Why Are Whitetail Bucks So Elusive? - by Steve Cobb

Submitted By Admin Sep .01.2017

I get this question asked numerous times at seminars and trade shows. Here’s my answer – I’m sure some of the whitetail experts may agree or disagree.

The whitetail deer survives by three basic instincts: his nose, his ears and his eyes (in that order). I always tell folks you can beat his eyes by being still and using good camouflage. I think some of the Mossy Oak® patterns blend as well in the woods as any. So remember being still and using good camo can give you an advantage in a hunting situation.

Next up are his ears. This animal can hear things in the woods that most humans don’t hear or don’t relate the sound to danger as the whitetail deer does. I use this to my advantage and find a quiet entrance to and from my stand location. I also use his keen sense of hearing when calling deer. I always use the Slam Talker™, which to me is the ultimate call. The hunter using this call can produce grunts, bleats and even the snort wheeze. All the calls you need in one call.

I tell most hunters to listen to the deer vocalization they hear in the areas they hunt and then try to reproduce those sounds. I hear more subtle, soft grunts in the south and more aggressive grunts up north and out west. Again this is my opinion and what I have experienced while hunting. I have had a lot of success using a three note grunt with the Slam Talker: pause, do three more grunts, then three more. I may wait 15-20 minutes then run that series again. I may throw in a few doe bleats in front of these grunts at times. I have had success using the snort wheeze when a big buck is going in the wrong direction or gets past me. One thing to remember, 90% of the deer reacting to my calls go down wind as soon as they can get there to verify the sound. That being said, some hunters are calling deer in but never see them because the deer winds them and slips out of sight.

That brings us to the next sense - the nose. This is the whitetail’s ultimate defense. I believe just like some hunting dogs smell better than others, some whitetails have better noses and better survival instincts than others. Most mature whitetails never doubt their nose and that’s why they get to be mature. This is where scent control is vital. Scent-A-Way® products have been around for years; the scent control system works and will enable you to be more successful on your next hunting trip.

Scent control starts in this order:

  1. Clean clothes & clothing storage (I use the Scent-Safe™ Deluxe Travel Bag).
  2. Clean body - I take a bath in Scent-A-Way products before every hunt.
  3. Odor Control Spray. I spray myself and hunting equipment before each hunt with Scent-A-Way.

Last but not least, always carry a Windicator and pick your hunting area in accordance with proper wind direction. Good Luck!