During the Rut, bucks and Bulls chase their reluctant mates. We have all had them crash by us, intent on the female. Even quality grunts, bleats, or chirps won’t stop them. If you are in a stand or blind, you are limited to where you can shoot. Having these guys stop by the stand, in range would be nice.
When I deer hunted tree stands extensively, I needed a way to stop a buck so I could get a shot. After getting into the stand, I picked the best place to be able to shoot. This spot would be the perfect angle, distance, and comfortable bow pull to release. I would then take an old arrow and attach a scent tab, or rag, to the front of the arrow. I shot the shaft where I wanted the buck to stop. I can’t tell you how many Bucks, other critters, and Does/ Cows, stopped to smell that arrow.
Later, I would simply place a scented rag to a bush near the same kind of place. If there was not a decent small tree or branch, I would cut one from nearby and shove it into the ground or suspend a scented stick from an overhanging tree. Large braided cotton rope or braided cotton rags also works well.
The Scent Stick does not need to look natural. Roughing up the bark with an antler and tearing up leaves seems to make the stick work better. You can also make mock scrapes, wallows, or rubs. Use a stick 2-3 inches wide, and as long as you need to be, in the nose height zone.
What did need to happen was what scent I used, and not leaving any human scent. I once hunted a stand where a deadfall had lodged into the crotch of another tree, just at the perfect height. I modified the base, where I would hunt, and added a rail and some camo. When I walked to my stand, I wore scented boot pads. Once on the log. I hung them on the tree. Several times, bucks walked in my footsteps hours after I entered the stand, from hundreds of yards away. The nose Knows! After that, my boot scent pads were hung on my kill stick.
If you are in a state where Trail Cams are legal, watch the video of a Stick site. You will be amazed at what visits your stick. To avoid leaving human scent, I use a combination of scents, stored clothing, plastic gloves, and non-scent sprays. Never put buck or Bull scent onto your body.
Use the best scent that fits into the Rut or timeframe that you are hunting. They make all season scents that do well. I have had running bucks, and bulls, stop on a dime to smell a scented stick. They tend to sniff, lick, bite, rake it, and may even roll onto it. You stick will be abused. The more damage the better it works. The problem is that you may have to get out of the stand to reset it. That’s why I like suspended branches hung with heavy fishing line. This branch can almost touch the ground. Bucks and Bulls love to play with the swinging and moving stick.
Scent sticks also work on elk. If your blind or stand is along a forest road, open field, or trail, set the stick where you have the best shot, then stick it! Forest road critters are moving with a purpose and rarely stop until they are back in cover. Place the scented stick where you want to shoot.
I saw a company called HODAG that makes a spring based mounting stick. It comes with scent, anchoring stakes, and instructions for around $45. This durable rig would survive getting rolled on. Check out the website at HODAGOUTDOORS.com. The spring is a good idea. I can’t remember leaving a scent stick at my stand that was not knocked down or displaced.
The Nose Knows!