The author focuses on nutrition and attraction to grow and harvest bucks like this 170 bruiser.
By Matt Harper Photos by the Author
hildhood experiences often cause behaviors that stick with us for the rest of our lives. For example, I have this weird quirk that involves eating items on my plate in a systematic fashion, finishing each portion before I move to the next. What influenced this dietary methodology is the fact that I was forced to try everything that was offered and I had to clean my plate completely. I know what you’re thinking; torturous, medieval even, but no matter how heinous the food (we are talking things like dandelion greens and cooked parsnips) I was forced to eat what was put in front of me. 48
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3
No chicken nuggets or instant mac and cheese back up, either. These things weren’t even in the vocabulary at that time. So, I developed a plan where I would start with the item I disliked the most and moved in progression around my plate leaving what I liked the best until last. That way I used hunger as an aid to accomplish this ghoulish task. Years later I would learn that, while still torturous, the force feeds of certain foods was done to make sure I actually ate something nutritious instead of just what was tasty to a youngster. Who knew that spinach was more nutritious than chocolate chip cookies? Nearly every package of food plot seed, deer mineral or attractants will say that inside that package you will find a product that deer will be drawn to uncontrollably. Of course, what else would you expect it to say? If it said something like, “This product is packed with nutrients, deer don’t like it much, but it’s really nutritious” I doubt too many bags would leave the store. Speaking of nutrition, nearly all deer products will also promote some kind of nutritional benefit. So, you may wonder if you are buying a nutrition product or an attractant — or buying both.
These are very good questions and ones we will examine in order to help you determine nutrition vs. attraction. The first thing to determine is the definition of nutrition and attraction. A nutritional product is one whose primary function and purpose is to supply specific nutrients to deer in order to improve the quality of the herd. The primary role of an attractant is to draw deer to a specific spot or a specific area by using flavors and aromas that deer prefer over other flavors and aromas. These definitions seem somewhat simplistic, but regardless it is important to continually keep them in mind when analyzing products. ATTRACTANTS Because of the definition we are using, the attractant category can contain nearly an infinite number of products. For simplicity’s sake, however, we can further divide the category into feeding and non-feeding type attractants. Nonfeeding attractants are primarily pheromonebased scents that either contain or mimic urine and/or glandular secretions of estrous does or rutting bucks. Scents that contain or mimic gen-
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Volume 21 Issue 3