While it might not be the most effective attractant, deer are attracted to vanilla extract.
How effective vanilla extract is at attracting deer depends on how it is used, and who you ask.
In this post, I am going to explain why deer are attracted to vanilla extract as well as give you a recipe to try on your next hunt.
Why does vanilla extract attract deer?
Deer have an excellent sense of smell. It is key to their survival instincts as it helps them sense dangerous threats, reproduce, and find food sources.
It is believed that the reason deer are attracted to vanilla is because it contains compounds that are similar to those found in certain plants they eat.
When they smell the sweet aroma of vanilla extract, they instinctively start to wander in search of forage.
So, does vanilla extract work?
But not so fast, it is worth mentioning that there is no guarantee the deer in your area will be attracted to vanilla.
Its effectiveness may depend on the time of day, time of year, and the natural food sources in the area.
How to use vanilla extract to attract deer
There are a few simple ways you can use vanilla extract to attract deer. Homemade recipes can be found all over the internet but they all are made from the same few ingredients.
Vanilla deer attractant recipe
Making your own vanilla deer attractant spray is really easy. Just get yourself a spray bottle and mix the following two ingredients:
- 1 Tbls. Vanilla Extract
- 32 oz. Distilled Water
All you have to do is put the water in your bottle and mix with vanilla extract.
Once you have the mixture made, start by spraying some on your boots and a few spots near where you are hunting.
You should have a good idea within a few hunts if you are seeing more or less deer than usual.
Should I use pure vanilla or imitation vanilla?
Whether you should use imitation vanilla or pure vanilla extract seems to be a mixed debate. Hunters have success with both of them so I would say it doesn’t matter too much.
They are both cheap so I would recommend going with whatever is readily available and seeing how it works. You can always try other brands if it isn’t working as well as you hoped.
Make a Drag Rag
There are two other ways you can try using vanilla extract for deer.
The first involves soaking a rag with the extract or you can give the rag a good coat using the mixture above.
Drag this rag behind you when you head out to your blind. Once you get there, hang the rag up in a tree or bush nearby.
Vanilla Extract Dripper
Another method some deer hunters use is similar to a deer licking stick. Take the extract bottle and poke a small hole in it. Hang the bottle upside down near your blind.
The small hole will allow the extract to slowly drip out. Depending on the size of the bottle, it will usually last a couple of weeks.
What are good alternative deer attractants besides vanilla extract
If you want to try a deer attractant but don’t want to make your own using the recipe above I recommend you try C’mere Deer.
- Country Of Origin : United States
- Oz liquid Deer attractant/cover
- Scent spray bottle
Many hunters swear by this attractant. It is inexpensive and easy to use, just give the area around your blind a few sprays and you’re set.
Interesting enough, it has a bit of a vanilla scent to it so I would guess vanilla is one of the ingredients.
Another option is to try a scent blocker or cover scent. We have an entire article on the best cover scents for deer hunting that is full of recommendations.
Our favorite option is this Scent Killer spray. They also make dryer sheets that you can just throw in your laundry when you dry your hunting clothes.
- Long term effectiveness
- Use complete Scent Killer System for maximum results
- Engineered to fight human odor while adding a subtle scent of the woods and fields during fall
Since deer can smell human scent up to ½ mile away, it is best to do everything you can to tip the odds in your favor.
Play the Wind
Most hunters are aware of how good deer sense of smell is. But they still don’t pay as much attention to the wind direction as they should.
Even using vanilla extract and a good cover scent isn’t going to be enough to block human scent.
Always consider which direction the wind is blowing and make sure you are never upwind of the area you are hunting.
Having a good wind checker handy can make it much easier to keep track of which direction the wind is blowing.
Will vanilla scare deer?
It is unlikely that using vanilla will scare deer away. There is the possibility that the deer in your area just might not be attracted to vanilla due to the time of year or their typical food sources.
The bottom Line
While it is true that vanilla extract appears to attract deer, I wouldn’t rush out and soak all of your clothing in it.
It is best to start out by spraying some of the mixture detailed above on your boots and testing it by seeing if you come across more deer.
You can also try the “drag” rag mentioned above. Drag this rag behind you as you head to your hunting blind and hang it up in a tree or bush nearby.
Hopefully one of these two methods helps you start seeing more deer. If you would like to try a deer attractant but don’t want to make your own, we recommend you checkout our article best cover scents for deer hunting.