Homemade Deer scent field trials

Discussion in 'DIY Archery & Hunting Projects' started by Rancid Crabtree, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    First of all, I do not subscribe to the notion that a hunter must not use scents or that a hunter musts try not to change anything lest he spook all the deer in the area. After 3 ½ decades of deer hunting, I have learned that deer are a very curious creature, especially in regards to scents. Being raised on a farm, it didn’t take long to understand that exposing raw dirt meant there would be fresh deer tracks in it within 24 hours because deer are curious about the smell.

    I think some hunters give deer too much credit for having the ability to reason or deduce that a scent means that they are being hunted. I just don’t think deer are wired like that. Introducing new smells should not send deer running into the next county because they determine the new smell means a hunter is after them. I dont think they use that sort of reasoning. Not being afraid to try new things, I have been messing around with a curiosity scent.

    In the past, I have tried a attractants/scents for deer hunting that were not a rut (sex) based scents but rather a food/curiosity scent even though there is nothing for the deer to consume (unless they eat the material you put the scent on). I have had good luck those lures.

    I was intrigued after having some success with those lures so I have been playing around, trying to make my own food/curiosity oil scent (Oil based because it does not evaporate) In order to evaluate the drawing power of this food/curiosity scent, I bought two trail cameras and set about monitoring the results. I am new to trail cameras and this is my first time using trail cameras in the woods I hunt. I placed the cameras on 6-25-2011

    For the first trials, I placed the scent in known travel corridors to ensure deer would be likely to encounter the scent. This way, I could hopefully determine if the scent attracted them or scared them away or had no effect at all. Also, I hoped to see if the scent made the deer skittish or nervous and whether they would visit the scent post only at night or during the day or both.

    Site #1 is in a swamp, near a small creek. I cut a tree the year prior for a shooting lane so I placed the scent on the cut end of the small tree to get the scent off the ground and because after viewing many many trail camera photos on the web, pictures of deer with their heads buried in the ground look as though those deer are eating something (Food, minerals, etc) so I wanted to avoid the appearance of deer at a mineral or food site placed on the ground.

    Below is a small sample of the hundreds of pictures I got. I have many many more including deer sniffing the ground around the tree which makes me think they are smelling the scent of the other deer that visited the area. Between June 23 and Aug 13, I got just over 300 pictures.

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    These two pictures sparked my curiosity.


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  2. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Some of the other pictures I got. I think the deer are curious about the scents left behind by the other deer visiting the site.

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  3. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Site #2 is on an intersection of a few well used trails I have hunted for 35 years and along the same river but about 400 yards down stream and in more of an open hardwood. The available trees in proximity to the trails meant I had no post to put the scent on so I broke off a piece of weathered wood and set it on the ground in front of the camera. I figured the deer would not be interested in eating a piece of punky wood and it would absorb the oil based scent better than pouring it on the ground. From June 25 to Aug. 13, I got over 600 pictures. The increased traffic to this spot coupled with rains made the area look like a mineral site. All the vegetation was getting trampled and it was beginning to get muddy. I moved the camera and removed the remaing piece of wood with the scent on Aug. 13 . Most of the piece of wood has been consumed and each time I checked the cameras, the piece of wood was in a different spot within a few feet of where I had first placed it.

    At this point I see no reason to modify the mixture of ingredients on the oil scent. Also, 3 weeks had elaped since the last time I checked the cameras which speaks to the staying power in the scent . Here are some of the pictures from site #2.

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  4. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I dont claim to understand what the long term effects will be or if the deer will tire of the scent or what will happen when the hunting season starts and there is increased human pressure and scent in the woods.

    At some point I expect that they will no longer be curious about the scent and they will understand that there is nothing to eat related to the scent. But after 2 months, it still seems to draw them in. I expect ripening farm crops, acorns and other mast will pull them away from this scent as they work to fill their bellies before winter but I have to wait and see.

    This deer hunting game is a lot of fun. (so is experimenting)
     
  5. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I’m continuing with the trials with my Curiosity scent. I have not pulled the cards for over 3 weeks but got them on Sept. 4th. Camera 1 (Crossroads site) had 157 pics. I repositioned the camera facing the direction most of the deer seem to have been coming from which puts them almost right under one of my ladder stands which can be seen on the right side of the images.

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    There are 4 diff bucks in this picture.

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  6. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    These are some of the 148 pics I got from the swamp site location. This site has a cut tree where I deposite the oil scent. Perhaps this doe fell asleep while getting a whiff or she is winking for the camera ( or a buck standing behind the camera.)

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    That doe might have been winking at this guy. I have lots of pictures of him over many days. I have no pictures of him at night. He seems to only come in during the day time.

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    I also got a picture of a passing bear. He doesnt seem too interested in the scent. This is the first and only bear I have gotten a picture of.


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  7. seanmoe

    seanmoe Weekend Warrior

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    Pretty cool pics, doesn't look like your sent scares the deer but even with all the photos it would be hard to say if it attracts them if the sent is located in a primary tavel rout the deer that are sniffing it may just be passing by investigating. I like the bear thats pretty cool. I agree what you've said about deer being curious and not starting out wired to detect us as predators, but I believe they do get that way after experiencing a hunting season. They start to relate the smell of humans with somthing that would like to shoot them. IMO hunting pressure determines that.
     
  8. Adamant2010

    Adamant2010 Weekend Warrior

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    Those are some great picks! You've clearly got this years target buck!...how many different bucks did you get on camera?
     
  9. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I think there are between 15 and 20 diff bucks but they change so much during antler development I cant be sure.
     
  10. cabinkeeper

    cabinkeeper Weekend Warrior

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    Looks to me as if u'r on to something good.Keep up the good work.If u were selling u'r product,I'd try it......best of wishes for u'r success.I love to buy American(mom/pop)shop stuff.I'd be very happy if all Wal-farts fell into the ground!!!!!!
     
  11. SilentSling

    SilentSling Weekend Warrior

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    Nice pictures...what camera? I really like the doe & 2 fawns...she spooked at flash... that shows how her heightened state of alertness is with little ones! Excellent research.....you should try a little smorgasboard deal.
    1. Salt block
    2. Your scent
    3. Someone else's attractant
    4. Other foods...it looked like soybeans were planted at one site.

    This was a great post!

    Thanks for sharing!
    SilentSling....Hardcore!

    This Ninja Dude is a bad Habit
    :ninja:
    Sorry!
     
  12. liwhitetail

    liwhitetail Weekend Warrior

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    awesome pictures
     
  13. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I havent kept up on this much since the season started but I left a scent pad on a tree after hunting with my homemade scent on it and got a few pictures of curious deer.

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    And a picture from the other location of the same 10 point just passing by.

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  14. michael_pearce

    michael_pearce Grizzled Veteran

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    i have to say that the best pic is of the small buck at the scent pad.
     
  15. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Yes they seemed to be drawn to the bait over and over. It didnt seem to loose its drawing power as the deer were continually curious enough to come and take a sniff putting them in position for a shot if I had chosen to take one.
     
  16. michael_pearce

    michael_pearce Grizzled Veteran

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    not trying to start a controversy here but.
    is it legal to bait in your part of wisconsin?
    I am asking because I know that they have a fine line here bout scent attractant vs actual scent baitng.
    which makes no sense
     
  17. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    It depends on which part of WI one is hunting. CWD management created baiting and feeding regulations and in the part of the state I hunt, baiting with placed food is prohibited but baiting with grown food is allowed (They threw their hands up and punted because they don’t have the time and money to enforce a ban a plots so they stopped short and just banned placed baits) Baiting with scents up to 2 Oz is legal for hunting and does not have to be removed at the end of the day. More than 2 Oz must be removed at the end of the days hunt.

    The scent bait I am formulating, seems to have very good drawing potential and since its a food based bait in scent form its legal to bait deer to my location using such a method.
     
  18. USFAN51473

    USFAN51473 Weekend Warrior

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    What ever you are doing, it seems to be working. The deer seem to be curious. Keep it up and good luck during the season.
     
  19. Copehunt

    Copehunt Weekend Warrior

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    While you have been testing the different scents did you try to mask your own scent? How did your own scent fall into the equation during testing? For example gloves, boots etc. I always wonder if their urge to investigate the bait scent is stronger than their urge to shy away from any human scent left behind. For example last season from Sept through Jan I used a lot of doe pee, doe estrus, buck urine etc and also by a couple of different brands down near my stand. Early on I was real good about trying to cover myself, but as the season wore on I got lazy or forgetful about hiding myself so much but kept applying the scents anyway. The thing is, they ended up beating down a path right in front of my stand that you wouldn't believe and also started a couple of their own scrapes. Do you think that they can get to a point where they are sort of accustomed to the human scent and less fearful of that with a stronger attraction to the bait scent? Is it possible to go overboard trying to hide your own odor? I don't know…

    By the way, great effort and beautiful specimens too!
     
  20. Rancid Crabtree

    Rancid Crabtree Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Yes, I treated my trips to the sites like I would if hunting, I am a scent nut so rubber gloves and boots and minimal time spent in the area was observed.

    I agree that their desire to scent check a new scent trumps the disturbance I created.

    Yes, years of gardening tells me that even if you leave a sweaty cap or shirt or gloves in the garden, the deer will still eat the peas and beans you are trying to grow.

    Yes, I believe that one can spend their way into the poor house trying to best a deer’s nose when it may be unnecessary.
     

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