What makes a situation seem real to you? If you can hear it, smell it, see it…the more senses we satisfy the more the situation seems real. It’s the same for whitetails. However, our number one affirmation comes from a different sense than your wily rival. For humans it’s our sense of sight that really sells us the reality of a circumstance. For whitetails, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s their sense of smell. Yet still, the more senses you fool, the more likely your “hunting con job” will work.
They see your decoy and become curious, now they hear another deer (you blowing a call copying a vocalization that might be heard in the scenario you’re replicating). So the buck swings downwind and smells another deer (scent that you placed out crosswind from your position)…you can bet money on this hunter. You don’t have to fool all three (scent, hearing and sight), scent and calling work wonders together, or any two stimuli in combination improves your odds. You simply need to pay attention to a few details.
Keeping human scent out of the picture is essential. Using Scent Killer and reducing all odors will aid you in pulling off your scam. For example, a decoy that smells like your garage just isn’t going to work. You must match any calling or rattling to copy realistic sounds that would occur during the scenario you’re trying to duplicate. For instance, you wouldn’t execute estrus bleats while trying to pull off a social buck scenario. Finally, use deer scents from smells that would be naturally occurring at that time. It’s probably not a good idea to “smack them in the nose” with an estrus scent on opening day. As the season progresses, however, then bring out the Special Golden Estrus and perhaps combo it with a small buck decoy standing over a bedded doe decoy and maybe use an estrus bleat or do some rattling copying two bucks contending for a hot doe. You can “jab” all you want, but it’s really that “one-two punch” that puts antlers on the ground.