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Columnists : Anthony Navarroli
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Scent Trends 2006, pt 1
By Anthony Navarroli
Jul 3, 2006, 06:56

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Scent In 2006

Most successful hunters are aware of the formidable scenting ability of deer.  Some contend that the nose of the whitetail is as sensitive as bloodhounds.  Combined with their wary nature, terrific eyesight and incredible hearing, it’s a wonder we ever get an opportunity to get within range of them.  The use of scenting technology has allowed today’s hunter to enjoy more success in both seeing and having quality harvesting opportunities.  

The main objective of this and future articles is to simply give hunters information.  One point that I will make and repeat in future articles is that it is up the individual to judge which products and philosophies suit your particular tastes.  I will provide first hand experience and/or information when applicable to assist in making sound choices.  In accordance with this objective, it is hoped that exposure to new solutions to old problems may get you to try different options.  The information may confirm what you already know or it may give you suggestions for alternative solutions.

In order to gain a better personal understanding of the overwhelming options available I decided to talk to several different manufacturers of hunting scents, scent dispersion systems and scent concealment.  What was uncovered was both educational and enlightening which hopefully will lead to more success in the field. To make this article more user friendly, the products are broken down categorically.  


There seemed to be two major philosophies in the hunting scent industry.  One philosophy is that scent should be natural, while the other contends that the time of synthetic scents is upon us.  We’ll look at both in more depth with representative companies from each. 

Natural Scents

Border Crossing Labs

One company that believes scents should be as pure as possible is the family owned Border Crossing Labs.  Their collection process is so unique and effective they have it patented.   They have several hundred head of Michigan whitetail to collect from and provide the buyer with perhaps the most pure attractant and cover scents on the market.  Their philosophy is straightforward in that pure estrus and urine is the most common sense approach to producing a scent product.  Their family owned business is fanatical about every aspect of their product and caution customers to place orders early and use it during that season.  Their totally pure scents are without preservatives and will last an entire hunting season.  Their top product is the highly potent VS-1 that will get the attention of deer in a hurry. Their cover scent, Deer Herd mimics a deer bed and that not only conceals, it can also tickle the curiosity of nearby deer.

Wildlife Research Center has a wide array of products and scents available.  They are so confident in their scent products being effective, they offer a no questions asked 100 percent money back guarantee!  Their scent line includes attractant scents for deer, elk and other big game as well as an extensive line of cover scents to hide your presence in all hunting situations.  Word has it that they are about to release some incredible new products in 2006 that are sure to help fill tags everywhere.  The Trail’s End 307 is a blended natural scent that I used during bow season this year and managed to get a monster eight pointer to come around.  The blend focuses on infusing natural deer calling ingredients to attract bucks during the entire hunting season.  Another product I have used to help hide my scent is the Scent Killer line of products.  They work well and have many choices to customize your approach to being effectively unnoticed by game.


Mention scents in hunting circles and most people will automatically think of Tinks.  Tinks offers many scents for every hunting situation.  Their #69 is a staple amongst a lot of hunters.  Its availability and staying power are testament to the effectiveness of this product.  Another inventive product is their Trophy Buck Lure and Intruder Tarsal Gland that gets a buck going when he thinks he has an uninvited visitor in his territory.  I’ve been using their Scent Bombs for years and have never had a problem with leaking.  They are easy to use, even with gloves on.  I like the fact that they make convenient and portable yardage markers. 


A company that has been making scents for more than forty years is Buck Stop Lure Company.  From masking scents to attractant scents, they sell something for everyone.  One of their neater products is Nozee Curiosity scent that is neither a cover or sex scent.  Rather, it is made of natural scents that are field tested to arouse the curiosity of deer during all phases of the season.  Their Mate Triks Doe in Heat formula has been around since the seventies and is a time tested proven winner.  It will last you for two years if properly stored.  For you bear hunters, they sell the paste called Bear Bate that is made of favorite bear foods.  The paste is convenient in that it allows you to place it where you want.

Buck Magic In the Can

A new line is from Buck Magic Whitetail Attractant, where the company says their product is   50 times more powerful than any other attractant on the market. Buck Magic is only 100% fresh doe-urine in a moist, solidified form on the market that is not only reusable, but according to the company, exerts 24 square inches of powerful buck attracting scent all hunting season long. Buck Magic features a patented texture and compilation of urine, along with the flat and vast surface exposed to air via the Buck Magic Scent Tray.

Mark David Perry, Buck Magic owner says, “While regular urine is absorbed into the ground or scent-wicks diminished over time, Buck Magic is kept clean and clear from the absorbing ground. The attracting element is in a 100% isolated form, making it possible to exert the most extreme scent deliverance. It has constant, direct contact with the air, which makes it infinitely more potent and thus unquestionably more productive to the hunter! If a hunter were to open up a bottle of urine and just let it sit at his or her hunting sight, it would take over fifty open bottles to duplicate a comparable scent disbursement that Buck Magic offers the hunter!


Synthetic Scents

On the other side of the coin is Edgefield Outdoors.  Owner, Rano Harris has spent a lot of time researching scents and what makes them effective.  His solution was to produce an entirely synthetic formula that can boost attractant components of the scent.  What Edgefield Outdoors offers is manufactured scent compounds that have been manipulated and accentuated for maximized effectiveness.  Their boosted trace elements found in efficient natural scents effectively zero in on the olfactory senses of deer and capture their interest as they encounter the scent trail.  Their products include many different formulas for pre, during and post rut situations.  Edgefield has an estrus formula named, Last Date, for all general hunting situations from the pre- to post rut, a tarsal formula called Big Boss that is set up to attract only big and dominant bucks, and a Lick’N Rub that is also universally appealing to deer as a marking scent.  They also sell a handy scent called Mega Scrape that allows you to set up a mock scrape and Acorn Plus which smells like one of their favorite foods.  Both will help to bring deer around to investigate. Other benefits of synthetic scents are the consistency of the product and the fact that it is completely Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) free.  Find a scent you like and every batch you purchase is identical to the other without fear of having any contaminants.  With no ammonia, it has no shelf life expiration issues.  Synthetics are here to stay and as they get even more publicity their effectiveness will show in the form of filled out tags and full freezers.  Many misconstrue that if it isn’t natural it isn’t any good.  That type of misconception and prejudice is waning fast in today’s technology filled hunting market. 

Talking with Ramo brought me back to my university days in chemistry class as our elderly but witty professor would always laud the benefits of synthetic materials.  His famous quote was, “Uranium is all natural, but you wouldn’t want to take two pills in the morning instead of a synthetic manufactured multi vitamin.”  No argument here, and no argument that synthetics are going to be a larger player in the scent market.

Hot Trails Candles put scent on the air

A hybrid system that takes an entirely different approach is Bill Moore’s Hot Trails candle scents.  Bill explained his philosophy to me in this way.  Have you ever walked into a room and smelled a cold cup of coffee as you walked in?  Neither had he.  Brew a fresh pot or make a bag of popcorn and everyone around you knows what you’ve got.  Bill extended the logical course and started making scent candles for the woods.  I have personally tried these in late muzzle loading season and found it easy to use and effective.  Bill started out making these candles for himself, and after numerous requests from friends who enjoyed success with them decided to start selling them in 1991.  Each candle has a four to five hour burn time (more or less depending on the wind) in the available lantern and slowly but consistently releases scent into the air.  With an estimated 500 yard range the hot scent enjoys a unique advantage; the scent released in the first ten minutes is as strong as the scent released four to five hours later.  The nature of heated scent is that it rises and goes along with the wind currents.  Bill explained the basic principle in this manner. Think of a scent molecule being the size of a golf ball.  When heat is applied, the scent molecule expands to the size of a basketball.  The heated scent rises and covers a larger part of the prevailing air and becomes the dominant scent within that current. 

Hot Trails offers a lot of choices as well.  They have cover scents, attractant scents for deer and elk as well as predator scents for coyote and fox.  For you bear hunters, order up now and pick from his wide range of scents tailor made for bear season with scents in anise, honey, cinnamon and bacon.  Bill assured me that his scents stay fresh for years as the wax seals in the aroma and protects it from contamination. 

The lantern is very compact and easy to use, even with winter gloves on.  It comes with a camouflage colored housing and a very user friendly handle.  I like to set it up and use it as an additional yardage marker.  As always, be careful when lighting.  Nothing spooks a deer like the smell and yelling of a burning hunter!  The candles are small enough that you can pack extras or different scents easily in any fanny pack or pocket.  I’d recommend you at least put them in an air tight zip closure baggie to prevent the pack (or clothing) and its contents from smelling like the candles.  Their scent is strong enough and genuine so it really becomes an added safety measure.  You definitely don’t want to disappoint an angry buck looking for a fight or love and finding you with your candles hanging out of your bag! 

Buck Bomb Spray Lures

Another unusual product on the market that took a completely different approach to releasing scent into the air is The Buck Bomb.  Actually it tackles two of the biggest problems when dealing with natural scent.  Have you ever notice how scent companies sell their products in either dark glass or totally solid colored plastic containers?  How many of us use a scent that has a wax seal or some other air tight cap?  The reason is that light and air can spoil a scent quicker than a deer jumping the string on a shot.  The makers of The Buck Bomb use a special lined can that is completely air tight and blocks out all ultraviolet rays.  They utilize a filtered, natural liquid urine scent and an odorless propellant to turn the liquid scent into a gas.  That gas has a much more effective range than static scent sitting on a pad or poured on a rag.  A partial misconception of the product is that it a single use only product.  I say partial misconception because The Buck Bomb can be operated like a conventional spray can.  All that is needed is a little pressure on the spray tab.  You can spray a little on your boots or trail as needed.  Press the spray tab all the way down and it locks in place expelling the contents in about 100 seconds.  A full two ounces of scent hits the air in about a minute and a half!  If you quickly change your mind you can stop the spray as well with a little dexterity. 

A word of caution when using this product; it is under pressure so never try to release the scent by taking a shot at it!  It will definitely not give you the results you were looking for in addition to being extremely dangerous.  Also since it uses a pressurized accelerant, the can should be kept as close as possible to body temperature.  That means it rides inside the vehicle and it should be in your pack or coat when walking in.  If it gets too cold, it won’t deploy until it is of sufficient temperature.  Don’t be the hunter that gets it too cold and tries to use it and puts it back in their vehicle or coat (or pack for that matter).  If the tab is depressed to the “bomb” location it will deploy the scent as soon as it warms up.  That could mean a smelly coat, pack, vehicle or worse, garage or basement!  Your friends will laugh at you, your significant other will deny any knowledge of you, and people at the diner on the way in will make you eat in the parking lot.  It’s not worth it.  Like all of these products, read all directions before using it.

Aside from the cautionary aspects of this product, it has numerous advantageous points as well.  First, it is very economical.  I’m told for a two ounce can the retail price is less than most other scent products.  The entire system is very portable allowing several cans to be carried depending on how mobile you plan on being.  Use the wind correctly and you’ll enjoy a 1/8th mile range with little more than a three mile per hour wind.  With scent choices of young buck, estrus, doe urine, dominant buck (it will scare smaller bucks), elk, Sitka deer, bear, predator, and their own “curiosity scent” they have every type of big game hunt covered for North America.  As for expiration issues, The Buck Bomb is guaranteed fresh for three years.  This will allow you to take advantage of any bulk purchases (which the company claims more hunters do with this economical product) and save them for hunts as needed. 

Scent Dispersion Products

One area that has been on the steady incline in the big game hunting community is the development of different scent dispersion systems.  For years people relied on using rags, cotton balls, sponges, and other porous materials to hold their choice of scent in the air currents around them.  I remember camping and finding a lot of uses for 35mm film canisters since they were light and relatively waterproof.  One thing that was always a concern was that the film companies cautioned using the containers for food products due to residual chemical compounds possibly impregnating the plastic.  Whether it was based purely on legal advice due to an ever increasing litigious society or genuine concern for the public, I always limited my use of these to durable, non edible goods.  I am also aware of the chemical odor present in some containers as well.  It made sense that if my nose could smell it, a deer would certainly pick up on it and the tainting of scent was a strong possibility.  Hence it was only a matter of time before the hunting industry found a way to serve the buying public. 

New materials along with old standbys have made the scent dispersal market one of the fastest changing and evolving segments.  Rather than being limited to just pouring scent on a rag, there are a myriad of devices designed to efficiently disperse scent for both concealment and attracting game.  I like versatile items that can serve multiple uses so when I saw some of these products I was amazed at how good they were at serving more than one purpose. 

We’ve already discussed some new hybrid products like the Hot Trails lantern and The Buck Bomb.  Both are new ideas of old problems.  More importantly, both are very user friendly; a big plus when dealing with dark and often cold conditions that require wearing gloves.  This section will focus on other new and more traditional means of smelling like anything but a human in the woods. 

Edgefield Outdoors has a new scent dispersal device that first reminded me of my tent camping days as a kid.  We camped in the hot and humid summer near a lot of water and wetlands.  Mosquitoes, black flies, and common flies were everywhere.  We had a lot of fly paper traps set up around our eating area.  The Wickster from Edgefield Outdoors looks like these fly paper dispensers.  You simply role out the wick, much like the fly paper would release from the roll, apply scent and retract it until you are ready to use it.  With heavy duty o rings it is neat and easy to use.  It is priced around $12 so it is very affordable.  It is large enough to be seen and used as a yardage marker and holds enough scent to last an entire hunt.  Edgefield Outdoors also sells a nifty scent pad and hanger system called the ScentLeaf.  It is a plastic shaped leaf and scent pad (Leafwick) that simply opens along the long edge and holds the Leafwick exposed to the wind.  The Leafwicks are disposable and replaceable so you can use them with any scent of your choice.  An advantage to the ScentLeaf is that is very easy to use.  You simply open it and drape it over a twig or branch of your choice.  It would also work equally well placed on rock or stump as well.  The ScentLeaf comes in your choice of yellow or orange.

Pine Ridge

The good people of Pine Ridge Archery have a new product that is to scent dispersion systems what the Swiss Army knife is to the cutlery world.  Their Wick Stik is an incredibly inventive, stoutly built scent dispersion tool that does a lot of things and unlike a lot of multi use products, does those things well.  The Wick Stik is an all in one system that combines many features that are essential for setting up a scent trail.  The Wick Stik is a long cylinder that has two robustly threaded ends on either side.  In the middle of the cylinder is a six foot length of cord with a plastic clip all neatly rolled into a recess for use as drag.  Unscrewing one end of it reveals a scent wick that holds about a half ounce of scent.  This half also is threaded on the other side to secure it to the main cylinder and has a large loop just after the threads for use as a hanging wick when trees are the option of choice.  Attach the loop to the cord clip and you have a scent drag.  In the event there are to suitable trees, the Wick Stik keeps you in business by unthreading the other side which reveals a very strong spike that also threads into the main cylinder creating a long scent stick that gets scent high enough into the air without being too high to start raising the heads of deer.  Another advantage of the Wick Stik is that because of its height, it is perfect for those who hunt over bean and alfalfa fields.  It will stick up high enough to be effective when bottles and other dispersal systems aren’t practical.  A final use for the Wick Stik is it makes an easy to see yardage marker when staked at a known distance from your stand.  As mentioned before, it is a very well made and extremely durable product that uses multiple o rings to keep scent secure within its thick walled PVC like body.  Best of all, it works as advertised and is quiet to use to boot!

Triple R Boot Buddy

Speaking of boots, for those that like to drag a scent but have had less than memorable experiences with losing the scent pad or rag, a new and innovative company by the name Triple R Outdoors decided to help us all out with the creation of the Boot Buddy.  The Boot Buddy eliminates the need to deal with the cumbersome details of a scent drag.  You simply fill the bottle with your choice of scent, put the bottle in the boot holster and attach it to your boot.  When you are ready to start putting down a scent trail you just open the tab on the bottle and start walking.  It is that simple!  I have used this product this year and can attest to its simple and effective design.  In talking to Eric Dickinson at Triple R, he told me that an added advantage (and perhaps the biggest advantage of the product) is that the scent is consistent; meaning the first drop of the scent is as potent as the last drop.  With drags the scent starts off hot (strong) and gets cold (weak) the farther you walk. One tip Eric shared with me is that once he gets to where he plans on hunting he stops a few yards from his stand and walks in a small circle and shakes his leg wearing the Boot Buddy to create a mock scrape.  On those occasions you want a cover scent along with your attractant scent, Triple R also sells extra bottles that only need be filled with your choice of cover or supplemental scent and easily inserted into the boot holster. Open the bottle and you have created a complex scent pattern that mimics multiple deer and other wildlife.    

Wildlife Research Lures Draws Bucks

Wildlife Research Center sells a patented dripper that makes a mock scrape seem active by adding just the right amount of their Active Scrape scent to keep big bucks interested and assists in developing helpful patterning of these bucks so that you can set up the ideal hunting spot and tag a trophy.   One of the more well thought out dispensers I have found has been the Quik Wiks.  Like familiar plastic bottled designs it uses a scent laden wick that is pulled from the container.  Unlike the other familiar plastic scent bottles, it hangs upside down which allows the scent to keep the wick active and most importantly does not allow rain or snow inside the bottle keeping the scent from being diluted.  Look for them being sold in three unit packs and very reasonably priced.


Using scent is one thing.  Using it effectively and economically make for an ongoing conflict.  How much should you use and can you use too much?  If you struggle with trying to find a balance perhaps you should consider 24/7 and 24/7 Plus from MDR Outdoor Group.  This new and unusual product bridges the gap between scents and conventional dispersal systems. As discussed earlier, liquid scent starts off strong and diminishes as time goes on.  Other environmental factors, like excessive wind, rain and snow can change the effective range of the scent.  Adding 24/7 can make your scent more effective by allowing it to remain more concentrated for a longer period of time. 

A frequently asked question about 24/7 is how does it work?  The easiest way to describe it is to picture the granules as tens of thousands of micro-sized sponges.  These sponges are scentless but once the hunter adds the scent, they get absorbed into these granules and release the scent without drying out like liquid scent would.  All it takes is a mere half-ounce of scent added to the nine and a half ounce container of 24/7 to maximize your luring scent trail.  The scent trail lasts as long as the granules last.  That means even in the cold or during rainy weather.  The scent is locked into the granules and scent is preserved in the interior of the granule free from ammonia build up.  The main advantage of this product over their other, 24/7 Plus, is that it is customizable.  If you want to hunt fox, add a fox lure scent to the bottle.  If you are hunting elk, add an elk scent to another bottle.  Each container readily adapts to what you are hunting by allowing you to use whatever scent you choose.

MDR also offers 24/7 Plus, which already comes charged with a natural scent.  This ten-ounce shaker bottle is all set to go right out of the package.  Simply apply it to where you would normally place scent and walk away.  It lasts just like the unscented 24/7 and offers the benefit of not having to purchase a separate scent.  MDR offers an estrus and dominant buck scent.  Best of all, once you apply either 24/7 or Plus, you are not contaminating the ground with anything toxic.  The granules are simple dissolved over time into inert material.  The end result is you get to save money by maximizing your purchased scents and you get lasting performance.


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