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Humans Urinating in Buck Scrapes?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION 1: Bob, I've been urinating in scrapes for years to attract deer, with the exception of times when I have to take prescription meds. What do you think about this tactic, and do you think my doing this affects the integrity of the scrape? - Mark B.

Humans Urinating in Buck Scrapes?QUESTION 2: I noticed wherever I pee in a buck's scrape during the morning hours, it was heavily frequented by does throughout the remainder of the day. The area looked like a plow went through it! Do you think it's the minerals in the urine they are attracted to, or is it a territorial or hormonal thing? - Dale J.

ANSWER: Humans urinating in scrapes seems to fly in the face of everything we know about deer senses and behavior.

Scent communication is important to whitetails, and might be as complex as verbal communication is to humans. 

We don't know for certain, but biologists believe that from a puddle of urine, one deer can discern many things about the other deer that left it, including sex, health, breeding status, position in the dominance hierarchy and possibly even the identity of the individual deer. 

Given all this, and the whitetail's propensity for avoiding anything human, it would seem foolish to intentionally leave any type of human scent in the areas you hunt.

However, urine seems to be a glaring exception to this rule.

There's considerable evidence, mostly anecdotal, supporting the notion that not only are deer not repelled, but might actually be attracted to the smell of human urine.

As to why, the best I can offer is purely speculation.

Perhaps, as human urine and deer urine are similar enough that the deer can't discriminate. Maybe they interpret human urine as a message they don't quite understand, like someone speaking a foreign language. Or maybe it's just plain curiosity.

It's also quite plausible that deer might be attracted to some human urine, and repelled by others, depending on the depositor's diet.

As an interesting side note, in his book, Hunting Rutting Whitetails, Gene Wensel describes how he used his wife's discarded feminine hygiene products to attract bucks. 

Deer and humans are mammals, and it's possible that human reproductive hormones are similar enough to deer's that they are attractive.

Clearly, more research is needed before we can arrive at a definitive conclusion. But for now, if it works for you, why stop?

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