During pre-rut and especially during the rut, I often try deer attractants to increase my chances, and with so many out there, from the mass-produced to the mom-and-pop outfits, I’m left with questions and doubts. Cognizant and paranoid about scent, let alone potentially introducing some strange new deer funk, I wonder: Where is this stuff collected? If it is from a Kansas doe, and I’m hunting in Texas? Does that matter to a buck? Do bucks have a “type”? I mean there are certainly differences between New York girls and Southern belles. So, I set out to find answers. Do mass produced brands like Tinks work? Or is it small brands like Signal 11 Lures that really give you the edge?
I began phoning around. When it comes to tagging big bucks, there is one man I know who has the corner on the mystical flight of the arrow market, and his name is Ted Nugent. Ted told me about a guy named Steve Ciasullo, who produces his endorsed line of lures along with his own line, Signal 11 Lures.
Talking with Signal 11 Lures
Steve has been in the business for 15 years, and as a small company he runs with his son, produces some of the most sought-after lures on the market, due in part to the care and time he takes making each bottle of attractant—that and his 40-plus years as a hunter. “Signal 11 Lures maximize my backstrap celebration. It’s killer stuff,” Uncle Ted told me. And after a few phone conversations with Steve I began to understand why.
Clearing up some of the questions I had, he patiently explained away my doubts but also was quick to point out why his product is different than the mass-produced types. Nothing negative, just the nature of how these mega-operations must function. There are just simple realities that persist in big business situations; one of which is shelf life.
“First and foremost,” Steve explains, “I don’t use any preservatives. All my stuff is fresh. Nothing against the bigger companies, but when you’re producing large-batch products and shipping them across the country, there is an inherent need to have the attractants last on shelf all season. And sometimes, when bottles don’t sell, they are put back out the next season. The problem with that is the preservatives that are used distort the smell of the deer urine and may spook a deer.”
Curiosity got to me, and I just had to ask, “So tell me, does a northern deer have a different scent than a southern deer, and does that really matter in terms of where the scent is being used?”
“Not really,” he replied. “In my blends, I add extra additives that naturally attract deer, so that really should not be a concern at all.”
What’s the difference?
Chatting more with Steve, he also helped me understand all the differences in the product out there. With choices like doe urine, doe estrus, buck urine, and curiosity attractants—which do I choose, and when do I use it? Does using estrus too early spook deer? Why would I want to use buck urine?
“I will only use estrus in late pre-rut and during rut,” Steve explains. “Otherwise, I use doe urine. It gives the deer a sense of comfort that other deer are in the area, so it must be safe. The same is true for buck urine and may tempt big bucks to come in to check out who else is pursuing the does.”
Steve’s secret is in the additional additives. Though he would not disclose these closely guarded ingredients, he let on that they may be biologicals related to the foods that deer love, giving them additional reasons to come check out your spot.
Uncle Ted’s Take
Talking to the Nuge again, he left me with one more reason to try out his line made by Signal 11 Lures and/or the original Signal 11 brand. “Steve is a 9/11 first responder and faithfully served the Newark, New Jersey, Fire Department until his retirement. I always want to support the heroes of our military, law enforcement, and first responders. Here is a good opportunity to do that.”
So, with that said, I placed my order, and on this 20th anniversary of 9/11, I suggest you do the same.
For more, visit signal11lures.com.