Deer attractants take up a large chunk of the hunting market, with some delivering as advertised and others, not so much. Homemade deer attractants not only offer you a reason to use some of that stuff sitting in the back of the cabinet or pantry, but they also offer some value.
Deer attractants aren’t cheap, after all, so why not use something that’s just as effective that you can put together yourself? Some of the stuff on our homemade deer attractant list are probably sitting around your house anyway.
If hunting is a regular obsession for you, there’s no reason you shouldn’t advance to the next stage of deer attractants. You might be surprised how effective homemade deer attractants are. If nothing else, it will save you some money in the long run.
15 Homemade Deer Attractants
In case you’ve missed it, some of the best deer attractants on the market utilize common materials or scents you can find around the house. That’s because deer like some of the things you have in the pantry or the fridge.
1. Acorn and Apple Spray
Deer eat apples. It doesn’t matter to them whether it comes from a bottle you ordered on Amazon for $39.99 or right off your kitchen table.
At the end of the day, an apple is an apple. In this application, apples are the attractant while the acorn masks your smell. It’s the perfect, one-two combination and it’s surprisingly effective when your prey is downwind. Of course, you will need to gather some supplies.
- One pound of acorns
- Place a gallon of water on the burner until it boils
- Grind your acorns into a fine powder
- Dump your acorn powder into the gallon of boiling water
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it go for 4 to 6 hours
- At some point, juice your apples (juicer or press them yourself)
- You can substitute the apples with apple cider (not apple cider vinegar)
- Once you have three cups of juice, mix it in and remove it from the heat
- Let them sit and marinate overnight
- In the morning, strain the juice into a bottle with a sprayer
- The remaining juice goes into the fridge for refills
2. Straight apple-scented attractant
Sometimes, all you need is an apple or two. Maybe more depending on how much attractant you want to make. For this particular recipe, all you need are apples, pine needles, a blender, and a clothespin or two.
- Get yourself a large Tupperware container
- Fill the bottom portion with pine needles
- Blend some apples until the stuff simply won’t blend any more
- Fill the container halfway with natural, spring water
- Dump your apple blend in there
- Seal it and let it sit for a few hours
You don’t turn this stuff into a spray, though you probably could if you wanted to. The idea is just to bring the Tupperware container along for the ride. Park it under your tree stand or elevate it a bit to take advantage of the breeze.
3. Vanilla extract and peanut butter
Combining peanut butter and vanilla extract creates a potent combination. Deer love both, but they especially love peanut butter. Either one alone works great too. A large, 32oz bottle of vanilla extract is cheap, and even if you have one of those small containers of it at home, you can dilute it and make a spray out of it.
If you want both, just mix large amounts of peanut butter with a sizeable dose of vanilla extract and keep the bowl with you in the stand. Or, rub peanut butter on the trees close to your stand.
4. Deer Minerals
This is a solid attractant and it’s one of the primary ingredients in all those expensive attractants you see on the market. The best part is you can buy the three ingredients in bulk and just make your own for as long as you need or want to.
- 50 lb bag of calcium phosphate
- 50 lb bag of mineral salt
- 50 lb bag of regular salt
All you have to do is mix all three in a large tub and set it out like a salt lick. The stuff will last most of the deer season and deer flock to it like kids to candy.
Persimmon probably wasn’t the one thing you were just itching to get your hands on for a good deer attractant. The fact is, the stuff works wonders, and deer love it. If you like vodka, you already have ⅓ of the ingredients.
All you need is some Persimmon fruit, a Ziploc bag, vodka, and water. Dice up your Persimmon well and add about a cup’s worth to your Ziploc. Then add ½ cup of water.
It takes two cups of vodka, so be sure to get some of the cheap stuff.
We should add, this is the kind of attractant you need to make well before deer season kicks off in your neck of the woods. Once you have everything in the Ziploc, it needs to marinate for about four months.
When you’re ready, strain it into a good spray bottle, and you’re ready to go.
6. Tarsal glands
If you come across a dead deer on the side of the road, you’re welcome to get out and harvest its tarsal glands, or you can wait until you bag your first buck or doe of the season and do it then.
When you have your tarsal gland, put it in a bag and freeze it until you’re ready. Once the rut approaches, take out the tarsal gland, shave some of the hairs into a cup of water, and allow it to marinate for an hour or so. Stir it occasionally to help it along.
Strain the water into your bottle, and you’re all set. Be sure to label your bags “doe” or “buck” so you know what you’re using.
7. Deer scent stick
If you want this to be truly homemade, you’ll need to harvest some doe urine from a doe’s bladder when you clean her. You’ll need some extra supplies as well.
- Coconut oil
- Gallon Ziploc bag
- Polysorbate 20
- A large bowl
- Incense sticks (unscented only)
The incense sticks are obviously used as your scent sticks so be sure they are unscented when you purchase them. Mix about 2 oz of both deer urine and coconut oil in your bowl. Add 2 tsp of polysorbate 20.
Mix it all very well. Dip as many unscented incense sticks as you can into the resulting mixture. Seal everything up in the gallon bag and let it sit for half a month. When you’re all done, go hang the sticks around your stand and within your firing lanes.
8. Peanut Butter
You can spread this stuff on trees, as we mentioned above, or set up a giant container for deer to eat on like a salt lick. Start with a large, empty jug of peanut butter and screw it to a tree by running the drill and screw through the center of the container.
Place fresh peanut butter in the hanging container. Be sure that everything is low enough for deer to reach it. That’s it. You’re all set. Just be sure to gut your deer elsewhere if you kill one nearby the container.
9. Molasses Lick
It’s the same concept as a peanut butter lick or a salt lick. It’s all about putting something out there that deer will scent and readily come to. Just find yourself a huge stump, close to your tree stand, or some other natural object, and dump your molasses all over it.
You can also stick seasoned wood in a tub of molasses and let it absorb the stuff well. Then carry it out and place it in a strategic position.
This is one of those weird things that deer happen to love. You’ll need quite a bit of sugar and Kool-Aid to pull it off, so be sure to stock up when you have the chance. Take two pounds of sugar and mix in four packs of Kool-Aid, two pounds of baking soda, and 2 pounds of table salt.
Be sure to mix it well in a sizeable tub that you can carry out to your stand. Simply put it in place and wait for the action to start. If you have game cameras, set them up so you’ll get an idea of how well it works and where they are coming in from.
While it’s not the same level of attractant that peanut butter is, you can buy or grow hordes of peanuts. All you need to do is spread them throughout your hunting area. In fact, if you grow your own peanuts or have a mind to, make the nearest open space into a peanut farm.
The only drawback to growing peanuts where you hunt is you will have one good season. After that, you’ll have to fend off mobs of ravenous voles and moles.
12. Preorbital Gland Scent
This is something else you need to harvest when you find trees a buck has scraped. When bucks scrape a tree branch, they rub their foreheads against it, which secretes fluid from the glands located on their foreheads.
You can use this by cutting off the branch or gathering the surrounding bark.
13. A mixed bag
If all of the above things work on their own, why not mix everything up into one, giant cornucopia of happy deer scents?
- Peanut Butter
Run your fruits and vegetables through the blender and mix them all together with the molasses. It’s probably not the best idea to dump it out over a stump, but leaving it in a large, open Tupperware container is perfectly fine.
Ants are your biggest worry, along with attracting other, less savory insects. It’s better when you deploy this method in the colder months of the hunting season.
14. Apple Block
This is another one that requires a lot of ingredients, however, it’s an excellent attractant, and it lasts.
- 50 lb bag of stock salt
- 50 lb bag of Di-Calcium Phosphate
- 50 lb bag of trace minerals
- 20 lbs of apples
- 20 oz molasses container
- 5 lb container (empty)
- 20-gallon bucket
Cut your apples up in large slices, and don’t bother getting rid of the cores. Place a gallon of water on the burner and bring it to a boil. Boil your apples long enough to soften them. While you’re waiting, stir together 6 lbs of Di-Calcium and 6 lbs of salt, along with 9 lbs of trace minerals.
Once it’s all mixed up, dump your boiled apples in there. Be sure to mix it thoroughly before you add your 20 ounces of molasses and two gallons of warm water. Head out to your stand with the mixture in two. Dig yourself a small hole (way too small to hold the hole mixture) and dump the entire container in the hole.
You just need a 5-gallon bucket, salt, and water for this attractant and it works surprisingly well. All you have to do is fill the bucket with warm water and dump an entire salt container in with it. Mix it in thoroughly, take it out to your tree stand and start dumping it on every tree in the area.
You’re effectively making a whole bunch of salt licks around your stand and it will last a lot longer than you think.
Keep in mind, that’s only fifteen ways to make your own deer attractants at the house. There are plenty more out there. Feel free to experiment. If there is one thing this list reveals, it’s that there are a lot of things deer enjoy.
Mix and match or come up with some variants you can use as a spray or some sprays you can convert into a feeding block. Deer are not picky about how they get their apples, persimmon, peanut butter, corn, or salt.
Whatever you come up with, it’s likely to attract deer to your stand. The best part about some of these homemade attractants is they are far more cost-effective than anything you’ll find at the store, and some will last a lot longer as well.
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