When it comes to deer attractants there are as many recipes as there are opinions on the right caliber of rifle to hunt with, the location of a tree stand or just about any other aspect of deer hunting you can imagine.
One ingredient gets a lot of attention when making your own deer attractant. Jello is a popular additive in many homemade deer attractant recipes.
Jello, Jiggly, Pudding or Dry?
Jello is a popular additive with a lot of applications in deer attractant recipes with good reason. Jello has a unique scent in dry form. Mix it with sugar and deer seek the sweetness. Jello in pudding form has similar attributes, but it’s not as globally popular as the standard rubbery desert style Jello mix.
Many hunters mix various ingredients to create their own unique deer attractant. Some use fruit juice, others leave the mix dry and still others mix salt, grain, corn, or chunks of apples into their mix.
Whatever the mix, the desired result is a combination of standard household ingredients that don’t cost much to mix, but that bring deer to a particular area you have hunting rights on.
The Dry Mix
A popular method of using deer attractant, especially in areas where rains or wet snow is frequent is to mix everything dry, and transport it to your hunting area.
In a mixing bowl, add Jello. Many advocates claim strawberry and grape work the best, but some use orange flavored mixes as well. Add a couple of pounds of sugar to the mix, a pound or two of salt and stir it to completely integrate the ingredients.
This is often enough mix for many hunters. Pour the mix in a paper bag, and take it to the field.
You can leave the paper bag in an open area, tied in place with cotton string, or you can find a location to pour the contents out.
Popular areas to pour the contents are hollow logs, exposed cutouts of trees, or under large overhanging rocks.
The weather is going to mix the salt, sugar and Jello eventually if deer don’t move in on the mix immediately. The mix in the bag will absorb water as the bag is saturated by the rain.
Deer are inquisitive creatures with great senses of smell. They’ll smell the sweetness of the Jello fragrance and the sugar.
It’s common to find “Jello Bomb” (these paper bag treats) destroyed into little strips of paper. Trail cameras have often recorded large groups of deer taking turns ripping the bag and throwing it in the air or trying to pull it away from each other.
The natural placement of the mix without a bag in a log, notch in a tree or under an overhanging rock lets the mix get wet and clumpy more than the bag method. It attracts deer in a more stationary way, and is often a preferred method for bow hunters.
Jello With Fruit, Grain or Carrots
Whoever thought that molded Jello mix with strawberries or grated carrots inside the Jello that your grandma or aunt brought to family dinners would work in attracting deer?
It’s not exactly the same thing since you don’t want to actually boil hot water and get the Jello to setup up in its gelatinous form, but the principle is similar.
Deer are attracted to fruit, that’s why many hunters bait with apples. Combine Jello, sugar, a little salt and some fruit and the result is often irresistible to deer.
Mix the dry ingredients just as you would in making a bagged mix, but add apples, strawberries or other fruit after you’ve completely worked the Jello, sugar, and salt together. The natural smell of the fruit, with the sweetness of the sugar and the artificial aroma of the Jello will get the deer sniffing the wind to find this concoction. The salt is just an added benefit since deer frequent naturally occurring salt licks, or sneak in at night for a few licks of cattle salt blocks.
Jello and the Grain Train
Grain is naturally attractive to deer. How many times have you spotted deer grazing along, or inside a cornfield, a wheat field or munching on nearly ripened barley or oats? Grain is a high energy food that deer love. Grain fields provide excellent cover for deer, especially tall corn.
Mixing oats, barley, sorghum, millet or corn with Jello, sugar and salt is another method of bringing in big bucks and their accompanying entourage.
The benefit to grain over fruit when mixed with Jello, sugar and salt is that the mix has longer durability in the field. If you’re in an area with just a few deer, this mix can stay viable in a drier climate for a very long time.
Eventually, a big buck will wander in, or more likely, it will be forced in by hunting pressure on nearby plots. When they discover the Jello mix, they’re likely to stay around, especially if it’s in what they think is a protected area, ideally within range of your tree stand.
Spread the Wealth
A final method used by some hunters with a wider available area is to spread the mix around in smaller piles. This can be done with a larger central pile or bag of mix in bow or rifle range from your tree stand, or just in smaller groupings with the intent of bringing in larger numbers of deer.
Sometimes mixing the different techniques can produce great attraction. Set a bag with Jello, sugar, and salt in one area, drop a few pounds of the mix in logs, under rocks or trees nearby, and even add piles of apples, a few crystals of rock salt, or even a standard cattle mineral block.
This combination is more a shotgun approach with the idea that something is bound to get the attention of the herd, and maybe in the process that trophy buck you hope to bring in.