If you use too many scents and dispensers, it can turn into a big, messy hassle, so much so you might stop using stuff that can help you get your buck. Simplify your system like I have: I use a spray to neutralize my stink, an all-around scent to mask me and make my October sites smell like deer and two attractants that might reel in a shooter when the rut gets kicking. Carry all four in a sealable pouch that fits neatly inside your daypack.
1.) Product: Choose a scent neutralizer. I use Scent-A-Way Plus Fresh Earth ($15).
Why: A neutralizer cuts down on odor molecules that slough off your body and gear, swirl the air, and shoot up a deer's nose when the wind changes. I have used Scent-A-Way for years, but any neutralizer with or without a double-shot of cover scent will do the job. I like the smell of a natural cover (dirt or pine) that permeates camo.
When and How: Use this on every hunt all season. Spray clothes liberally-pants, arms, gloves and boots-before sneaking to your stand. You will deposit little or no stink to linger on brush and leaves. At your post, refresh clothes head to toe by spraying your pack, safety harness, stand seat and other soft gear.
2.) Product: Pick out an all-purpose deer scent like Trail's End 307.
Why: An all-around scent, like Trail's End, is blended with deer musk and urines, and so smells like deer, any deer. Does and bucks feel comfortable traveling and mingling in areas that smell of deer musk, so this scent is good as both an attractant and a cover scent.
When and How: I use Trail's End around bow stands. It also works as a sexual attractant into the rut. It never hurts for your perimeter to smell like whitetail, so dump out some late in the year, too.
3.) Product: Include a hot-doe scent in your repertoire, such as Code Blue Whitetail Estrous Gel ($16).
When and How: In most areas hot-doe works best during the last week of October until around Nov. 10, when bucks are trolling. Keep it out through rut, though. Lay a scent trail to your stand, and then smear dabs on branches or logs.
4.) Product: Don't forget a challenger scent like Buck in Rut Foam ($10).
Why: When mature bucks prowl late in pre-rut they might veer over to smell the heavy musk of a rival. Use "challenger scent" like Buck Foam, which is dominant buck urine collected from bucks that are three years of age. Note: This strong stuff might spook does and immature bucks.
When and How: From Halloween until November 10 lay a challenger scent trail to your stand and/or set out two tarsal wicks nearby. Watch and listen downwind for a stiff-legged buck looking for trouble. I once had two 10-pointers with hackles up come to my tarsal post at the same time.
Get Fresh Scent
Deer scent goes bad. Don't use last year's. You should throw out your deer scents at the end of each season and stock up again just before deer season. And, just like when you buy dairy products, be careful that what you're getting is fresh. A great product that lets you know is the Wildlife Research Center's Special Golden Estrus. It comes with a "use by" date stamped on the bottle. Golden Estrus is now available in a gel and in the Trophy Leaf, a natural "scent wafer" that you hang from a branch near your stand.
Build Your Skills
Use your buck urine/tarsal scent when rattling and grunting during the rut. Soak a drag rag and lay a musky trail into a calling site. Walk around your stand or blind to spread more stink. Mist pads or a rag with fresh buck juice, hang on a tree limb and do your thing. Many times a buck will circle downwind of your sounds to sniff out what he thinks is a buck fight or a rival tending a doe. All that stinky stuff might reel him in.