Like many mature (aka OLD) hunters of my generation, I am sometimes a bit slow on incorporating new ideas into the way I hunt. After all, hunting methods that have worked during the past half century need no improvement; or do they? There is always something new to be learned about any topic and especially so when we consider reclusive wild critters such as whitetail deer or wild hogs. This brings us to the topic of this week’s column: The use of scents to help us bag that buck of our dreams or put fresh wild pork in the freezer.
About three years ago, my friend Larry Weishuhn called and told me about some products he was using that really work. I’ve known Larry for years and when he gives advice or tips on hunting deer or any other game animal for that matter; I give him my full attention.
The conversation went something like this, “Luke, you know that I’ve always been the world’s biggest skeptic when it comes to attractant and cover scents. “Luke, I want you to try some products made right here in Texas by a company called Texas Raised Hunting Product (TRHP). These folks and their products are the real deal, their products are science based and I’ve been enjoying great success using them.”
In a week or so, I received a call from Brett Andrews, the president of the company and developer of the line of scents. I quickly ascertained Brett was talking way over my head when he described the properties of his Scent Guardian and the US patent he has on the process of making the product. When Brett told me that the product removes all scent, including the strong aroma of gasoline, I have to admit I was still a bit skeptical but from what Weishuhn had told me, I felt confident enough to give it a try and began spraying down with Scent Guardian before every hunt.
I immediately learned that wild critters simply did not smell me and spook when I spray down, head to toe with Scent Guardian, even when they are directly down wind. I continued to use good woodsmanship skills that I’ve learned from a lifetime of hunting. I set up to hunt downwind of where I expected game to appear and probably always will but the truth is game can appear from any direction. In subsequent telephone visits, Brett told me that since developing his scent removal formula, he has simply sprayed down and forgot about wind direction and he has not been ‘busted’ once since he began using the formula. It’s been a couple years since I first used Scent Guardian and now wouldn’t consider hunting without it. I can’t begin to describe the chemical process involved is ‘how’ it works but as Weishuhn, who is a wildlife biologist with a degree from Texas A &M with a sound working knowledge of chemical processes, informed me in the beginning, it is ‘science based’.
Its common knowledge that deer’s primary defense is its acute sense of smell. In past years, I outfitted and guided archery elk hunts for several years with my friend Larry Large. Elk that live in the mountains where they seldom encounter foreign scents created by man are hyper sensitive to scent. Larry used the Scent Guardian the past two years with great success. I know how easy it is to get ‘winded’ by a bull elk, If you can trick an elk’s nose, the battle is half over.
Last year, I was hunting with my friend Randy Douglas, manager of the Dale River Ranch in Palo Pinto County and harvested the second largest free range whitetail buck of my life. I used a Texas 45 caliber big bore air rifle at relatively close range. The buck came in downwind and caught the scent of some doe in estrus scent I was using by TRHP. He came in, as they say, ‘on a string’. I had used a canister of the scent under the limb of a live oak tree and also gave the limb a good ‘dose’ of the spray.
Another success story with the deer attractant comes from Kenneth Tallent, I’m sure many of you watch Kenneth’s TV show, “Double Lung Outdoors”. Kenneth arrowed a fine 12 point buck last year out on his west Texas lease at 25 yards. “The buck got a whiff of the doe estrus canister and came directly to it, his nose to the ground”, says Tallent.
Although the rut is still weeks away in many areas and possibly a couple months away in deep south Texas, now is prime time to create ‘mock scrapes’ in likely areas around the stands you plan to hunt. Keep in mind that during bow season, especially in east and north Texas, acorns are about to begin falling. Deer will abandon corn feeders if there is a plentiful crop of acorns on the ground. During October, I like to concentrate on hunting around oaks, white oaks if they are available but red oaks readily attract deer this time of year. Mock scrapes created around oaks dropping acorns will not only help bring in deer, both bucks and doe to the area you are hunting but they are also a great benefit in positioning deer for a close bow shot.
Lots of hogs are killed during bow season as a secondary harvest. I’ve has great success using the Inflame sow seduction by TRHP, even while hunting around corn feeders. Once hogs set a whiff of the ‘hog smell’ built into the canisters, they simply cannot resist coming closer.
We are now into the early stages of hunting seasons with lots of great times in the outdoors ahead. The use of scents, both cover scents and attractants, can make the difference in horns on the wall and meat in the freezer or watching that whitetail ‘flag’ bounce away through the woods by a deer that has scented you. Don’t know about you but when it comes to attempting to outfox a mature whitetail buck, I can use all the help I can get!
Contact outdoors writer Luke Clayton via email with outdoors news from your area. www.catfishradio.org.