Early-Season Herd Structure and Selecting the Right Scents

Posted by Jason Caldwell on August 05, 2014. 0 Comments

The key to getting deer scent to work for you lies in knowing the social structure of the herd. During the time of early season in the "Whitetail World" (typically late August into September), it's all about being social with other deer. Many feel that they shouldn’t use scent until just before the rut. In actuality, early season can be the easiest time to draw a response using scent and it has been proven very effective and successful; you just need to know which smells they favor and how to dispense them in your favor. Full Draw on the deer you have watched all summer or the first doe of the year to fill that freezer.

During late summer and early fall, whitetail are very social animals. However, they are primarily social only within their own gender groups. You may see them feeding side by side in a field, but for the most part, the bucks are sociable to other bucks in their bachelor groups, and the doe/fawn family groups are social only with other doe/fawn family groups. Testosterone will change things very fast, but for a short time during early season, this is the case.

We recommend the following two products during this time: 

Opening Day Doe

Intruder Buck


Considering this social time, the best strategy is to use buck smells to attract bucks and doe smells to attract does or fawns. For this strategy, you must only use scents that actually come from deer, like J&S Scents. Curiosity smells or food lured will not work as well and can cause deer to become more cautious. 

When it comes to more mature bucks, they can become very isolated animals and may or may not be social with the other bucks. They really don’t need this communal contact like younger bucks do.

In northern regions, during the end of August into the beginning of September, bucks start to produce dramatically increased amounts of testosterone and enter their breeding stage. Once they begin to shed there velvet and produce rubs and scrapes, is the ideal time to start using Intruder Buck. This happens a bit later the further you travel south, and will be spread out over a longer period time.

Contrary to what some may say, it’s the does that dictate when breeding will actually take place. Bucks will typically remain social with the other bucks, establishing dominance and pecking order in the breeding pool, until the does exhibit the first signs of coming into estrus. 


Knowing the timing and changes within the Whitetail herd makes it possible to chose the most effective scent for a specific phase of the season. Be informed, and you will see results. 


Good Luck and Hunt Safe!!!

J & S Scents Staff



















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