Hunting deer is a waiting game that requires a lot of patience. However, no matter how still you’re sitting or how quiet you’re being, there is still no guarantee that a deer is going to wander into your hunting area.
Deer are extremely clever, and can often sense a hunter in the vicinity long before the hunter has even caught a glimpse of them. So, they’re going to need a really good incentive to come close enough for you to get a shot at them.
That’s why a good deer attractant is an invaluable addition to your hunting equipment. Designed in a variety of ways, including feed and mimicking of breeding behaviours, a deer attractant will help to lure in even the most wary of bucks.
But with so many available options, which is the best one to choose? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and have listed five of the very best deer attractants available, along with a buying guide full of hints and tips on what to look out for before making your final decision.
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The scent of a doe in heat is a sure fire way to grab a buck’s interest, and this deer attractant from Nationwide uses 100% whitetail deer urine collected during peak estrus.
As it’s a liquid, this deer attractant is super versatile and can be used on drags and mock scrapes throughout the entire breeding season. It can also be used on clothing and hunting blinds to act as a cover scent for masking human odors.
Collected and bottled totally fresh, without ever having been frozen, it’s potency isn’t watered down so you’re guaranteed to lure in the biggest bucks, and it’s compact size also allows you to store and transport it easily in your hunting pack.
Available in three sizes to last the duration of any hunting trip, this deer attractant is so powerful and effective, that it comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
Another great way to bait deer is with food, and this imperial clover mix from Whitetail Institute will encourage hungry bucks into your hunting area.
Specifically designed for deer, this clover is packed full of protein which is great for muscle, bone and antler development, meaning that the deer you hunt will be healthy and well fed.
Sown in spring or fall, a single planting will continually regenerate for up to five years, giving you deer bait for many hunting seasons without needing to top up your supplies. This also means that, outside of the hunting season, deer will trust your hunting area as a feeding spot and frequently visit.
Capable of surviving in extreme conditions, this clover is extremely cold tolerant and can withstand periods of high heat and drought. It’s also disease resistant, so you can rest assured that your seedlings will develop into healthy plants that deer will love.
Deer love acorns above any other food, and this specially formulated feed from Wildgame Innovations will tempt deer directly into your hunting site.
Ready to use straight out of the bag, Acorn Rage is not a flavoring or an extract, but is made with actual real acorns that have been blended with roasted soybean to lure in hungry bucks.
Suitable to use all year round, not only is it attractive to deer, but it has been developed to be nutritionally important to muscle and antler development so you can be certain that once hunting season comes back round, you’ll be bagging a healthy, well-fed deer.
Easy to distribute, it can be used in a variety of feeders or scattered across the ground for a more naturalistic approach to grazing.
It also uses patented Airborne Technology that disperses 600% more scent molecules than regular deer feed, covering long distances with amazing speed and luring in deer from far and wide.
If you’re after a no-mess deer attractant, then these Smokin’ Sticks from TINK’S could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Formulated to smell exactly like fresh doe urine, they will help to lure in bucks looking to rut during breeding season without needing to spray actual urine on drags or scrapes.
Super easy to use, you simply light a stick and let the smoke travel downwind. The scent can be picked up from a good distance for long-range attraction, and it will also cling to everything it comes in contact with along the way, guiding a buck directly to your hideout.
With two hours of use from each stick, they are also ideal for use in extremely cold conditions, as they won’t freeze or become unpalatable like some other attractants.
Using a more natural approach to attracting deer, once you’ve placed this mineral lick from TROPHY ROCK into your hunting area they’ll be returning again and again.
Offering minerals and electrolytes that help deer grow bigger and stronger, therefore giving you a better chance of bagging a healthy buck, the all-natural formulation of this mineral lick won’t seem foreign or out of place to a deer out in the wild.
It’s also really long-lasting, and will keep deer coming back to it as a trusted source of essential minerals for ages, giving you real value for money.
Mineral rocks have also been found to have a relaxing effect on deer as they lick on them, meaning they are less alert and are in a less defensive position when you take aim.
Best Deer Attractants - Buyer's Guide
Deer don’t tend to just wander into places that they wouldn’t ordinarily frequent, so to get a good chance of bagging a prize buck, you’ll need a deer attractant that really appeals to them and gives them a reason to want to venture into your hunting area.
Depending on where you’re hunting, and what time of year it is, there are a few things to consider when you’re shopping around for a deer attractant. We’ve outlined some things to give some thought to below before making your decision, so that you can find the perfect attractant for your individual hunting needs.
Type of Attractant
Deer attractants come in a wide variety of choices, so you’ll need to consider which is going to not only be the best choice for luring in deer, but which one is also going to work best for your hunting style.
Scent attractants are sprays or liquids that are usually formulated from doe urine in estrus. This mimics sexual activity during breeding season and helps to draw in bucks that are looking to rut.
These scent attractants are extremely effective when used out in the field, however the smell can cling to your clothing and hunting gear, so you’ll need to be prepared to thoroughly clean everything it’s come into contact with at the end of your trip.
Deer naturally spend their days grazing on food, so a good way to bring them towards your hideout is to bait them with something delicious.
Food attractants that come as seeds will require sowing and, although this means you’ll be playing the long game whilst you’re waiting for the seedlings to emerge and develop, you’ll be increasing your chances of getting a deer quickly once hunting season comes back around.
This is because they’ll have discovered your food plot and, outside of hunting season, it will have become a trusted source of food without any threat. Seeds are also great for giving you a self-renewing attractant that will last for a few years, saving you both time and money.
There are food attractants available, however, that are designed for quicker results. Ready to use out of the bag, these attractants contain natural ingredients such as acorns that are absolutely irresistible to deer and will draw them to your area.
Some food attractants have even been specially formulated to release more scent molecules into the air, travelling far wide and wide, and drawing in deer from a good distance away.
Deer love to lick on mineral salt, and providing a salt lick all year round will not only help to draw them in, but will also promote good muscle and antler development. This means that the deer you end up shooting will be strong and provide you with top-quality meat.
Mineral attractants are shaped like rocks which makes them look very naturalistic in the wild, and won’t seem out of place to a deer that gets drawn in by one. They’ve also been shown to have a relaxing effect on deer when in use, making them less alert and defensive, so you’ll have a better chance of getting a killer shot.
Much like incense, smoke attractants are loaded with specific scents (usually doe urine in estrus) that carries on the wind for a long way. This scent then gets picked up by a buck looking to rut, and lures them into your hunting position.
If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, you’ll know that smoke clings to everything it comes into contact with as well, so not only will a smoke attractant carry on the wind but it will leave the scent on surrounding vegetation and rocks, and give a ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ effect that leads straight to your area.
Smoke attractants are a popular choice for hunting in cold weather as well, as they won’t freeze or become unpalatable, but instead will travel far on icy winds.
Frequency of Application
Whether you’re out on a weekend-long hunting trip, or are just out in the field for the day, you’ll want to give some thought to how often you need to apply and administer your deer attractant.
Scent sprays, although powerful, can become weakened down by heavy winds or washed away by rain, so will need to be frequently reapplied during these weather conditions.
If you’re using a food attractant, the frequency with which you need to re-bait differs depending on the type you go for. Seed attractants will only need to be scattered once and, once established, will provide you with a few years of self-regenerating bait.
Food attractants that are ready to use straight out of the bag and added to feeders or scattered on the ground may need to be topped up periodically throughout your trip, depending on how much a deer gets to consume before you shoot it.
Attracting deer to your hideout is only half the battle. Deer have entire portions of their brain designated to detecting foreign smells in the air, and if one catches even the faintest whiff of human odor, it will dart off before you’ve had a chance to take aim.
Some deer attractants are powerful enough to double up as scent covers as well, so it’s worth looking around and seeing if you can find one that will not only draw a deer in, but will also leave you undetected.
Whether you’re hunting to feed your family or just for fun, the last thing you need is to get into trouble with the law whilst you’re doing it. Deer baiting is allowed in some states, but is prohibited in others, so it’s imperative that you check local legalisation before getting a deer attractant.
There are also regions where you are allowed to feed deer, but not for hunting purposes. And certain states will only allow deer baiting on private property, so do your homework and make sure you aren’t breaking any laws.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need a deer attractant?
Deer are very clever, cautious creatures that do not often wander outside of their usual grazing and bedding areas. Therefore, if you’re hunting in an area that a deer isn’t familiar with, you have less of a chance of seeing one.
Deer attractants are designed to give them a reason to come into your hunting position, whether it be food or finding a potential mate.
Which deer attractant is the best?
This comes down to personal preference, and your style of hunting. There are many different varieties of attractants available to choose from including scents, feed and even smoke. All of them will draw a deer in, you just need to research the best one for your needs.
Check out our buying guide above for a comprehensive breakdown of each of them.
How do you attract deer quickly?
If you’re only out in the field for a day and want to quickly attract a deer, then a scent spray is the best way to do this. These are usually made using doe urine in estrus, and will draw in big bucks looking to rut.
What’s the point of sowing food seed for deer?
Although you won’t get immediate results with food attractants that need sowing, planting your seeds outside of hunting season will provide deer with two things. Firstly, they will come to know the area as a safe grazing space, meaning that once hunting season comes back around, they are more likely to freely wander in. Secondly, you’ll be providing them with protein rich food, which will aid in muscle growth and give you a healthy, well-fed deer to cart home.