It is the quintessential challenge to hunt and harvest a whitetail by fooling his nose. With this comes the constant debate on how to do so. Hunt the wind only? Use scent control products? Use cover scents? Or, use a combination of the three?
For me I hunt the wind and work my hardest to control my scent. I haven't had much luck with cover scents. But in all fairness to these products, I was not good at scent control and hunting the wind when I did use these products. That is what is prompting this blog entry. Can I integrate these into my existing process?
To start off, I thought I would list my current process below:
1. Wash clothes in machine with scent free soap.
2. Dry with scent free dryer sheet.
3. Place in Rubbermaid tote and use Log6 Ozone Machine for the clothes, boots, and as much gear as possible.
4. Rubbermaid tote previously washed with scent free soap.
5. Shower with scent free soap and shampoo / use scent free deodorant.
6. Use a set of towels to wash and dry off that are washed in scent free detergent only and stored in a separate scent free bag.
7. Stripe down to underwear at the truck and change into clothes from totes.
8. Store back pack and rubber boots in Rubbermaid totes.
9. Stand on a plastic car floor mat when changing (stored in tote).
10. Use military chemical suite as a layer given the higher percentage of activated carbon.
11. Spray down with scent free sprays when dressed.
12. Spray down all gear each time entering the field.
13. Hunt the wind the best I can (big emphasis)
14. Reverse the process (minus the spraying) when returning to the truck.
15. I never run the truck when outside to prevent the exhaust from contaminating me and the clothing.
Some products I am interested in using to help cover / control scent in the field are Evercalm and the Ozonics machine. I like the concept of both, but have my reservations. As with all products to control / cover scent, how do you prove there effectiveness? I believe in activated carbon as I am very familiar with how it absorbs volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in products such as acetone and gasoline. This is used in air purifying respirators to protect employees. I believe in scent control sprays due to the in field evidence I have witnessed.
My concern with Evercalm is how do we know it actually calms deer and makes them feel secure when you are immediately in the area and ready to kill? I guess I simply need to try it. I've thought about using it on a small tree when hunting the SE corner of my property. This area is low impact to the bedding areas, but still has deer moving through to travel from bedding areas to feed in the adjacent corn field. Maybe I can witness body language of an alpha doe that appears calm and relaxed. Or I could try it when the wind isn't right. I just saw a commercial this morning featuring Adam Hays pushing the Evercalm product. Doing some research, I found the article below detailing why he uses this product.
Adam visits the Lonesome Elk Archery Shop north of Terre Haute, IN that I also frequent. Although I've never run into him there, I always get a text or call that I just missed him. I have a great respect for Adam, but frankly I'm not enamored with movie stars as they are simply people (no offense to Adam). What I would like to talk with Adam about is simply hunting. He has the same passion as I and he is obviously more successful than I am. I'd like to ask Adam more questions about this product and his experiences. I'd like to ask him other questions about how he finds and gets close to 200" bucks. The only suggestion I would have for Adam is to add an "e" to his last name (that is supposed to be a joke).
Ozonics is another interesting product. I use the Log6 ozone machine to help kill and control scent on my gear and clothes. I'm considering using this also on my truck cab regularly. Therefore, I believe in the effects of ozone. Where I become skeptical is the concept of actually generating Ozone in the woods. I question how quickly the Ozone would degenerate to simple Oxygen molecules. Ozone is found in normal atmosphere, but at very, very low levels. Since I can smell the Ozone from my Log6 machine, I find it hard to believe the deer would not smell it from the Ozonics machine. Maybe they do smell it and just consider it a part of nature?
Refer to this link to read more about Ozone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone. I also want to stress that Ozone is recognized as a respiratory irritant. Hanging a machine directly over my head in the stand doesn't really sound like a good thing to me. I realize the levels are low and will disperse quickly, but I'd rather not breath any of this into my lungs and have it irritate my eyes. Please comment to this blog if you use this product and are not having any irritation when used in the woods.
At the end of the day, each of us has to use our own system. The key is having confidence when in the woods. My system gives me confidence and I will continue to modify this process and introduce other steps (e.g., Jim Ward's Extreme Scent Control Process....scroll down the page to see the video). Good luck and keep sending in your entries to the ATW Big Buck Contest.
On July 14th, we started a process to evaluate the ability of five different products to attract deer to our mineral station. The products were set out for one week and monitored by a trail camera. Each week the SD card was pulled and the photos counted to determine what species of animal hit the mineral station. We separated the deer into bucks, does, and fawns.
A hit was counted if the deer's face was down at or actually licking the mineral station. If the deer was standing at the station, but looking up or around it was not counted as a hit.
On previous blogs, I attempted to log the weekly results with the first two products tested. Time simply got away from me and I didn't report out on the last three weeks of the test period. As a result, I wanted to wrap this up with a complete report just on the deer group hits and discuss my perception of the results. Perception is simply your personal reality. I say that as I'm sure there will be comments on the validity of this study. Each visitor to this blog will perceive the results differently. As always, all I ask is that you do not go out and buy this product solely on these results. These are my results. You should make an informed decision before purchasing any of the five products tested. I am not sponsored by any of these products, so I have no monetary stake in this.
I put out products each year in the hopes to attract the deer and basically complete an informal camera survey. I want to know each year how the fawns are doing and see the continued growth of the buck racks. Mission accomplished this year! We know we have three fawns that have run together all summer long. We also have a good idea of the resident bucks on the property. Hopefully as the velvet is shed, we will have a better idea of what these bucks will score and can estimate age of each for the fall hit list.
I have put together the graph below that shows each of the five products tested with the date range and the number of hits for each deer group (buck, doe, or fawn).
Personal Perceptions (my reality):
1. Big & J BB2 Granular: Draws the largest number of deer, especially does. I'm not really interested in does as much as the fawns and bucks, but they obviously like this product. It could be the grain added to the product. What I listed in the previous blogs was that this product pulled raccoon in from the three county area, which is not desired. Either way, you will have to put out several bags of this to keep animals returning, which isn't cost effective.
2. Trophy Rock: Good product in my opinion. You can see in the graph numbers that this attracted fewer deer and does in general, when compared to BB2. Buck hits stayed relatively the same. Product lasts a long time and doesn't require much maintenance. This is by far the most popular attractant as outlined in the previous blog. http://www.allthingswhitetail.com/1/post/2013/08/survey-update-results.html
3. Luck Buck: Most obvious data swing for this product was buck hits. This could have been primarily due to the time of year with bucks making a last ditch effort to hit the minerals. Tough to say, and I obviously have no scientific data either way. This is just a possible cause that led to the number increase.
4. Redmond Mineral: Very even numbers between the deer groups (buck, doe, fawn). I can't help but recognize the huge swing for fawn hits. This is much higher than any of the five products put out for sampling. The buck number is similar to the Lucky Buck. The doe hits dropped drastically, which was great to see since I got tired of counting does with the first three products.
5. Kraze: This product has been discussed among other QDMer's as being the best product to attract bucks to see what you have in your local herd. I'd have to agree with that statement. You see the number of buck hits was the highest on the graph and the number of doe and fawn hits dropped compared to the other products. Again, was this a function of the time of year as bucks prepare to shed velvet and finish antler growth? It might be interesting to reverse the order next year to see if the numbers are similar for Kraze.
Overall Personal Conclusions:
a. I will not use BB2 simply due to the number of raccoon attracted. Plus the number of doe visits was obnoxious.
b. I like Kraze the best to monitor buck numbers with limited hits from does and fawns. I'll probably purchase only one bag each year due to the cost per pound.
c. I think Redmond mineral will be my primary product of choice in future years. It has an even number of hits between the groups and drew in a high number of bucks.
d. I like the Redmond mineral based also on cost per pound. I purchased the 50# bag for $11. A huge savings compared to the other products when you look at cost per pound.
This may not have produced any scientific data that the huge mineral industry can use, but that wasn't my goal going into it. First and foremost, I had fun doing this and have a better idea of what products I like and what I will avoid. I appreciate your time to review my personal findings. Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to the website on the Home / Sponsors or About Us / Contacts pages. Good luck preparing for the '13 season. It is almost here.
Earlier entries in the blog included a couple of surveys. I felt like it was time to post the results of those surveys. Granted I would like to have more entries to better solidify the data; however, I think this will work at this point.
Attractant / Mineral Product Use Survey: The purpose of this survey was to see what others are using to attract deer. Results are pretty clear that Trophy Rock is the preferred product.
The last survey completed was on Fall Protection Practices. Although the views on this particular blog entry were the highest to date, very few entries were entered. As a result, there is very few data on this. But, I thought I would list it anyway.
The majority only tie off once in the stand. Frankly I don't understand this practice given the climb and act of stepping into the stand is the riskiest part of the process. Second was using fall protection 100% of the time. I applaud those who take the extra steps to protect themselves completely. Your families appreciate it also.
The second week of the mineral station trial, study, experiment, test, whatever you want to call it was completed last Sunday. It seems that calling this and other blog entries a "test" ruffles a few feathers because I don't have a hypothesis, theory, and all other scientific parameters that go with a professional study or experiment. Before you read any further, understand this is just something I am doing and wish to share with those willing to read and possibly learn from my mistakes and hopefully successes. I could see how some may interpret this as my inability to take criticism. I don't have a problem with it as long as it is constructive and not just pot shots.
I'm not trying to sway you to buy this product vs. another product. By all means, make an educated decision before you buy a single product for the QDM effort. I'm not sponsored by any of these companies. I chose to buy these products out of my own pocket. This is just a means of extending my hobby and an attempt to try to learn more. I'm sure there are errors and flaws in my process, but hey....I'm not perfect. As with most advancements in this world, QDM comes from trial and error. I'm sure most of you have tried something at your property and later realized that it was probably the wrong thing to do. So I'll end my soap box speech now and move on with the topic at hand.....
Trophy Rock was put out following the week of BB2. The results were rather interesting and there are few observations. If they have any pertinent meaning I'm sure will be debated. Animal hits and percentages were as follows:
1. Deer 193 (96.0%)
a. Doe 149 (74.1%)
b. Bucks 32 (15.9%)
c. Fawns 12 (6.0%)
2. Raccoon 2 (1.0%)
3. Rabbit 6 (3.0%)
4. Squirrels 0
5. Possums 0
6. Coyote 0
7. Total Hits 201 (100%)
8. Total Photos 558
a. Raccoon hits dropped significantly from 252 down to 2 (99% decrease). This is excellent given I didn't want them to pressure deer from visiting the station.
b. Total deer hits dropped from 456 to 193 (58% decrease). Is this from the raccoon pressure, the lack of corn product, or some other factor? Not enough information to tell. Hopefully this is not due to the raccoons.
c. Buck visits only dropped 9% from 35 down to 32, which is good. I don't think that small difference is significant. I'd like to see more buck visits though. The photos indicate the growth is really happening at this point in time.
d. Fawn visits dropped 76%. From a predator perspective, I don't know if I like that or not. If they form a pattern too much by visiting the station, does this increase the risk of attack by coyotes? So maybe this is good, but it definitely is an interesting question.
e. Total animal hits down 72% from 727 down to 201. Even with the raccoons present, did the BB2 draw in more animals making it a better product in the grand scheme? The fact the buck hits stayed close to the same is huge to me. I'd prefer overall less animals provided the buck visits stay relatively the same.
I like the Trophy Rock product and use it each year. I like it primarily because it allows me to use the cameras to inventory the deer herd and see the antler growth on the bucks. Scientifically, I'm not going to debate if it helps the herd health. Logic would lead a person to believe it does since deer eat what they need and like, kind of like humans. Well, some of us eat food that isn't good for us. I'd hope that mother nature keeps that from happening with the wild animals.
Check back again for the Lucky Buck results soon. Sorry for blogging these results so late. It was a busy week.
On 7/21/13 we visited the mineral station again to determine the results from the week of Big & J BB2 Granular. I have posted a picture of the product ingredients below. Upon our return, there was nothing left at the station as evident in the video below. Animal hits and percentages caught on camera were as follows:
1. Whitetail Deer - 456 (62.7%)
a. Bucks - 35 (4.8%)
b. Does - 370 (50.9%)
c. Fawns - 51 (7.0%)
2. Raccoon - 252 (34.7%)
3. Squirrel - 6 (0.8%)
4. Possum - 9 (1.2%)
5. Coyote - 1 (0.1%)
6. Rabbit - 3 (0.4%)
7. Total Hits - 727 (62.8% of the total photos)
8. Total Photos - 1158
*Note: A single photo may have had more than one type of animal in it, thus each was counted (e.g., one photo having 5 raccoons was counted as 5 hits)
As you can see from the counts and the slideshow below, the raccoons were a huge problem and accounted for much of the reduction in available product. Prior to this particular product, I had little to no raccoons hitting the mineral station. Obviously much of this has to do with the corn content of the product.
The amount of raccoon traffic is very disappointing from several angles. One, I think they impact the deer who don't want to fight with other animals for product. Two, the raccoon population is far greater than I really want on this property. Three, the large numbers will make it difficult for other game animals, such as turkey given these are known egg eaters.
I paid $20 for a 20# bag. For that cost, I can't afford to feed raccoons who will eventually scavenge turkey eggs and possibly run off or pressure deer from using the mineral station. As a result, I have elected not be using any more of this particular attractant.
Keep checking in or like us on Facebook so you can see regular updates on the blog regarding this experiment. You can also subscribe to our site at the bottom of the home page to receive emails each time the blog is updated. Thank you for your time.
Several have weighed in and the results are listed below. I admit that not all products were listed in the survey. At that time, my list of attractants was not complete and may never be for that matter. That is kind of the purpose of this website. Thirty-one responses with feedback and suggestions on products they prefer. Results are as follows to date:
This blog topic created much buzz and conversation regarding the ability to actually determine what is best for deer, the contents of each product, and the true scientific nature of such an experiment. Here is the bottomline.....I wanted feedback on what the visitors use as an attractant. Based on the above responses, I think it is clear that the vast majority of visitors to this website and answering this survey prefer to use Trophy Rock as an attractant.
As the experiment continues with our first test product results this weekend, I don't expect to determine how effective the product is at developing antler growth. What I do expect to be able to measure is the number of deer visiting the station. I can compare those numbers between products tested, regardless if it is salt based, contains corn, etc. I want to know what is the best attractant.
Why would I want to know which product is the best attractant? Like many of you, I've got my trail cameras out taking inventory of the deer herd. I'd like to photo and capture the development of the antlers on the bucks returning from last year. This kind of keeps me charged up during the dog days of summer.
I also hope that drawing deer in with an attractant will introduce individual deer to the habitat that I have worked so hard to improve. I'm not saying I can draw deer in for miles with these products, so please comment on other aspects. What I am hoping is that as a deer is wandering around, that he or she samples the attractant and begins to take inventory of what is around and available. Maybe they will call my 63 acres home instead of the neighbors place.
One other comment.....I am not sponsored by any of the products being tested. If that happens at some point, I will provide full disclosure. I just thought it would be a good topic for discussion and blogging on this website. I think the mission was accomplished!
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.