Attracting deer by putting out feed, minerals, or treats can be controversial. Putting out your best homemade deer attractant can change the game and really bring home meat for winter, but who has time for that? Companies seem to be coming out with new products every day with attractants made to draw in the big bucks and get awesome pictures or a stable shot almost a certainty.
Before diving into the legal considerations, and the best way to set up your bait, here are is a quick list of the best deer attractants and bait available to purchase:
The 4 Best Deer Attractants
These are the 4 best deer attractants in their respective categories. You can click on the links to see the price on Amazon or continue reading as below we have a review of each.
Not every state views attractants and baits the same. Most states allow deer to be attracted by placing feed, attractant or minerals into an area for taking pictures and patterning deer.
Most states have restrictions on hunting over these sites that you attract deer. Be sure you read through your local fish and game laws to understand what is legal and what isn’t. The absolute best deer attractant scent might not be legal in your area, so don’t flirt with a ticket.
Some states allow feed to be present but at distance others ban it outright. States that allow bait on private property almost always ban it on public ground. Make sure you know the restrictions, have agreements with neighbors and be prepared if you violate these laws.
Making agreements with neighbors seems like going too far (for some), but consider that the numbers and quality of the deer herd in the United States is largely due to cooperatives with landowners following QDMA.
Baiting, attracting, or artificially funneling deer has little place in QDMA since many landowners hate when their neighbors bait. Be courteous and keep the culture of habitat and herd improvement alive.
Be responsible with your bait use and always be ethical. While opinions held by hunters vary always remember, the anti-hunters hate baiting even more than other forms of hunting and they’re vote matters just as much as yours.
How to Put out your Attractant
How you put out your bait will determine how well it works just as much as what’s in it! Be sure you have a plan on how you’ll use your attractant to avoid wasting it, and your money.
How you put out your deer bait will determine how well it works just as much as what’s in it!
For trail cameras look for areas that get ample light and high deer traffic for plenty of high quality pictures. Boosting your odds of having deer near the camera is common practice. While you can simply pour corn on the ground putting it out strategically in a feeder, in rows, or broadcasted out will make a big difference in how many pictures you get and how much time deer spend in the area.
Baiting & Hunting
For baiting and hunting over attractants nothing could be worse than an unruly bait pile. A classic tactic is to pour a big pile of corn, sugar beets, pumpkins, peanut butter or apples and covering it in almond and vanilla extract would be better if spread out over a large area or stuffed into a log.
The idea of placing the bait either in a large area or a concentrated source makes deer either more comfortable or aggressive. The large area makes them feel more at ease because it simulates a foraging area such as a food plot.
Putting bait in a concentrated source such as a log, in between a rock and a tree or a point that juts into a stream or lake forces deer into a funnel and controls the shot angle. It also forces deer to compete for the feed and come out during the day, when other deer won’t come out.
Protecting the Deer Attractant
Making sure there is bait there for the deer is the one of the hardest parts of the whole operation. On one hand you want it easy to get to; but only for deer. You want the deer to crave it and keep coming back, but you want it to last a while so you don’t burn your whole wallet and all your time getting pictures.
If you use a deer feeder it’s easy enough. Stake the feeder down to keep it from being toppled. Be sure to secure access to the feed to be sure that squirrels, raccoons, or birds can’t eat at it. Finally, vary your times to dispense the perfect amount of deer attractant and not waste any or draw unwanted pests.
When you dump feed on the ground it gets more complicated. Putting your attractant in a long furrow or broadcasting it across the ground in large swaths will make it last longer. Burying it will make it last the longest, but can only be done with minerals because if the attractant molds or rots the deer won’t want it.
Dealing with pests can be difficult. For starters, don’t put out too much attractant. Deer have expert noses and will sniff out the smallest odors that pique their interest. Deer don’t need a massive pile of bait. All that’ll do is draw raccoons, hogs and even bears if you have them. Deer don’t like to compete with these other animals and won’t go near the attractant if these animals are nearby.
When in doubt, switch to minerals. Deer love minerals and will dig for them while wild pigs or bears won’t readily go for them. If you have a problem with raccoons or other pests on your attractants switch to a mineral based product and you’ll only see deer from there on out.
Where to Put the Deer Bait
Making sure the bait isn’t eaten by critters doesn’t mean a thing if the deer can’t find it! Any good attractant will draw deer; a really great attractant will pull them into areas they don’t belong but placing them in the right area can make a difference.
The places to look for are the areas deer are already passing through. A funnel between a bedding area and food source works best as long as there’s too much food.
Funnels are the best because the deer are already moving through the area and all you have to do is get them to stop. Stopping a deer is easy if they want to and baiting will often get them to stop moving long enough for a very ethical and well placed shot.
Putting attractant on one side of a large tree, forces deer to come around to one end and put themselves out there for a shot. Putting the attractant in a series of long troughs instead of one huge pile can occupy them and keep them around in front of a trail camera.
The whole point of an attractant should be to get deer to slow down and stop for a moment and if you put more effort than just pouring it onto the ground and leaving you’ll get better results.
A deer funnel such as a wood lot heading into an agricultural field won’t perform as well as a low spot in a creek bed in big woods because of the competition. Baiting or attracting deer works best in areas with food sources few and far between. The allure of a concentrated area with a lot of nutrition is too much for many deer and they have to stop by on their way through.
Best Deer Attractant Reviews
To really pick what the best deer attract is you have to consider what you’d like to use it for. For a trail camera set up a mineral lick, or nutritional feed would be best because the deer will frequent the area and lure other deer in to get the nutrients making the trail camera survey go quickly. For pulling deer to one side of the food plot to line up a perfect shot you really need to pull out all the stops and with the whole field full of food this is a tall order.
Best Deer Attractant for Trail Cameras:
Evolved Habitats Stump Likker
Trail camera surveys have several goals, but they all revolve around getting pictures of deer. Putting out an addicting attractant that brings deer in and keeps deer coming back. The game cameras must get good pictures of all deer that are in the area, this means making sure the deer get in front of and stop in front of the camera.
The folks at Evolved habitats have just what you may need. It’s a product called Stump Likker and it is a syrupy mix of molasses and their other product called Deer Co-Cain. It is a mineral based attractant legendary for the way deer hammer it all year long. In fact, deer are known to dig deep three foot holes where it’s poured onto the ground. This liquid mix will soak into anything that you put it on making the deer go crazy.
This product comes in a one-gallon jug filled with the thick soupy mix of Deer Co-Cain and Molasses ready to be poured out wherever you want the deer. The manufacturer recommends you put it on a rotted out stump which sounds perfect for a trail camera set up.
The deer have to paw and breakdown the stump to get at the attractant and the whole area will smell like molasses bringing in deer that will stay occupied with the stump and posing for pictures.
Best Deer Attractant for Food Plots
Mossy Oak’s BioLogic Addiction – Chestnut
Sometimes getting a deer to the corner of the plot can be like trying to tow the moon. It’s just going to make you mad and suck out the fun. When the deer are surrounded by food, be it a fresh oak drop or a well fertilized field, getting them into bow range isn’t a guarantee.
An effective means to be sure a youth or new hunter will get a good shot is to dress a shooting lane with a powerful attractant. This means to simply put the attractant underneath or around an existing area or tree that the deer are already feeding. This is a deadly tactic to bag a buck that can’t resist the attractants.
The best thing to use is a chestnut based attractant. Studies and hunters have proven chestnuts work the best for bringing in deer from miles around and the most popular product with chestnuts for deer attractant is Mossy Oak’s Bio Logic.
Coming in a convenient 5-pound bag with carry handle the product is easy to carry out to the tree stand or trail camera and pour out for the deer. The product is a sweet smelling powerhouse with 2x the protein and 4x the carbs of other attractants.
The deer just know when they eat it that it’s the premium grade fuel for their bodies. Even rut crazed bucks stop for this product because of the energy and sweet smell coming from the chestnuts inside the bag. In wildlife studies done on chestnuts for attracting deer they preferred Dunstan chestnuts over acorns 100:1.
This product contains a mix of beneficial grains and real Dunstan chestnuts for a formula that won’t disappoint you no matter how you plan on using it. Even with an unpredictable acorn crop, products such as Mossy Oak’s make is possible to pattern deer for photography or hunting and get a perfect shot off.
Here’s what the deer think of it:
Best Deer Attractant for Nutrition
Big & J BB2
Want the absolute best feed for your deer to grow, develop and thrive?
BB2 (pronounced “Bee Bee Squared”) is the premier deer attractant on the market. When you pick up this bag you can smell the attractant thought the entire aisle at the store. It really is a sweet smelling feed for deer that pulls them in from hundreds of yards away.
The attractant is interesting because of how fast it works and how well it retains big bucks in the area. Normally when mature whitetails get a whiff of something they don’t recognize they run like the wind all the way to the next county. Big&J, the manufacturer, of BB2 have found a way to not only keep big bucks in the area but to control exactly where they go.
In fact, in many areas this attractant is considered feed or bait. When you open the bag you can see all the crushed corn and mix that makes the product work. Stocked with all the nutrition a growing deer needs to thrive. This nutrition, they say is the secrete to how they’re able to pull bucks in from miles and miles.
The final odd and awesome thing about BB2 is how the product reacts to water. It doesn’t absorb water. It’s really rather weird but almost like sand the water just runs through the feed and then dries out. It won’t gum up a feeder and won’t mold. The deer don’t care if it’s wet or dry either way they’re all yours.
This really is an interesting product, one of the best. It works fast and is available as a block of compacted feed that is designed to last a long time, so there is huge versatility to how you can use it. The best way I’ve found is to put it in an area I’d like to hunt, come back and hunt two days later and leave the bait pile alone. This is a deadly tactic for this product and can be a great way to introduce a young hunter when you want to stack the deck in your odds.
Best Deer Attractant with Minerals
Whitetail Institute 30 – 06 Mineral/Vitamin
Feed supplements for deer are a dime a dozen at local feed shops and have been used for decades to attract deer. Experts in wildlife biology making strides in research and a new area now being better understood is the nutrition required in the spring for does that are nursing and for antler development on bucks. This time of year is critical for the herd so do what you can to help them out. Give your deer a multi-vitamin, a mineral lick.
A mineral lick for your deer is an area where you deposit the minerals deer need to thrive and they instinctively seek it out and lick the ground to get the flavor and, in turn, the minerals. One of the finest supplements on the market comes the leaders at Whitetail institute with name, known by all hunters, .30-06.
This supplement includes vital nutrients discovered by experts to be especially important for deer. Vitamins and minerals make up the bulk of this product. While most minerals are simply flavored salt this is a quality mix including vitamins A, D, and E as well as numerous others.
Available in 20, and 60lbs bags putting this mix out couldn’t be easier. Just pour it onto the ground in a suitable location. No more thought than that is needed, no need to dig incredibly deep or plant a huge field of expensive crops. Be sure to check before you use this product; it is so powerful that many states find this product to be bait and unethical to hunt near.
If you feel like you could benefit from a deer attractant, then pick one from the list above. Feeding deer is great fun for everyone. As long as all laws are followed and the health of the deer are taken seriously feeding and attracting deer is a great way to introduce youth and new hunters to the outdoors. Whether using the best homemade deer attractant you can muster or the best deer attractant available at the outdoor superstore, attracting deer can be a critical step to hunting, management and education.