Tips & Tactics

Tarsal To Go

Tarsal To Go

By Ken Piper

Pull bucks to you by using their No. 1 defense against them.

When you think about how many options a whitetail has while traversing a particular woodlot, it’s a wonder we ever see any from a treestand. Fortunately for us, deer tend to stick to established trails, making them at least a little predictable. Even so, there’s a bit of luck involved in a buck choosing to walk down the particular trail that runs by your setup on a given day.

Obviously, anything you can do to encourage a buck to choose that particular trail increases the odds you’ll get a shot.

Feed (or bait if you’d rather) helps where legal, but putting out feed correctly takes a commitment of time and money. There’s also a strong belief that many older bucks avoid feeders and bait piles.

Another tactic is to mess up other trails to encourage deer to use the one you want them to. Examples can be as simple as piled brush, or as involved as installing sections of fencing across the targeted trails.

Finally, you can use a buck’s No. 1 defense against him by incorporating scent into your setup. Whatever type of scent you use, we recommend something you can take with you when you leave, or at least something that dissipates within a few hours. We’re not knocking mock scrapes, but we do recommend they be used with drippers that have time-controlled activation for daylight hours. The idea is to bring in the deer while you’re there.

Scent canisters are excellent for hanging while you’re in the stand and then sealing up and taking them with you when you go. Another option is to use the tarsal gland from a harvested buck. The closer you are to the rut, the more pungent the tarsal will be. You can cut the tarsal from a buck you’ve harvested or a friend’s buck, or you can go to a deer processor and have your pick of any number of fresh tarsals.

You can even freeze a rut-enhanced tarsal and use it the following season, including before the rut hits full swing. Buckmasters biologist Bob Humphrey recommends taking extra care when preparing the tarsal for freezing and encourages the use of a food vacuum sealer if you have one. Bob said the tarsal will lose some of its potency no matter what you do, but it can still be effective next fall.

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Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd