and lick the drag. It gives the deer something to focus on and may get them to stop in one of your shooting lanes.

Cover Scent


Cover scents can come in many different forms. I have had used fox pee, wafers, and other types of cover scent. The objective is to mask the hunters scent as much as possible. I have heard of skunk scent being used as a cover scent but not one that I want to try.

The different animal cover scents do work well. The hunter needs to make sure that the animal scent being used is actually in the area. For example if there are no foxes in the area, fox pee cover scent is not going to work. It will have the actual opposite effect.

Wafers are another type of cover scent. You add the wafers to the bags where you store your hunting cloths to add the cover scent. I usually use fresh earth scent. I have had good success using this tactic. Throwing a few of the wafers to the tote that I store my hunting cloths in.

Ozonics machines kind of enter into this realm. Ozonics puts out ozone which destroys human scent thus covering the scent of the hunter. This is one of the newest tactic that I have added to my arsenal.

Cover scents can be effective and be used year around. I use them throughout the year. All this is done to get the deer into the best possible shot position. As I added these tactics of covering my scent and using attractants, my success rate has gone up.

Wrapping it up

Attractants can help to get deer come in your direction. If they are used correctly, that is. Using doe in heat during the early bow season will have the opposite effect. Deer can run from it as it doesn’t belong.

Cover scents can help mask human scent to hide the hunter. The different types of cover scents can be very effective when used in conjunction with other type of scents.

A strange experience that I have had is adding a used sock to try and convince a deer to not take that trail but to take the trail that I want them to take. A piece of white fabric will accomplish the same task.

Since I have started adding these tactics to my arsenal my success rate has gone way up. A deer’s nose is their best defense. If a hunter can beat a deer’s nose, their chances will go up and they should see more deer. Adding calling to the use of scents can help a hunter see more deer.

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2 thoughts on “Deer Hunting Scents”

  1. I’m really glad you took the time to explain the different scents and when to use them because I wanted to get a couple of things for my son for Christmas, and I’m glad to know when these various products should be used.  He may already know this information, but it was entirely new to me.  So interesting that bucks would actually avoid a deer in heat, right?  Different than humans for sure lol!  I guess they have stricter rules!  Great article as always!

    • Hello Babsie,

      When it is outside of their normal breeding cycle the sense would put off alarms with the animals.  Kind of like smelling fresh earth of spring in the middle of winter.  You would know that it doesn’t belong there.  Deer are no different.  I’m glad I was able to add some value to you when it comes to purchasing correct products for your son. You probably right that he know what is what but you wouldn’t.  Thank you for your comment. Dan

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