Attracting a whitetail deer when hunting is quite the art form. From camouflage and lures, to scents and decoys, the whole process is a carefully crafted illusion. Here are three tips for attracting a whitetail deer during any season and specific adjustments you should make depending on the time of year and your hunting location.
1. Wear camouflage that fits the season and location
Finding the perfect camo depends on the habitat and season you’re hunting in. The outdoors industry has changed in the past decade to include an extensive variety of camo for women, men and children for a wide range of forests and ecosystems. For example, if you plan to hunt in a woodland, forest ecosystem in the fall, you should find camo that has no green patterns as it will stand out to the deer. Instead, choose something with shades of brown and grey to better blend in with the surroundings and changing colors of the season. You can continue to use your brown-dominant camo up until it snows, at which time you will need a white-based camo with dark brown patterns to stay hidden in the environment.
2. Utilize deer lures
There are numerous options for deer lures that you can make yourself or purchase commercially. To speak the language of whitetail deer and attract them closer to you, purchase a deer call or download a hunting call app on your smartphone. To lure a deer using a scent, you can try a number of options, like scent wicks or bottles of commercial spray, which give off aromas like deer corn, orange and apple scents. The most effective and dependable lure scent is deer urine, which draws deer about 10 weeks before the height of the local deer breeding season. If you’re trying to attract deer to your property, use a salt block that’s made of a combination of salt, minerals, cider and apple salt.
Decoy setup is a year-round lure, consisting of different phases depending on the season. In the early breeding season or end of summer, use a non-threatening, feeding, subdominant buck to attract other social deer or those looking to assert their dominance. During peak season, which starts in September and runs through November, a standing buck with a bedded or kneeling doe is the perfect combination. After the core season is over, a solo doe decoy would attract late-season survivor bucks looking for last-minute partners if placed with estrous doe urine and over a food source.
3. Conceal your scent
There are a variety of ways to conceal your scent while hunting, increasing your chances of coming in close contact to your target. Natural ways involve using crushed pine needles, leaves/flowers of rabbit tobacco, apple cider, baking soda, the odor of campfire, livestock/farm animals and doe urine. For those interested in utilizing high-tech gadgets to eliminate this issue, Ozonics is a sophisticated system that converts oxygen from the air into ozone. The chemically unstable ozone, which is denser than air, binds with and eliminates or reduces your scent molecules. This new technology is essentially cleaning the air between you and your target, giving you the upper hand. After identifying the direction of the wind, mount Ozonics above you on a tree or window downwind so it catches and eliminates your scent before it leaves the area.