Those of you who have followed my four decade career know full well my negative feelings about scent products. Our studies clearly have shown there is no way to put deer urine in a bottle and have the chemicals secreted or produced by bacteria last for more than a few minutes in does and hours in bucks. That is why when approached to help develop a synthetic attractant, I was more than reluctant to participate. Yet, as the project progressed and we began to test deer reactions to the various test chemicals, I became more and more intrigued by the results. There were many obstacles to successfully producing a deer attractant that would: 1) actually attract deer; and 2) last a significant length of time to be useful to a hunter. As a young scientist, I conducted pioneer research on animal pheromones (chemicals produced by individuals to affect another’s behavior), and learned quickly that the concentration of chemical (often in nanograms) was critical. At one concentration, a chemical may elicit the desired behavior; yet, at another the exact opposite behavior! So, we tested many concentrations before arriving at one that brought about the deer behavior we wanted.
Now, what is the deer behavior we wanted? For some time, I have researched and written about the most important behavioral component to whitetail breeding—the staging area. A staging area is a place, usually adjacent to doe feeding areas, where bucks come to work signposts and wait for does to come through the area. Signposts are large rubs on which bucks deposit scent deposited around the forehead and base of their antlers, which is a combination of forehead gland and tarsal gland chemicals. The staging area is the “social media” for whitetails. It serves as a “bulletin board” for communication between the sexes and between bucks. Everything about bucks and does getting together is tied to the staging area. Deer feel compelled to bed up in and around the staging area in late afternoon through the nighttime hours. For years our trail camera videos clearly showed bucks and does communicating with each other via scent deposition. So, you can see why I was interested in the potential for using a synthetic mimic of these chemicals to attract and hold deer in a convenient place.
Our video studies have shown the chemicals not only attract bucks and does, but they tend to remain calmly in the area, even bedding down around it. We even have seen a response outside the breeding season, and that is interesting.
I cannot believe what I am about to say! After years of research and two years of testing, I am ready to recommend The Stage as a legitimate and workable synthetic attractant for white-tailed deer. I only made this decision after it passed the most important test; will it last for at least a year in the bottle? An independent laboratory just sent me the results that they can guarantee its life expectancy for at least a year!
Now, I know what you are thinking. This is just another “scam” product, with a celebrity endorsement. Well, I do not blame you. But, I am not a celebrity (at least I do not consider myself one), and I AM a scientist whose name an integrity mean a great deal. So, try it and let me know what you observe. We will keep on testing and evaluating, and if my opinion changes, you will be the second to know. Good Hunting!