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No matter where you live in the 11 states of the Northeast, bucks are ramping up for the rut. In our more immediate area of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, buck activity is steadily increasing during daylight hours. Does are darting off from buck harassment with more urgency.

On our farm we have noticed a substantial daytime increase in immature buck activity of bucks in the 1.5- to 2.5-year-old age class. Just last night there were 32 does and fawns peacefully feeding in our grain field (rye, oats, triticale, wheat, and barley). As soon as two young bucks entered the field, the does and fawns came to high alert. Over the next few minutes, the bucks emptied the fields of does and fawns. This morning, I witnessed two different 2.5-year-old 8-point bucks with their noses to the ground in an attempt to pick up estrous scent. There is also an increase of newly made scrapes and rubs.

This is the genesis of the oncoming peak of the big chase period that traditionally takes place between November 10th through the 15th--give or take a few days on either end. Historically, November 13th and 14th are peak chasing days. If you are on the way to work during these two dates and you spot a mature buck chasing a doe in earnest, call in sick! If there is any time to be in the field to kill a mature buck it is during the big chase phase of the rut. It is during this time frame that estrous scent can cause even the wariest adult buck to drop its guard.

One of the best tactics during this phase of the rut is to create a mock scrape using the right combination of scent: estrous, buck urine, interdigital and tarsal scent. These scents will set a buck’s senses on fire. The key to success when using scent, however, is to keep the amount of scent used to a minimum. Too much scent is as bad as using no scent at all. The best results will always take place when you use just enough of these scents to make them smell more natural. In other words, using less scent, particularly estrus scent, is better than using a lot more.

It is important to note that when using food scents to attract deer or cover human scent, more is better than less.

No matter what reliable brand of estrous scent you use, the odor is potent and will work to attract bucks as long as the estrous smells natural. An overabundance of estrous odor will confuse a buck’s olfactory senses and only end up alerting it as the scent won’t smell natural to it.

There are a few ways to successfully use estrus scent over the next two weeks. The first is to use it within a buck scrape. It can also be used to create a trail toward a tree stand or blind. Another way is to use estrus scent at the site of a freshly made rub. A top-notch tactic for using estrous scent is to move from agricultural fields or food plots and concentrate on areas leading from food sources to bedding areas.

Estrus scent works best during the big chase phase. Bucks tend to get over excited about the first smell of estrus. So, no matter what estrus scent you have found success with now is the time to use it.

• Use sexual deer scents in moderation, despite what the directions on the bottle may say.

• When combining deer scents like estrous, tarsal, urine, and interdigital, be sure they are naturally compatible with the tactic you are using (scrapes, rubs, rattling, etc.)

• This may sound basic, but never hang estrous scent too close to your stand. This is an often-made error.

• If the scent manufacturer suggests using only a few drops, don’t use half a bottle instead.

Again, whatever brand estrus scent you have had success with in the past--NOW is the time to use it. If you use our Love Potion No. 9, use it SPARINGLY. It is fresh and potent.

Good luck!


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