Using Deer Lures Effectively 

By Paul Pollick


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Deer musk gland tinctures like deer urine are natural scent communicators. They are valuable attractors used alone or as ingredients in deer lures.

90-95% of all commercial deer attractors used on the market today are composed of deer urine. Largely because deer urine is a renewable resource. There are hundreds of deer farmers raising deer for urine collection. Up to two quarts of urine a day may be collected from each animal. By itself deer urine carries varying amounts of sexual scents and pheromones picked up as it passes through the animals waste system. Deer urine also tells the present state of condition of the animal that passed it to other deer that smell it. This makes deer urine the perfect base or carrier of other natural deer musk gland scent pheromones carrying additional powerful scent messages.


Deer glands used to make deer musk gland tinctures are not a renewable resource. You need a dead deer to collect these glands. Most deer glands that could be used to make deer musk tinctures are removed by hunters before they reach the processor. These glands are scarce and not available for the large commercial deer attractor market.


Quality deer musk gland tinctures contain sex-specific potent chemical messages known as pheromones made up of minute gaseous scent particles. Scent pheromones are very light and travel through the air much in the same manner as smoke as it leaves a fire. Deer can identify these natural scent pheromones. Their powerful sense of smell allows them to separate multiple scents, odors, and pheromones in a deer lure. A scent is the odor of a single substance. A lure is the odor of two or more scents or substances. Deer can judge the distance of an odor to its source. Weather condition determines the time it takes a deer to do this.


When using scents or lures consider that the scent or lure will give off more odor as the temperature rises. As temperature drops it gives off less odor. At zero degrees Fahrenheit, little or no odor is given off. This should be a determining factor when using fresh deer urine as a positive scent attractor.


Pollick’s deer lures, deer musk tinctures, and urines will all work equally well at warm or cold temperatures. They will store in a dark cool place such as your basement without refrigeration. Tested under these conditions, they still hold their strong natural calling powers after five years.


Let us take a look at the why, how, and when of using natural deer musk scent communicators as deer attractors.


I will begin with Interdigital hoof musk gland tincture. Every time a deer hoof touches the ground, natural trailing scent pheromones are left behind from the interdigital hoof scent gland which is filled with a strong musky smelling wax. Scent is released through an opening just above and between the cleft of each hoof. All natural deer musk glands are sex specific to other deer and should be separated into mature buck and doe glands before tincturing. This allows for a true natural buck or doe trail. During the first few weeks of October in PA, bucks are most interested in other bucks now as their testosterone is rapidly rising for the rut. A strange natural scent trail of another buck will be investigated to see how he fits into the rapidly developing chain of dominance being established among dominant bucks in the area. Buck interdigital is the ideal natural trailing scent to lead a buck into a mock scrape, communal licking branch, or rub.


Doe interdigital hoof musk tincture is the one scent trail every doe that comes in contact with it will follow. Doe live in tight family groups and know every doe in their home territory. This is a non-threatening scent to other doe. During the seek and chase period in the late pre-rut, doe interdigital is the natural trailing scent bucks use to follow doe. Even if you don’t wish to shoot a doe, it never hurts to pull them past your stand. Any time you are hunting an area with little pressure and not sure what to use, interdigital is never a bad choice. Deer will naturally respond to interdigital 365 days a year. And all through the rutting season, buck and doe interdigital is of vital importance because it is the only sex specific trailing scent.


Buck preorbital gland deer musk tincture consists of the forehead, tear duct, ear, nasal, and saliva glands. Preorbital gland scent pheromones are used to mark and authenticate the three natural phases of buck signing. The first phase begins with his uncontrollable urge to deposit preorbital scent pheromones on bushes, branches, saplings, and small trees as he begins to rub the velvet from his antlers. Communal licking branches are soon established in corridors and travel lanes. A buck will pick a branch and vigorously rub his preorbital glands all over the branch. When he is satisfied with his rubbing, he will take the tips of the scented branch into his mouth and chew on them. Other bucks that pass by feel compelled to perform the same ritual on this branch. These communal licking branches are used to establish an early pecking order in the developing chain of dominance among buck in the area. The second phase of natural buck signing is the visual sign post tree rub where a buck rubs the bark off small trees and saplings with his antlers while also scent marking it with his preorbital gland pheromones. A number of these tree rubs in a connecting line indicates a bucks travel route between his feeding and bedding area. The third phase of buck signing begins with the opening of visual breeding scrapes in your area. If the landscape hasn’t changed much, you will find them in the same general location as last season. However, you will normally find them near heavily traveled doe trails where a buck’s advertising will do most good.



Here is how to reproduce the three natural phases of buck signing with the same authentic deer musk tincture:


Communal Licking Branch- Lay a trail of natural buck interdigital hoof musk scent to a licking branch four to six feet high into a shooting lane. Use latex gloves and snap the tips on the end of the branch, then spray them with buck preorbital head scent pheromones. Add a few drops of buck interdigital where he stood under the limb.


Sign Post Tree Rub- this can be duplicated on a sapling near your stand. Peel off the bark with a clean descented knife or file. Spray the peeled bark area with buck preorbital scent. Lay a trail to the site with authentic buck interdigital hoof musk scent pheromones. You may also spray his existing rub with preorbital and use a connecting trail of natural buck interdigital to one you duplicate near your hunting stand.


Breeding Scrape- To duplicate a natural buck breeding scrape choose a licking branch in the same manner as stage one. Lead a buck interdigital trail. Scrape and rake a bare dirt area in a three to five foot circle. In the circle spray some buck tarsal and or buck sex gland scent. The circle should be under a buck preorbital scented licking branch.


Tarsal gland deer musk tincture is of vital importance during the rut and mating seasons. Tarsal gland scent is the true sexual identity scent pheromones contained inside the thick skin area under the heavy tufts of hair inside the hind legs.


Dominant buck use tarsal gland scent for two reasons.


  • One: to advertise sexual identity to receptive does.
  • Two: to warn other bucks in the area during peak-rut. Bucks continue to urinate over their tarsal glands from mid October to December.

This tarsal scent is an excellent trail scent. When grunting or rattling, using some buck tarsal gland scent on scent wicks in shooting lanes around your stand presents the perfect scent to sound combination.



Doe tarsal gland deer musk tincture is a very stimulating sexual attractor to breeding bucks the entire mating season. For a short time before an individual doe enters her estrus period, she will urinate over her tarsal glands to incorporate her individual sexual identity into her urine. As soon as she leaves her buck suitor, she returns back to her family group of does. Doe tarsal gland tincture may be used in buck breeding scrapes or as a scent trail.


When hunting an area you are not familiar with, walk or drag a large figure eight around your stand. Begin 15 yards or so from one side in a suitable shooting lane. Use latex gloves and hang a saturated scent wick a couple feet high. Now apply scent to a boot pad and begin a large circular loop 50 yards or so around to a shooting lane 15 yards or so from the other side of your stand. Now hang a second saturated scent wick there. Continue the figure eight back to the starting point. Remove the boot pad, put it in a plastic bag, and return to your stand.


Buck Sex Gland Scent is made by grinding fresh dominant buck sex and anal glands collected from our Pennsylvania deer processing business. Pollick’s sex gland scent contains the highest concentration of authentic dominant buck sex pheromones possible to assist hunters in attracting mature whitetail buck.


At the Ohio National Trapper Association Convention I had a conversation with a biologist who transports fresh droppings from a strange buck into the dirt area of a breeding scrape he intends to hunt. He said, and I agree, this really gets a dominant buck fired up.


Take a couple small dry sticks or pieces of bark and place them in a breeding scrape, spray them with Pollick’s dominant buck sex gland scent and you won’t believe the havoc he wreaks on it. Sex gland scent is also a great territorial response trailing scent other dominant buck will pursue during peak rut.


Doe Sex Gland Scent is made from fresh mature doe sex and anal glands, selected during the mating periods of our Pennsylvania hunting season. Pollick’s Doe Sex Gland Scent contains the highest concentration of authentic doe-in-heat or estrus natural scent pheromones I know of to ignite breeding interest in mature breeding buck. Doe sex gland scent placed in a buck breeding scrape will convince him this is a doe he hopes to meet. Pollick’s Doe Sex Gland Scent is a perfect high interest receptive doe trailing scent for the entire pre-, peak and post-rut mating periods in your area because some doe will be entering their estrus cycle during each of these periods.


It is good practice to shower with a nonscented soap before your hunt. I make an October Cover Scent Soap Bar. This will help mask your body odor. Your clothes can be washed with a nonscented detergent. Our clothes wash will leave your clothing scent free. After washing and drying your clothing, mist them with a good cover scent and store in a clean plastic bag or container. Earth Scent is a good universal cover scent with a realistic smell. My October Cover Scent Mist is a natural, not man-made, tincture of the crushed juices of ten Pennsylvania plants, tree leaves, woods vines, golden rod and other plants with a pinch of fresh earth scent to help blend your odor with the natural surroundings. When you get to your stand, remove your hat and mist it with Pollick's October Cover Scent because 70-80% of your body odor is emitted from your head. It is also an excellent idea to mist your hunting stand before you leave if you are planning on hunting it again soon.