Attracting deer to improve your trophy buck success is a little tricky since this involves using the right type of attractant at the right time of the year. For instance, if you’re trying out deer urine, you shouldn’t use doe estrous before the pre-rut or this will alert the animals that something is not right this early.
Here we shared our experience with some of today’s most popular attractants, including their effectiveness, pros, and cons for deer hunters, observers, and wildlife managers. We believe our findings will help you decide on the right attractant type and form that the deer won’t be able to resist!
Our Selected Deer Attractants
1 Wildgame Innovations Acorn Rage
Leading the way in our top 10 list is the Wildgame Innovations Acorn Rage. This range was developed with the approach of not only being nutritionally important for deer in terms of their health and growing superior antlers but also being attractive to deer.
It comes in the form of a pre-made concentrated formula that you can use straight from the packaging without needing to do any mixing. It isn’t in the form of an extract or a flavor, or by being just a scent. It has a true taste of acorn that gives deer that HANGRY feeling throughout the season. They can’t get enough of it.
To use this deer attractant, you just need to place it on the ground or in high-quality deer feeders, such as troughs or gravity-free-choice feeders. They’re blended and crushed well and work throughout the year as a supplement for deer as well as attracting them, particularly the whitetail deer species.
Why acorns? Well, it’s a well-reported fact that deer are known to leave their other popular foodstuff such as wheat, lush foods, and corn, to seek out their favorite treat: acorns. Acorn Rage gives them this treat and fulfills their obsession! At less than $25 a bag, it’s certainly worth a go in my opinion!
- Easy to use, straight from the bag.
- Attract deer throughout the whole seasons and phases
- Is nutritionally great for the deer
- Only suitable for ground areas
- Not legal in every state
We simply loved this attractant, thanks to how easy it was to use and how most deer couldn’t get enough of it. It does have mixed results with some deer in some parts of the season, especially in areas that are plentiful with their own food sources.
But as an all-purpose all-season option, it certainly ticked all the boxes for the top food deer attractant choice.
2 TROPHY ROCK Redmond Salt Lick
With the Trophy Rock Redmond Salt Lick, you’ll see the deer keep on coming back, again and again. You’ll be able to keep seeing the same deer returning to your location as they grow.
The salt lick uses an all-natural attractant which will let you feel good at giving the deer nutrients as well as attracting them. Deer can’t reach their potential in terms of growth without the necessary nutrients, but Trophy Rock can offer those nutrients.
It will also last a long time out in the field, giving you more for your money. You can also get great photos of the deer whilst they use the rock! The rock has also been mined in Utah, so you can be sure that you are supporting the American workforce and economy.
We placed the rock near a staging area on top of another rock to keep it off the ground, so it lasts longer by avoiding puddles. We found it worked a treat and it’s still going strong today.
The deer also seemed to be relaxed with the mineral lick being higher as they were more alert to their surroundings with their heads higher. This one cost under $30 too, so it really was great value for money.
- Great value for money
- Gives deer lots of nutrients that they need
- Deer return to the same areas
- USA rock
- It had to be in a staged, elevated area.
- May be hard to initially entice deer to the area
Here is a thing about mineral lick that makes it such a deer-friendly attractant. Not only does it work as an effective deer attractant that lures them to come back repeatedly, but it also provides the much-needed mineral required for their growth.
For a traditional mineral lick, we really loved this one. It was affordable and the deer really seemed to like it. We had success with it in our chosen area that already had deer previously and we used an elevated deer blind to observe the herd; so we knew it could keep them returning.
We love the fact that it’s nutritious for the deer and the fact that it was mined right here in the USA.
3 Conquest Scents Ever Calm Scent Stick
The Conquest Scents EverCalm comes with a deer herd scent in a stick form and claims to be the world’s first scent of its kind, thanks to it being calming for the deer.
It is mess-free with no possible leaks or spills. The scents have been collected together from deer bedding areas and it works all year round to attract and calm the deer.
It is particularly suited to the whitetail deer breed as it offers a strong and natural scent the same as the scents produced by the whitetail deer in their bedding down area. The concept is simple as it strives to be a part of the area where the deer are so comfortable that they will bed down for the night (or day!). It reduces their feelings of thread and it also covers human scents too.
This one costs under $20 but it does last a fair while as it’s in a stick form so you can rub it where you like rather like an underarm deodorant stick. It’s so effective that when I returned after hunting and stacking my rifle, my dog was barking at me for ages. He was clearly confused by my scent until I took off my boots and my coat!
- Stick form so no mess
- Works by calming the deer
- Masks human scent
- Can be used throughout the season unlike estrous scents
- A bit costly for a small stick
As far as scents go, we liked this one thanks to its mess-free packaging. You just roll it on wherever you need it like you would use a deodorant stick. We also gave it a sniff (as you do when buying scents!) and it certainly smelled like deer although it certainly was not unpleasant.
It lasts a while given that it’s in a solid block and it can be used throughout the whole season, allowing the animals to give in to that feeling of sleepy calmness that they associate with bedding down. We loved this one! And the deer seemed to too!
4 Tinks #69 Doe-in-Rut Buck Lure
This lure scent is a little less attractive smelling to humans but my word, the Buck’s love it! And that’s what you want. This liquid attractant is made from pure doe urine that has been collected from whitetail does during the estrus cycle.
You can use this scent pretty much anywhere, scrapes or trees, boot pads, or on a trail drag. It is most effective during the pre-rut and rut seasons as the bucks are seeking out the does for breeding. It comes in a 4 oz. of 100% doe urine in the estrus cycle.
It comes in an easy-to-open bottle with a twist and squirt mechanism. However, what we did find is that it didn’t last too long, particularly in really sunny weather when it evaporated or in wet weather when it was easily washed away. For a small bottle, you do want it to last! Prices start at around $15 for the smallest bottle.
- 100% doe urine from the estrus part of their cycle
- Easy to open and use
- The bucks love the scent
- Can be used anywhere
- Small bottle
This small bottle of scent certainly packs a punch in the deer attractant stakes! We loved how effective it was in luring in the bucks. It doesn’t cost big bucks either and a little goes a long way!
It does have its flaws in that it doesn’t last long, especially in certain weathers, but we did find it pleasantly alluring to the bucks in our company.
5 Whitetail Institute Imperial Clover Food Plot Seed
If you have an area of land that is close to where deer can graze, planting this food plot seed is a great idea – this one more than most as it’s packed with goodness. It is full of protein that helps to build deer antlers as well as helping to deliver healthier and heavier fawns with more milk from the does.
It is also tolerant to colder temperatures and is resistant to diseases, heat, and drought. Sounds like the perfect food plot crop, doesn’t it? That’s not all! It also has a special coating of RainBond, which means that the seedlings have enhanced survivability. One single planting can last up to five years.
The deer find it irresistible, particularly the whitetail breed. Indeed, the clover has been designed genetically, especially for whitetail deer – the only crop of its kind! Over the years, there has been extensive scientific research into the development of this crop and its appeal to whitetail deer throughout North America. In fact, it is so good that it gives a deer up to 35% of its protein intake!
This crop will certainly attract the deer and keep them there, as our testers found out. They loved its longevity and how hardy it was to the different weather, particularly the harsher climates in the northern and southern parts of the continent.
It is the most expensive product on our list so far, at above $30 or more. But the fact that it can last for 3 to 5 years is a lot more than most of the our selection.
- Lasts for up to five years
- Especially genetically formulated to be the perfect attractant and nutrition for whitetail deer
- Hardy plant that can withstand extremes in temperature and weather
- Must be planted on land that you own or have permission to plant on
- Not an immediate lure as it takes time to grow and develop.
Why do we love this one? Simply put, it is great in terms of how long it lasts. But it isn’t that great in terms of how quickly it can attract deer as it needs to be able to grow. If you have the land and the time and you know of deer nearby, it’s certainly worth a punt for your money.
The fact it is genetically perfect for the whitetail deer breed is also an added bonus as the deer will become stronger and in top physical form thanks to your nutrition.
6 Himalayan Nature Himalayan Rock Deer Salt Block
As the name suggests, the Himalayan Nature Rock is mined from deep in the Himalayan mountain range. It contains many valuable minerals and vitamins needed for these animals to have a healthy life and a nutritionally balanced diet.
In fact, there are over 84 mineral ions that can be used for all sorts of other animals too, such as goats, horses, and sheep.
With this salt lick, they will have electrolytes and trace minerals in their system. It will also make them naturally thirsty, encouraging them to drink more to stay hydrated. The selenium salt block is also resistant to animals biting it as well as being weather-resistant too. It won’t dissolve away in a heavy rainstorm, for example!
It is a strong deer attractant thanks to its calcium, salt, and magnesium content that deer need to be healthy. It promotes healthy bone growth too. It comes in four flavors too: classic, apple, corn, and chestnut flavors.
What we liked was that the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied for any reason, which is pleasing to note. Plus, it is a cheap deer attractant! Less than $10 and you can grab yourself one of these!
- Contains over 84 mineral ions that deer need to be healthy
- Encourages deer to drink to maintain hydration
- Four flavors
- Quite small
There’s not a lot to argue against how great these little rocks are. They give the deer lots of nutrients that they need to be visibly stronger and healthier and the deer just love them. The fact that there are four flavors and that they are reasonable in price is also very pleasing. You feel like you can try out a few different ones and you still haven’t broken the bank!
7 Lucky Buck -PoundM20 Apple Flavored Attractant
With Lucky Buck powder, the buck is certainly lucky! This powder is also a diet supplement for deer, so it helps them to be healthier and develop bigger and better antlers. A good point to note about this attractant is that deer actually want to eat it.
Finding something that animals want to eat is often tricky, but with this one, it’s relatively easy to get them to try it and like it. It has the perfect ratio of ingredients and minerals that will not allow the deer to overeat it either.
This is different from some competitor attractants as they include molasses or grain which can cause deer to overeat! It’s best used in the spring so that they can grow their antlers during this season, but you can use it all year round as well.
This one is apple flavored and there’s no need to prep the site, so it’s simple to use! You just dump a load on the ground! The apple crush flavor is certainly appealing to the deer. It comes in a 20lb bucket. It is the priciest on our list though, at around $40 at the time of our research for the bucket.
- Easy to use – just dump on the ground straight from the bucket
- Appealing to deer
- Large quantity
- Allows deer to self-regulate their intake of food
- Contains minerals and nutrients for deer to grow strong antlers in the spring.
This one is great as it is super easy to use. We just got a scoop and plonked a load on the ground. The deer soon came and then snaffled it up. They didn’t overeat though, which is vital in providing good quality nutrition to the deer. It was expensive but you do get quite a lot of product for your bucks.
8 Wildgame Innovations Sugarbeet Crush 15lb Bag
This product is a sugar beet crush – and the deer just can’t get enough of it! It comes in a carry pouch that’s extremely convenient and is a 15lb bag of mix. It is a mixture of sugar beets with fresh beans that have been heat processed.
Deer love the sugar beets, but they are really hard for hunters to find. They taste really sweet and are effective at drawing in the deer. But as a seasonal vegetable in certain regions only, it’s often tricky to find them.
That’s why this crush is such a good option. They make a great attractant that has been highly concentrated. It is also carefully produced with airborne technology so that there is a long-range of a vapor scent trails.
We poured some on a log on a farm and a couple of days later it had gone entirely! The deer just loved it. At just under $30 at the time of our research, this one was a little pricier than others in the list. It was certainly successful for us.
- Deer love it
- Airborne technology allows the scent to travel, attracting the deer
- Gives deer their favorite treat, even out of season or out of the area
- It isn’t the most nutritionally dense deer attractant compared with others on our list
There’s no denying that the deer fawned over this one (pun intended!). It was certainly a popular choice of food for the deer that we saw, and it kept them coming back for more too.
However, compared with other products, it isn’t the best for them nutritionally. That’s not to say it’s bad for them though, it just doesn’t contain the array of minerals and nutrients that other top-rated food-based deer attractants offer.
9 Buck Bomb 6.65 oz
The Buck Bomb gives 6.65 oz of Doe Estrus Urine from whitetail deer, which is 100% natural. You can spray it around intermittently or lock it down entirely to put the whole contents out.
It’s ideal for the pre-rut and the rut seasons to bring out the mature bucks and their breeding behaviors. It has a three-year shelf life if you don’t use it up, which is great, but you must store it correctly without it coming into contact with oxygen or UV light as this will cause the urine to degrade.
It is fitted with a custom nozzle that atomizes a single drop of urine into over 3000 particles so that it can travel downwind over great distances to an animal’s nose. It sticks to leaves, lots, grass, trees, and crops with its natural trail of scent leading back to your source. It’s really an efficient way of luring in the bucks during the pre-rut and peak breeding periods.
You can use it to cover your own scent too, to create barriers between the animal and your scent. You can also use it to create scent trails or for decoys to increase the levels of enticement.
The fact it’s in a spray form means that you don’t need to mess about with the lid or other forms of packaging, so it’s really easy to disperse. You can also lock down the special valve to unleash the whole contents at once. The scent can even travel up to a quarter-mile on a light 3mph breeze.
This one costs under $20 and so it’s a bit of a bargain to be had as well.
- It has a great shelf-life
- An attractive scent
- Barrier created between you and the deer
- Nozzle that can be used in any direction, even upside down
- Quick and easy to use
- Best used all at once, making it quite an expensive option if that’s the case
We liked this one for its ease of use and its different dispersal options. It worked really well at both disguising human scents and attracting deer. Its shelf-life was fantastic too, so long as it’s stored well. But we did find it best if it’s dispersed in one big go, which doesn’t make it the most cost-effective deer attractant out there!
10 Nationwide Scents Doe Estrus Buck Attractant
The last in our list is a scent-based attractant. As most hunters would attest to, attracting a buck is easiest by having a doe in heat. However, that’s not exactly possible at all times.
Aside from having an actual doe, the fastest way is by using Estrus scent urine that contains the peak levels of estrus that replicates the scent of a doe in heat. You can use mock scrapes and scent drags in the pre-rut, rut, and late seasons and spray it around the area. It’ll also mask the human scent and you’ll be incognito.
This one is quick and easy to use as you can keep it in your pocket and drop it around bait piles or food plots and even mineral sites. You can easily transport it to new places as well. The doe urine is fresh and collected at the peak estrus time, giving the closest possible scent to a live one.
It is collected in state-of-the-art facilities made from stainless steel and it also ensures that it exceeds the guidelines from the ATA on the protection of deer as well as those from the USDA. If you don’t agree with how good this deer attractant is, the company will also give you your money back!
This company was established back in 1988 and has two farms with a herd of 700 white-tailed deer. It’s also one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country.
- Money-back guarantee
- Approved facilities meeting national regulations
- Urine collected from the peak estrus period
- Easy to use
- Container size is quite small
We liked this one due to how regulated its production is. You can be sure that the facilities are top-notch and that you’re getting good quality for what you pay for it. If you disagree, they will also give you your money back, which is pleasing to know.
The company has also been established for over 20 years, which is reassuring as well. This one worked well in the rut season but wasn’t as successful at other times of the year, which was to be expected but was a little disappointing of course.
Quick Deer Attractant Buying Guide
1. Types of attractants
There are many different types of deer attractants out there, coming in all sorts of shapes, forms, and sizes. They are designed to be used in different ways too from hanging to ground use and so on.
- Food attractants
Food attractants are the most popular choice today. You can buy food attractants in a ready-to-eat form or plant seeds so that you can have a year-on-year benefit. Of course, this planting seeds type of attractant will only be an option if you hunt regularly in the same place or own the land where you are planting.
- Mineral attractants
Mineral attractants are in a solid form where you buy a block for you to use. If you didn’t already know, some animals such as ruminants that include sheep, cows, and goats too, love licking mineral salt. They are easy to put out and to take from one place to another on your hunts, placing them strategically.
- Scent attractants
Scent attractants are usually found in a spray form and it comes with intimate scents or actual pheromones from the deer themselves. They can be used in two ways. You can spray it into the air, which allows it to travel a little further afield on the breeze, or you can spray it on the foliage or food source surrounding the area.
2. Forms of attractants
A liquid/fluid attractant is similar to the spray mentioned above. The liquid is applied with a wick/thread whereby the wick is attached at one end to the source which you carry as you hunt.
The wick’s other end is pulled along as you walk along meaning that the hunter lures a buck with the false scent trail. This typically means that the buck will follow and approach you instead of you, as a hunter, tracking it.
Block attractants are usually in a mineral salt form as mentioned above but they’re not synthetic.
A powder attractant is usually mixed in with corn or other deer favorite foods. The powder usually also contains mineral salts. You can sprinkle the powder on the ground or dig a hole around 2 feet deep to mix the powder within the soil.
The deer are said to be attracted by the smell. Some species remember the food’s location and so may return to the same area again.
3. Hunting season
When hunting deer and trying to lure them in, you need to be aware of the different aspects of the deer breeding season. White-tailed adult deer breed in the fall months, also known as ‘the rut’ part of the season.
The rut is broken down into three other phases: the pre-rut phase, the peak phase, and the post-rut phase. The pre-rut occurs in the summer months usually with the post-rut happening towards the winter months. Each phase means that the deer will be behaving differently, something you need to know if you’re trying to hunt them.
The pre-rut phase means that the bucks will be in the fields and meadows congregating together. They are here to get energy from feeding as much as possible. Powder attractants are ideal at this time of the season, as are food attractants.
In the peak phase or breeding phase, the bucks track the does relentlessly, particularly during the daytime. This phase makes scents the best form of deer attractant in either a liquid or spray form.
After the peak phase, there’s reduced activity in the deer as they begin to conserve energy. This means that hunters need to approach the deer’s area and lure them in with food again. Keep in mind that scent attractants won’t be as useful in this phase.
Overall, it’s important to choose your attractant based on the season and phase as otherwise you may be left disappointed with the outcomes.
4. Hunting region
The region in which you are based does matter a fair bit. If you don’t want to hunt near the area where you live, you should do some research before you head out in terms of whether there is already a lot of food in the area or whether a food attractant would work best.
If food is plentiful, a food attractant might not be the best bait for deer. Mineral blocks or scents would work well here as you will need to be offering something that the deer don’t already have naturally in their environment and location.
5. Local regulations
Before you head out and hunt, make sure you are familiar with the law in your area. Deer baiting is not allowed in some US states but is allowed in others. There also exist areas where and how you can feed them, but you are not permitted to use that as bait to hunt them more easily.
Some states only allow deer baiting on private land. In Louisiana, you are not allowed to use sweet potatoes as bait, bizarrely enough! So, make sure to check out the law before choosing where to hunt and what attractant you want to use.
6. Deer Species
Whilst we have been talking about deer, they’re not just one breed. Each breed of deer has a different size, is prominent in certain regions, and has different behaviors. Some might even prefer different foodstuff and scents. When choosing a deer attractant, you should bear all of this in mind. Certain attractants are not always a good choice for certain breeds of deer.
You should look at the formula of the deer attractant that you are planning on using to make sure that it contains the elements which attract the species of deer that you are aiming to hunt. Not all brands of attractant have the same formula despite being sold as the same thing.
8. Site preparation
You should prepare the site where you are to be hunting and luring the deer by using your chosen deer attractant as specified in the instructions. You should also choose products carefully – a product that masks human scent is sensible! Deer won’t approach even the most enticing bait if they can smell humans!
Deer Attractants Using Tips
How to Use a Wick Dispenser?
Using a wick dispenser is a good way of spreading your deer urine attractant around your area. Using a hot wick mimics fresh urine in terms of its temperature, giving the maximum benefits of the lure. Pheromones change with heat so having the right temperature speeds up the movement of the scent molecules in the urine, giving the hunter a larger range.
When urine meets air, it dissipates quickly and the profile of its pheromones is altered. Deer can sense how fresh urine is so you should also make sure you use a fresh wick or one that has been washed properly.
Using Urine out in the Field
The more deer urine that you use in your hunt the better. Deer urinate between six and eight ounces each time, so it makes sense to use a minimum of four to six ounces on your hunt. If you use more it will reach further and last longer.
You should make two scrapes per hunt according to where the wind is blowing and around 20 yards for each side of where your stand is. You should also pick a tree for your scrape that has lower branches and make a circle of around three feet wide by scraping the leaves under the branches with your boots.
1. How to prevent other animals from getting close to your deer feeder?
Ans. It is incredibly frustrating when you spot that some raccoons or other small animals like squirrels have been at your feeder. This often happens with corn feeders as they are a favorite of raccoons. You can build a heat duct structure measuring around six inches and fix it to the leg of the feeder, which will stop the raccoons from crawling through and getting to the feed. The pipes are also a little too big for the raccoons to climb up!
2. How to make a homemade lick?
Ans. Did you know that you could make your own lick for deer? This is what you’ll need:
- Fine-grain salt
- Some stock salt
- House salt
- Di-calcium phosphate
- A trace mineral
Here’s the recipe:
Step 1: Dig a hole measuring six to 10 inches deep in the ground
Step 2: Mix the mineral mixtures together
Step 3: Pour the mix in the hole or ground space prepared
Step 4: Set a trail camera near the mineral lick so you can see the deer in action.
3. How do deer attractants work?
Ans. Deer attractants work in a variety of ways. Often, they work on scent and attract the deer with scents that are appealing to them such as the urine of a doe in the peak estrus cycle. Other attractants are food-based and give the deer something that they crave or need in their diet. You can even make your own attractant with baking soda or molasses block or jello!
4. What makes a great deer attractant?
Ans. The best kind of deer attractants are those that really work! We’ve given examples in our reviews of all kinds of options that were best-rated for their higher success rate.
5. Are deer attractants considered as baits?
Ans. Sometimes deer attractants can be considered as baits just like deer calls, particularly if they are food-based. This is why you must look at your local regulations as to whether you are permitted to lay down bait for animals such as deer.
6. Does peanut butter attract deer?
Ans. Deer certainly seem to like peanut butter. The simplest way to use it to attract mule or blacktail deer is to smear it straight from the jar onto a tree!
7. How far can a deer smell?
Ans. Researchers at a university in Mississippi found that deer can smell between 500 and a thousand times better than us humans. Whitetail deer have literally thousands of smell receptors in their noses and they can sort out over six different smells at once. They can allegedly smell human scent from around half a mile away, which is why it is important to disguise your scent if you want to find them.
8. Does human urine attract deer?
Ans. There is limited evidence that human urine attracts deer. Indeed, they will be able to tell that it isn’t the urine of another deer due to their acute sense of smell. However, it’s sensible to be cautious if you get caught short in the woods as the deer might be put off by the scent as they could sense that humans or possible threats are nearby.