Pre Breeding Buck Attraction ?

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Stocker Steve

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I have had good success bow hunting over ACTIVE scraps during the 10 days or so before breeding starts. I also hunt with folks that have a lot of success calling in bucks during the later part of the breeding period.

I have not had success using a scented boot drag. Does this approach have a lower success rate, or do I need to intentionally walk & scent drag through staging areas and choke points? Seems invasive... I usually sneak it avoiding the main deer trails.
 

M.Magis

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Scents in general are pretty hit or miss. Frankly they're mostly miss. At best, they can be useful to stop a deer to offer more time for a good shot. I wouldn't expect a scent to actively draw in a deer.
I'm not sure what commercial scents are lacking when compared to a real doe, but the two are worlds apart. A hot doe will draw in every buck that gets the slightest whiff.
 

chaded

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I try to minimize how much I am putting down of MY scent as much as possible. So, I’m not going to go walking around all over the place. Mature bucks hardly ever fall for that stuff. Immature bucks would probably come to a can of bacon grease during the rut. Lol.
 
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Stocker Steve

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I think seeking and chasing bucks are not real predictable. Seems like bucks are very visual at these times, and I hunt a lot of field edges. Would a decoy have a higher probability of success than a scent drag?

I tried a couple boot drags last year, and I had does follow the scent...
 

Dave

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My house and fields seem to attract bucks at this time of the year. Of course deer season ended a week ago and they are safe for the next 49 weeks so they all come out of hiding.
 

Atimm693

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Scent drags are a waste of time for a mature buck. You might get a spike or 2 year old to follow, but an old buck will cut your track and run.

They smell everything. The oil on your skin, shed skin cells, the dog **** you stepped in last week, the laundry detergent from your socks, the fresh soil and broken foliage in your footsteps. They will know a human was there for days after.

A lot of scrape activity is done at night. If you can find a scrape close to bedding (it'll usually be a big one, like the size of a car hood, used by multiple bucks), and can get set up on it with good wind, you'll have a good chance.

I don't use any scents, and play the wind. You can't fool a deer's nose. I like early and late season when they're on a bed to food pattern that's predictable. The rut isn't predictable. About all you can do there is setup downwind of a known doe bedding area, bucks will cruise through scent checking from a distance. You can use the terrain to your advantage, funnels or choke points like you said along a buck's route are good bets. This applies best to the seeking phase, once you get into lockdown when most does are in heat, go back to hunting beds.

Also keep thermal winds in mind, hunt high in the morning, low at night. If you're setup on a hillside in the afternoon overlooking a draw, your scent will go straight down the tree into the draw, regardless of predominant winds. In the morning, when things are warming up, your scent will go straight up like a chimney.

Big bucks love to bed on hillsides with predominant winds coming over their back, and thermal day winds coming up the hillside to them. They've got it made there and it's near impossible to get the jump on them. A buck will have different bedding areas to suit different wind conditions.

We are still about a week away from peak rut, this year has been strange, not a lot of activity on cameras from bucks and very little sign. They have been doing a lot of culling with CWD and the populations are down quite a bit.
 
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Caustic Burno

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I have had good success bow hunting over ACTIVE scraps during the 10 days or so before breeding starts. I also hunt with folks that have a lot of success calling in bucks during the later part of the breeding period.

I have not had success using a scented boot drag. Does this approach have a lower success rate, or do I need to intentionally walk & scent drag through staging areas and choke points? Seems invasive... I usually sneak it avoiding the main deer trails.
I have had good success as well. I put nothing down store bought. It’s their living room and here your not fooling the nose.
I step in every pile of cow shyt on the way to the stand.
 
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Stocker Steve

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OK. Boot scent drags for for luring in yearlings.

I have also tried a doe decoy, and had does come in... I was told recently to switch to a large buck decoy to minimize curious does (that may rat you out). Have you had success with buck or doe decoys during the early part of the rut?
 

Atimm693

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OK. Boot scent drags for for luring in yearlings.

I have also tried a doe decoy, and had does come in... I was told recently to switch to a large buck decoy to minimize curious does (that may rat you out). Have you had success with buck or doe decoys during the early part of the rut?
I don't really fool with decoys, but it's fun to watch the guys from THP do it with success. They will get setup on the ground and do some calling sequences. Works for them.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I wear my barn clothes to hunt in (camo coveralls). But, our deer are used to "people", so I'm not as careful as most. I also just meat hunt. I don't wait for a big buck. I always have 2 doe tags. My best buck was an 11 point. That's pretty big around here (only whitetail deer here).
 

Caustic Burno

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OK. Boot scent drags for for luring in yearlings.

I have also tried a doe decoy, and had does come in... I was told recently to switch to a large buck decoy to minimize curious does (that may rat you out). Have you had success with buck or doe decoys during the early part of the rut?
Nope but I can get a big boy to trot in to a Haydell grunt call.
 

Dave

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No tree stands or shooting houses around here. We get up on a high spot and glass. Start with binoculars and once you find some deer go to a spotting scope to decide if there is one worth going after. Then a mile or two hike. Seems there is always a deep canyon that needs to be crossed. A quarter mile careful stalk. Then the shots are more often over 200 yards than under that distance. Of the dozen or so bucks I passed up this year only 2 were under 200 yards. One because there was a great route for the stalk. The other was plain dumb luck, the buck moved closer to me.
 

Dave

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I read an article about taking the Tarsal gland off a buck from another area. Tie it to your boot so it drug the ground. I was going to try it but never did. However one time my Dad took a tarsal off a mule deer I shot in north central Washington. Used it in the described method while hunting in western Washington. He jumped a couple deer in fairly thick second growth timber. Moved off a little 90 degrees off his original route where he could watch his back trail. About 15 minutes later here came two deer following his back trail. A doe and a pretty decent buck. He shot the buck.
 

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