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Using Attractants

In an effort to get a leg up in the hunting world, using attractants to lure in large game such as deer and elk, has become popular, especially when combined with the use of a trail camera. There are lots of different natural and packaged attracts available and it’s important to decide what you want to use and why?

The main purpose for using attractants and trail cameras prior to the start of hunting season is to find out what kind and how many animals are in your prospective hunting area. It seems more logical to put up a tree stand in an area where you have absolute proof it has been frequented by the species you have a tag for. Otherwise, you might be sitting in an area void of the animal type you are looking for!

So, you found an area that shows signs of deer or elk and you want to put up a trail camera. What next? You have a couple options. You can use the natural foods that are around the area and let nature bring the animals in. Check out the vegetation in the surrounding area, see what the game you are looking for would be eating naturally and set up your camera with a view of that area. Some of the vegetation deer and elk will seek after include clover, flowering plants and grasses, berries, and acorns. Animals also require water, so if there is a water source nearby, consider setting up your camera in that vicinity with a good view of the watering hole. You might also look for game trails, keeping an eye out for those which cross streams. These are some options if you are just wanting to see what is normally in the area and follow the natural travel patterns of the animals.

If you want to lure deer or elk in from other areas, you can offer some form of packaged attractant. Deer and elk seem to like supplements like mineral blocks and salt licks. Elk are especially fond of these during the late spring and summer while they are still growing and developing antlers. Deer have a preference for anything apple and molasses. Elk like the berry and cherry options. Remember though that anything you put out, especially if it is fruit flavored with some sweetness, is bound to bring in any nearby animal, maybe even a bear!
Again, before putting out anything for the wild animals to eat on, think about your purpose for doing so. Generally attractants are put out for the purpose of scouting before a hunt begins. If attractants are put out after a hunt starts, it might be considered baiting, which is illegal in some states and hunting areas. Be sure to check and become familiar with your state’s hunting regulations. You also do not want to feed the animals anything that is unhealthy or that would would take away from the animals having to hunt or forage for their own food. If you do put our cameras and attractants it’s important to respect the wildlife and give them their space and not infringe on their feeding places and watering holes, remembering that animals won’t come around if there is a lot of human scent. It is also important to respect other hunters if you come across their camera and gear. Hunting is a fun, learning experience that can be enjoyed by all!

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