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Gland Lure Hunting Strategies

Gland Lure Hunting Strategies

In the last article, I describe the eight glands that whitetail deer use to communicate. This article will give hunters tips and tricks on how to use gland lures to interact with deer. Through trial and error, I have found these tactics work well. Take a few minutes and learn how to use gland lure to benefit your hunt.



For years I have been using interdigital buck and doe gland lure in mock scrapes. Underneath the licking branch, I will place a few drops of buck or doe interdigital gland lure in the fresh scratched dirt. This process introduces a new deer into the area and drives bucks crazy. I have countless trail camera pictures of many bucks tearing up my mock scrapes after adding interdigital gland lure. 

Most recently, I have been using the interdigital gland lure on my boots or a drag. Once I am within 25 yards of my stand, I will put a few drops on the bottom of my boots or drag and walk a full circle around my treestand. Then I will place a few more drops on my boots or drag and walk directly to the stand. I like this strategy because deer easily pick up the interdigital gland lure and walk straight to me. I have often seen deer catch the scent and walk, with their nose to the ground, directly to where I can shoot them. I use this strategy all through the hunting season. I don't recall deer spooking because of this strategy and taking off for cover. 

Most Important

Remember to use this gland lure carefully! Too much interdigital gland lure can cause the deer to think there is danger in the area. Only use a few drops in your mock scrape, on your boots, and on your drag. Interdigital gland lure is an easy way to introduce a new deer to your hunting area.


I have experienced unbelievable results while using metatarsal gland lure during the pre-rut and the rut. I like to use this gland lure around my stand when I am hunting scrapes. Gland lures are naturally oily, so I use scent wicks to hold the lure. Before climbing into my treestand, I will apply the metatarsal gland lure to the scent wicks and hang them in a semi-circle in front of my stand. I like to hang the center wick about 10 yards past the scrape I am hunting. 

Another strategy is finding a dominant buck's bedding area and placing the lure in his bedroom. First, locate a log or tree and start applying the metatarsal gland lure to introduce a new buck. Next, hang a camera to gain more information about the buck. When the time is right, use a climber and hunt him in his bedroom. That buck is going to wonder what deer are coming into his bedroom when he is not there.

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There are a few essential things to remember when using the metatarsal gland lure. First, do not use too much on the scent wicks. You do not want to scare the deer away. Second, take your scent wicks out of the woods with you and place them in a ziplock sandwich bag. You can reuse them the next time you go hunting. Next, use it during the pre-rut and rut around scrapes for maximum effect. Fourth, if you plan on going into a buck's bedroom, make sure you are scent-free. Finally, if you gather good intelligence, you can beat a buck back to his bedroom and have a great opportunity. Be very careful because you will probably only get one shot at him.


There are many terrific strategies for using tarsal glands or tarsal gland lure. The best time to use the tarsal gland is mid-October through January. Depending on when your rut starts to heat up will determine when you use them. If you use the tarsal gland lure to early, you risk scaring deer.

Using tarsal glands from a buck harvested on another property is a great strategy. Be careful when taking the glands from the deer. Be sure to put them in a ziplock bag right away and keep them fresh. Some hunters place the tarsal glands in the refrigerator or freezer. Just keep them clean for when you are ready to take them out hunting with you. I find the easiest way to hang tarsal glands is to use a large safety pin. The safety pin will allow you to hang and position the gland where it will work best. If possible, I like to use tarsal glands from two different bucks. Using two other tarsal glands gives the appearance that there are two new bucks in the area. 

Another way to use the tarsal gland is to use them as a drag. When you are near your treestand, put them on the ground and walk a complete circle around your stand. Once you have done that, hang the gland from a tree. Now you have covered your area in another buck's scent.

A third strategy is using a liquid gland lure on the bottom of your boots. I prefer to use natural gland lure on my boots and scent wicks if I do not have actual tarsal glands. Again, I will put the lure on the bottom of my boots, walk a circle around my stand, and hang scent wicks around my treestand. 

The fourth strategy is for those hunters who like to use a decoy during the rut. Using zip ties, I will place fresh tarsal glands on my decoy if I have them. If I do not have any glands, I will use scent wicks and tarsal gland lure. I will then take half of the rack off my decoy to give the appearance of a younger buck. This strategy has worked well for me when the bucks are cruising. 

Lastly, I use a tarsal gland lure scent in my mock scrapes. I love to give my mock scrapes and extra boost by using the tarsal gland lure, interdigital gland lure, forehead gland lure, and preorbital gland lure. Using a mock scrape to introduce a new buck can fire up your hunting area. Making the scrape as realistic as possible is easy when you know what to use. 

Most Important

When handling tarsal glands, make sure to wear gloves. Because of the lipids and urine, there is a lot of bacteria on the glands. The bacteria can make you sick if you happen to get it on your hands and then into your mouth. When using gland lure liquid, try not to use a large amount as it could scare deer away. When your hunting is over, collect your scent wicks or tarsal glands and put them in a ziplock bag. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use them again. 


At this time, there are no known nasal gland lures on the market. Even if there was a nasal gland lure available, I am not sure that many hunters would use it to attract deer. Do you want to use deer snot as a lure? I don't believe it would be a popular gland lure with all the other gland lures available on the market. 

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Since there is no known nasal gland lure, there is no reason to worry about spooking deer when trying to use it! Don't be surprised when you see that buck put the licking branch in his nose. 


I always use preorbital gland lure when making all of my mock scrapes. I like to use an all-natural preorbital gland lure on my licking branches. This strategy allows me to introduce a new buck to the hunting area. I always hang a trail camera near my mock scrapes so I can get an inventory of the deer using the scrape. 

Sometimes I will put preorbital gland lure on an existing licking branch. Since multiple deer will work licking branches, this tells other bucks a new deer in the area. Preorbital gland lure is easy to use and is my favorite gland lure to use. 

Most Important

The most important thing to remember when using gland lure is to use it sparingly. You only need to use a few drops when using it in a mock scrape or on a licking branch. Deer do not deposit a bunch of preorbital on a licking branch. So remember to use just a few drops to introduce a new deer. 


I love to use fresh forehead gland lure when I start to see new rubs. One of the strategies I use is making rubs of my own between fresh rubs. Using a knife, I will peel the bark back on a tree. Once I have peeled the bark back, I will use forehead gland lure and drip it where I peeled the bark back. This strategy has worked very well for me and seems to drive the other bucks crazy.

The second strategy is using forehead gland lure in my mock scrapes. Along with preorbital on the licking branch, I will also apply some forehead gland lure. Forehead gland lure brings the mock scrape to life, and it doesn't take long for another buck to hit that mock scrape. 

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Remember what was discussed about forehead gland secretion and older bucks. An older buck will produce more of the oily substance. You can use a decent amount of forehead gland scent if you make a rub of your own. You want to make the impression that an older buck has moved into the area. 


I have yet to find a salivary gland lure. I would love to have somebody make some for me, but I do not know if that is possible. If I could get my hands on some salivary gland lure, I would place it on all of my licking branches.

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The most important thing about using salivary gland lure would be to make sure your licking branches are low enough for the deer to bite. Keep a close eye on your licking branches and replace them when they get shorter. Deer will keep coming to the scrape and chewing on them if the branch is there. 


This gland is located in the penal sheath of the buck. It has two primary purposes: lubrication for breeding, and it contains sperm for reproduction. The preputial gland is the newest gland that has been found and studied. Deer biologists believe it is used for communication during breeding, but there is no hunting use at this time.

As you can see, there are many tips, tricks, and strategies a hunter can use while introducing gland lure. I have been using many of the techniques to help me get close to big bucks. My success rate on harvesting mature deer has increased. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box.

By Brian Kightlinger