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Q: Does doe estrouse work? And when should i start to put that out. I hunt in northern indiana. Sam Domnoske

A: #1 Thanks for the question Sam. In the simplest terms, yes, scents and attractants work. Deer are very social animals and communicate primarily with scent and secondarily with sound. But there are times when scent can be a bad idea, especially when you use the wrong scent at the wrong time.

Estrous cycles, especially in the midwest, are like clockwork. In states like Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, the estrous cycles of does determines the peak rutting activity of the resident bucks and can usually be predicted about as accurately as the weather. Northern Illinois is no exception. There, the rut shuold be coming into full swing. Peak dates for estrous cycles are usually the second full week of November.

From the end of October through the first week of November, bucks are scraping, fighting, rubbing trees, and scent checking does from a distance, looking for the ones that are coming into estrous. As The first week of November comes to a close and more does are reaching their estrous cycle, bucks abandon their scrapes somewhat and begin to chase does that are in heat. A doe will remain in heat for several days and a buck that is lucky enough to mate her will be close by while she is receptive.

At this time, bucks will be hooking up and dropping off from hot does left and right. They will be chasing them around and traveling long distances to meet up with as many hot does as they can. And it is at this time that doe in heat scent works best. A buck traveling in search of receptive does will be checking the wind for a whiff of love potion and often come in to investigate.

One of the tactics I like to employ is to keep a small spray bottle full of fresh estrous urine with both a misting and stream capability. I will put s squirt on my boots before walking in to my stand, and also shoot a few streams on bushes from my stand. Then every half hour or so, I will mist a couple pumps into the air and allow the wind to take the fresh scent away. I have had more deer than I care to mention come in to investigate the area after catching the scent of the deer lure.

There is a draw back to this method however, in that most of the time these deer will be coming in from down wind. It is essential that you minimize your own scent with a good neutralizing spray such as Scent Zapper, Scent Blocker or Scent Shield sprays. Further, you want to make sure you keep clean and avoid getting odors on your clothes that are not natural to the deer woods. By limiting your own scent and using estrous during the peak of the rut, you should increase your chances at a big midwestern bruiser this month. I wish you much success.

Chuck Echenique

A: #2 I've never hunted in Indiana, but bucks will be bucks and all bucks at some point of the Fall and Winter seasons will be vulnerable to the scent of a doe in heat. Be it the scent from a live Indiana doe or that of a bottle carried in your pocket; you will definitely get their attention if used properly.

What's the proper way to use it? Well there are volumes written of personal techniques and preferences from many veterans of the whitetail woods, but to sum up my ideas on the subject I'll give you a couple quick tips.

1, Season. It can work as a curiosity lure throughout the entirety of the hunting season, but it's best during the rut or a couple of weeks prior. I asked a Yankee cousin of mine in Anderson, Indiana who advises that the rut generally coincides with the last two weeks in November.

2, Scent. You have to be careful of your personal scent left in the area. If the buck smells you; the hunt's over! Conversley, if the buck doesn't catch the smell of your doe in heat offering, there's little point in using it right? Use enough and use it often, get that smell in the air.

Best of luck to you in your quest for an Indiana Bruiser. Be sure to write in and let us know how you did!

Toby Benoit