Driving Bucks Wild: Your In-Depth Guide to Doe Estrus

Christian | |

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During the rut, nothing gets a mature buck’s attention like doe estrus scents, doe-in-heat, or whatever you prefer to call the smell of urine from a doe ready to mate. After all, who wouldn’t come running for some deer pee?

However, while many hunters consider doe estrus the holy grail of deer scents, there is a right way to use it if you want to be successful. Here you can find the answers to all the questions you didn’t even know you have about effectively using doe estrus scent in the rut.

When to Start Using Doe Estrus

My suggestion is to use doe estrus heavily during the first week of November. Hear me out.

There’s some debate in the hunting community over the best or most effective time to use doe estrus scent. The basic assumption out there is that you should use it at the peak of the rut. That makes sense, right? It’s when the deer are the most actively mating, so that’s the perfect time for a mating scent.

Not exactly. Lately, hunters have started using doe estrus earlier, myself included. The rationale here is that if you use the doe estrus at the peak of the rut, you’re competing with a bunch of real does. However, closer to the beginning of the rut, you’re one of the first scents out there when the mature bucks are aggressively seeking out the first does to go into heat.

That isn’t to say doe estrus won’t work during the peak of the rut or even late in the rut, but I strongly recommend using it at the beginning. That depends where you live, but it’s generally going to be the first week of November, potentially even the last week of October. 

How to Use Doe Estrus

The easiest way to use doe estrus urine is with a scent drag. You simply soak the drag in the scent and then drag it on the ground as you walk to your tree stand or blind.

However, there are a number of other ways, and you should feel free to get creative and play around with it till you find what works. For instance, some hunters forgo the drag altogether and just apply it to their boots or a “drag rag.” There are stationary options too like hanging scent wicks or even soaked rags or old socks… as long as you’ve washed them really well.

You should use enough doe estrus to soak the drag, rag or wick, but you don’t want it dripping. Too much can be suspicious and spook the bucks.

Can you combine scents?

You certainly can. You just need to think like a mature buck. Use scent combinations that will make sense. 

For example, one of the best combos is doe estrus with buck urine to create the illusion of an intrusive buck chasing after one of your quarry’s does. Get him jealous, and he’ll come running.

On the other hand, there’s no reason to mix doe estrus with a calming herd scent. After all, you’re not looking to calm that buck down. You want him riled up.

Where to Apply Doe Estrus

You should apply doe estrus upwind from where you expect the mature bucks to travel. This probably means it’s also downwind from you, but don’t worry about that. Doe estrus wicks are actually a good way to create a cover scent.

If you’re using a scent drag, consider taking a different route to your tree stand than you take out. Basically, you want to create a scent trail that will bring the buck to the effective locations where you want it, but you don’t want to leave any of your human scent there.

You can get creative with location, too. For example, you can also try appying doe estrus in mock scrapes or in a place where you find real scrapes since you know matures bucks frequent that area.

Other Doe Estrus FAQ

Can you use doe estrus after the rut?

Well, you can, but it’s not likely to be very effective. Just as does go into heat, the bucks have their own hormonal cycle, and after the rut, their testosterone drops considerably. They no longer care about marking out territory and competing for does, so they won’t be lured by the scent of doe estrus.

The exception here is the “second rut.” Supposedly, some of the younger does go into heat a little bit later, towards the middle of December. The mature bucks go after these late bloomers, so doe estrus could still work. Some hunters claim the whole idea of the second rut is a myth, but it’s always worth a shot.

How long does doe estrus scent last?

Not very long. Deer urine breaks down chemically pretty quickly. I would recommend reapplying the doe estrus each time you hunt.

Will doe estrus attract does?

On the contrary, doe estrus will scare off does. Well, “scare” might not be the right word. It will annoy them off. 

Does know that estrus means bucks, and while they might be receptive to the dominant mature buck in the area, they get pretty irritated by the constant harassment of young bucks trying to mate. As a result, most does don’t want to be around their sisters who are in heat and attracting bucks, so they’ll stay away from the scent of doe estrus.

Our Doe Estrus Recommendation – Code Blue OA1001

Believe it or not, Code Blue’s doe estrus scent is harvested from one individual deer on their farm. The bottle even has a little serial number corresponding to the doe it came from. I guess you could become her repeat customer if you wanted. Coming from a single doe makes it a lot more realistic and therefore a lot more effective.

Additionally, we like the gel form of the scent itself. This makes it good for drags and especially scent wicks, whether professional ones or just some rag you found around the house. You can apply it exactly where you want it to start driving all the bucks wild.


I'm an avid hunter, archer and outdoorsman. I was born and raised in the Ozarks, my aunt taught me to hunt and I've been shooting bows since I was a kid.

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