Attracting Bucks Using Natural Cues
Fall leaves are rapidly changing colors and with frost hitting a big part of the US recently, natural food sources are becoming scarce. As crops are harvested and plants naturally senesce at the end of the growing season, food plots are usually a popular destination for whitetails looking to pack on as much fat as they can before colder weather hits. When you notice fewer deer in your food plots, that’s usually a sign that acorns are falling in the woods, and deer have no reason to expose themselves in the open when there is a fresh food source within the security of cover.
Notice how the forbs at deer level are turning yellow in this trail cam pic from this timeframe several years ago. When that happens, it is time to work with mother nature rather than against her. This is the time I will take a camera into the downwind edge of a bedding area and pour a couple bags of Braggin Rights® Acorn to survey the bucks using the area. If you want to extend the attraction power of this site to last longer throughout the fall, then I suggest pairing the Braggin Rights® Acorn with our new CRUSH® Ani-Signature Series™ Acorn 20lb Block. With the CRUSH® block and the Braggin Rights® combo you will have the best of both worlds in terms of intake and longevity. Putting out our products that contain real acorns when the acorns are falling is a classic example of “if you can’t beat them, join them!”
Some states, however, do not allow putting feed products out during season, so in that case you would need to use Ani-X® which is our pure scent attractant. You can spread one bag over a 10-foot area and deer will be attracted to the site even without a food reward, because of a phenomenon called “Scent Imprinting™.” Have you ever smelled a fresh cut hayfield and had a memory of bailing hay? For deer, it’s similar because when deer naturally search for food they can remember what scent led them to a nutritious food source, and in this case, we have concentrated the scent and removed the protein, meaning it is legal in many places where feeding is frowned upon by the establishment.
There are other natural cues that can help you know bucks are expanding their home ranges in preparation for the rut. Signpost activity (rubs and scrapes) steadily increases throughout the month of October, so when you start seeing more and more fresh rubs and scrapes on your property you can bet a few new bucks might be in the area.
Checking cameras is important during this time, because some bucks will only cruise through for a small timeframe, so letting your camera soak too long between checks might leave you missing the action. I’m convinced no matter how many acres you hunt, you can’t put out too many cameras, but you can mess up by checking your cameras without concern for wind direction, which may alert deer to your presence, even if you don’t see them spook. This time of year is great for building a mock scrape close to your stand, so you can have a chip shot at the bucks using that area. Pro Staffer Josh Stein of Michigan put Ani-X® on the licking branch above a scrape last year and compared it to another scrape without Ani-X®, and the branch with Ani-X® has 4 times the amount of pictures as the unscented site. Watching for all these cues can help you locate and hopefully harvest the buck of your dreams this fall. Good luck!