Preplanning – the key to success

July 2nd, 2012


They say “April Showers Bring May Flowers”, and how coincidental it is that I am writing you my first article on what we do today can effect our outcome tomorrow. I would like to think that much of my success in hunting, trapping or fishing could directly be contributed to how well I’ve planned before hand. Fact is many successful business people will tell you that any good business begins with a plan …hunting is no different.

In the proceeding months I’ll do my best to explain ways that all you sportsmen and women can put the odds in your favor – some like to call it stacking the deck. By careful planning and doing things well in advance of the season we can increase our chances of harvesting our intended quarry, and maximize our time a field.

In the coming months of Kishel’s Pro tips you’ll often here me talk about trapping & hunting interchangeably, this is meant to help you the sportsmen with your success a field. The truth of the matter is that many of the systems and techniques I’ve used trapping I also use hunting, and they work!

While April is often a month used by many of us for scouting out Mr. Long beard, it’s also a month we should begin to think of preparing for next deer season. Say What! Yea…Yea… Deer season. Often times as I am scouting birds I am also looking for sheds, travel ways, and areas to start placing out my mock scrapes. I know some of you will find this concept of “early mock scrapes”, hard to believe, but before you jump to conclusions let me explain.

Trapping animals of all sorts has always been a real fascination of mine. Like anything you do in life long enough, you begin to streamline or find ways to “Do it Better”. There was a time in my life that I relied on the money I received from my fur check. Realizing fast that I preferred steak to beans, meant that I would have to catch a lot of fur and beat my competitors to the punch! The one thing I learned quickly was that in order for me to do it, I had to get the most sets in the ground in the least amount of time in the best locations. Better yet, if I could just get animals coming to my sets before the season – and before I could legally set the traps. PRE-BAITING! That was it! Once I found the exact location for my trap sight I would begin to pre bait, thus Attracting Animals to my sets first. Once the season opened it was just a matter of setting the traps in place. Mock Scrapes have and will always play an important role in the Whitetail Deer’s communication process. Having spent the better part of thirty years developing scents and studying Whitetails behaviors, I can assure you that the following techniques work, for “Communicating with the Whitetail”. Best yet all mock scrapes can be made long before the hunting season begins. Deer don’t stop communicating just because its not hunting season. They are very social, very territorial, and very curious. With proper scent usage, and proper scrape placements, you can have Big Bucks coming to your hunting site long before the season begins. Get the picture! PRE-BAITING!! (Be sure and check with your local game laws.)

Each of the following steps is crucial to effectively communicating with the Whitetail Buck and Does. Remember before starting to take care of your human odor. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and rubber foot wears. Leaving as little of your human scent at the scrape location is a must!

STEP 1 – LOCATION – Finding areas to place your mock scrapes is not as difficult as you might think. Years past, has taught me to place them where you saw Bucks make them from last season. Bucks are creatures of habit and will often make scrapes in the same spots year after year. Remember if you’re going to hunt over it, to strategically place the scrape in a way that your tree stands or ground blind can be near by. Look for areas that create small funnels or neck down points, edges near wood lines, old logging roads, etc. One of the best is near bedding areas, but be very careful as to not spook deer going into it or leaving much human odor behind. Bucks will often visit your mock scrape near bedding areas later in the morning and earlier in the evening.

STEP 2 – SITE PREPARATION – Once you have carefully determined your scrape location, its time to create your masterpiece. You must have an overhanging limb, with a preferred height of 4-5 feet off the ground. This limb should be hanging slightly downward over your scrape, and is a necessary part of the entire picture. Directly under the limb scrape the ground free from debris, I prefer to use a sturdy stick to do it. Scrape it away from the tree in one direction, making it about 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Remember to make your scrapes larger as the rut begins to approach. Your scrape does not need to look perfect however it should have “Eye Appeal”

STEP 3 – SCENTS APPLICATION – Now the moment of truth, the finishing touches! On the limb above your scrape mist 1 to 2 pumps of a quality pre-orbital gland scent, in the scrape below the limb mist 4 to 6 pumps of a quality tarsal gland scent followed by 1 to 2 pumps of a quality interdigital gland scent. Be sure to mist the odors over the entire scrape area, it will add realism. ( DO NOT ADD ANY URINE TO THIS SCRAPE AS OF YET! )

STEP 4 – FOLLOW UP – If you done it right and choose the proper location, results should appear in a couple of days, by the way of tracks within the scrape itself. Once you have a response, you can keep your scrape active by reapplying the gland scents every 7 to 10 days, more often after heavy rains. If you are going to hunt over a particular mock scrape, add a quality Buck Urine (1-2ozs) the day before and WATCH OUT!

Good luck out there turkey hunting and remember to be safe.

Kevin Kishel

Use Quality Trapping Lures and Scents!

June 11th, 2012

As a young man back in the day….I relied heavily on the fur check I received for animals I caught trapping. Trapping in those days was very competitive, so using the right trapping lure was a must. I needed to catch the most animals in the least amount of time if I wanted to make any money. Yes, it took “know how” and quality trapping supplies, but a lot of other trappers possessed those qualities, also.

Using the right attractor was simply necessary. Truth is, if I had to rely on just animal urine as an attractor to make my Fox and Coyote catches around the country, I would have been out of the trapping game long ago. Instead I needed to formulate lures which would convince the animals to work my trap sites first. I had to not only convince them, but also entice them to the point they actually started digging, licking or biting for its odor. The idea was that, the longer the animal (Fox, coyote, coon, etc ) stayed at the trap site the better chance I had to catch them.

I carried this theory of lure making into my big game attractors like Elk lures, Deer Scents etc. Most urines I use for hunting is minimal at best. I prefer to use urines in real or mock scrapes and also by misting them directly from my tree stand. If I find an Elk wallow, I love to pour urine right into it, then wait. It’s important to note that urine collected from “grazing” animals (Deer, Elk, Cow, etc.) is much different from that of Fox, Coyote, etc. Urine from grazing animals lacks “body” that urine from meat eating animals, such as Fox and Coyote contain. This body is usually associated to the extent of protein or amino acid in the urine itself. Pure (clean) unadulterated animal urine, though mostly water, has a significant amount of amino and solids.

Diet, age and control of impurities determine the quality of any urine. It seems today that most of the information on Doe Urines or Deer Scents is written by those seeking a fast buck or self recognition , so be careful when purchasing your animal urines, and buy direct from a respected scent MFG.. KISHEL’S URINES ARE HIGH IN QUALITY, CLEAN OF IMPURITIES, BOTTLED FRESH AND FULL STRENGTH! You will not find any better quality urines on the market than what we sell here at Kishel’s Quality Animal Scents and Lures Inc. Be sure to “like” us on facebook and get up to date information on all our products.

Kevin Kishel

Spring Cleaning

May 16th, 2012

Kevin Kishel Turkey huntingWell hopefully by now we all have at least one long beard under our belt …. right?? Maybe I should reword that…”maybe by now all of us have at least one short beard under our belt”.

May is a great time to be in the woods sharing in all things that make up spring. I know its one of my favorite times of the year. There is just something real special about being part of the natural surroundings when it begins to come alive in the early mornings.

Besides being a great time for turkey hunting it’s also a time of the year to get all my hunting clothes prepared. Before you know it, deer season will be upon us. My wife likes it too, because I begin to work through those piles of camo lying all over the basement floor from last fall. To some this may sound elementary, but its great to get the little things out of the way long before a season opens.

SORT: First thing I do is sort through all my camo. Separating camo patterns, heavy weight clothing from light weight clothing, hats, gloves, vests, socks, shirts etc .etc .etc. It seems over the years I’ve accumulated a wealth of hunting apparel, I suppose you could call me a coinsure of hunting clothes!

WASH: After sorting through the mounds of clothes, its time to begin washing out all the grime and debris. Before doing so, make sure to check out all the pockets – there is no telling what may had been left in there from last season. I recently found a nicely washed $100 I didn’t know about. Next turn all your camo inside out, this will aide in preserving the pattern itself. After many washings camo tends to fade and by turning it inside out it will help in slowing down this process. Many of the camo patterns on the market today are meant to catch the consumers eye, be very careful to choose a pattern that will match the surrounding you’ll be hunting in. The wide-open pattern of sticks and leaves blends into so many surroundings, making it an easy choice for so many hunting situations. Be sure to wash your clothes in a quality clothes wash that doesn’t contain any brighteners, better yet make sure the soap you use contains a UV killer to help offset the dyes and brighteners already in Hunting and Trapping clothingthe clothing.

AIR DRY: Once you’ve washed all your clothing be sure to dry them by hanging outside. If I know nice weather is coming I’ll’ let my clothes air dry for days or until my wife gets tired of see them hanging on her clothes line. Again be sure to have them still turned inside out. We wouldn’t’ want the sun bleaching them.

STORAGE: Time to stow it away! After everything is dried and aired, I turn everything right side out. Carefully fold everything and place into airtight containers, Rubbermaid works best for me. Make sure to label each according to the contents, example1) socks, hats, gloves, facemasks, long underwear. Example 2) lightweight skyline cBin full of hunting clothingamo, shirts, pants. Before the lid is shut I’ll mist into the container a liberal dose of a quality cover scent that smells like the woods. Some people like to use natural leaves, pine etc. and that’s fine, however a good earth smelling odor will do the same and its easier to work with.

So now when the season opens you won’t be scrabbling around to find your favorite camo and clothes for hunting. Better yet your time and energy can be spent a field scouting and setting up tree stands. The little bit of effort you put out today, will take away your headaches tomorrow. Your 1 step closer to preparedness!

See you next month, be safe and good luck on the long beard!


Understanding Scents & Lures 101

May 15th, 2012

I decided that a review of the basics on scents & lures seems appropriate for this pro tip article. Over the past decade I have conducted many shows and seminars on the understanding of scents and lures. The fact is I see a real hunger among all sportsmen for shedding light on this complex subject matter. Most hunters are often confused by the vast array and wild promises that hunting products of this type seem to offer. Mass marketing and fancy advertising has done little in way of educating the hunters on their use. Could it be that these same companies don’t understand the basics themselves?

One of the keys to your success in using these products is to understand the basics, so that you can make a sensible choice. The first key to painting the picture is understanding the difference between a scent and a lure. What are they? How do they work? How do you use them? Etc…You see, scents and lures are nothing more than odors you use to convey a message with.

Anything that will attract the attention of an animal, and then draw it to the source of the attraction can be classified as a lure. A sound of a dying rabbit will lure coyote, fox, and bobcat to the source of the sound. A small round hole in the bank near water’s edge would attract mink. A bundle of fur moving in the breeze would provide attraction to bobcat. Or last but not least, a grunt from your grunt call may be all that it takes to attract that buck within range.All these lures, per say, appeal to the animal’s senses. The above examples appealed to the animal’s senses of sight and hearing.

Webster’s dictionary describes a lure as; to entice, tempt with the promise of pleasure or gain.

Webster describes a scent as the smell remaining after an animal has passed (urine).

It’s my opinion that a “lure”, which appeals to an animal’s sense of smell, is the most valuable. No matter what animal, they all use their nose to receive airborne messages. So it is safe to say that any odor or combination of odors convey a clear and usually reliable message to the animal. Odors emitted from any substance are made up of small minute gaseous particles, which are lighter than air. These particles have a tendency to rise in the air and carried off by air currents.

As odor Deer checking out kishels scents lure caught on tree camleaves it source it slowly becomes more diluted with the air itself. The greater the amount of odor released from the source, the greater concentration of odor will be at a prescribed distance. When odor is picked up by an animal it must pass through the animals nose and flow over the nerves inside. Depending on how good your lure or scent is, often determines whether or not that animal will follow its odor. The closer the animal gets to the odor source, the more stimulation he receives due to the increase concentration of odorous particles. Wow…..!

A scent consists of nothing more or less than a single odor. Any product, such as feces or urine constitutes itself as a scent. Think of this; if you and a friend sat down to have a steak dinner, the first steak was thrown into a pan and cooked till done. The second steak was thrown raw into a pan with garlic, butter, onions, mushrooms, salt and pepper, etc. and cooked till done. Which is more appealing? The Scent of the first steak or the Lure of the second?

Now that you understand that you need to know that lures can be categorized into three groups;

GLAND LURES – Most animals communicate through the use of glandular secretions. This type of lure is usually a blend of those substances. It’s made to appeal to the competitive, sexual and territorial instincts that most animals have. Most high quality gland lures, no matter what the animal, take exceptional skill, knowledge, and much experience to formulate.

FOOD LURES – Their primary attraction to an animal is food. Most food lures contain various plants, musk’s, and extracts, etc. animals might find attractive. Without a doubt this type of lure plays more of a role of importance among trappers than that of hunters- particularly deer hunters. Don’t confuse this with bait and check your state game laws before hunting with such an attractant. Some of the most common food odors among deer hunters are; apple, cherry, pear, sweet corn, etc.

CURIOSITY– ‘Curiosity Killed The Cat’. Most all animals are curious by nature, especially the Whitetail deer. It’s why this lure maker puts such great emphasis on the use of this type of attractant. Most often this type of lure contains smells foreign to the animal’s habitat. An example of one such odor might be vanilla. Many animals like its sweet odor yet seldom does an animal come on contact with it along their daily travels. You must remember that a curiosity attraction is a relatively “short lived” attraction. Once he has satisfied his curiosity – he loses almost total interest. If you’re a deer hunter, you had best be in position when ‘Mister Hat Rack’ decides to respond!

Doe Passion deer attractant

Doe Passion and Buck-in Rut Urine: A winning combination! Click to shop.

I have to tell you that in all my research, food lures where the least consistent in attracting deer. The best results they showed where during the pre rut at midmorning or early evening periods.

When choosing a scent or lure, remember that you are telling a story. The more convincing you are of that story often will result in “luring in” that animal. For instance…. When trapping coyotes I might put in a set consisting of nothing more than a chunk of bait in a hole with a liberal dose of coyote urine. The urine acts as a suspicion remover and that another coyote has moved into the area and buried some food. The bait odor, however, will hold the attention of the coyote until caught.

When deer hunting, I often strategically place out our Doe Passion deer lure (in heat gland lure) around my tree stand. Once in the stand I will periodically mist our fresh Buck in Rut Urine into the air. This combination more often than not has proven itself deadly. The best time to use this combination is during the rut and near existing dominant scrapes.

What message “story” do you think your sending the buck that made those existing scrapes? Get the picture!


July 6th, 2011

Having just finishing up two grueling months putting together a turkey hunting video, I sort of look forward to the next two months doing more preparation work for the coming seasons. While much of JULY for me is spent preparing my animal scents and lures- (tincturing, bottling, distilling, compounding, formulating, labeling, etc.) for market, it’s also a time set aside for securing hunting and trapping permission.

While hunting turkeys I’m also looking over terrain for possible deer hunting or trapping opportunities. After chasing a big old late season long beard this past May, he led me to a piece of property I never knew existed. You guys know the bird I am talking about; the one that gobbles at you and keeps walking away! Well, one day out of shear frustration I followed Mr. Long beard…you got it, he led me to a big old orange poster sign. After doing a little research I was able to find out who owned the property. The owners were more than happy to let me hunt and best yet I ended up killing that bird and finding an unbelievable 50 acres to hunt bucks.

Securing permission is often looked down by many hunters and trappers; we spend a lot of money on equipment, vehicles, books, seminars, etc. But when it comes to asking “permission” we often have a lot of excuses. Nobody likes rejection, but if you want great places to hunt or trap its inevitable, you have to ask permission. We live in a day and age where hunting and trapping are under constant scrutiny; we don’t need to be labeled trespassers also! Ask permission!

Here are some tips about gaining permission:

  • Once I find a parcel of land I’m interested in, ask around who might own the land. Sometimes it’s easy other times its almost impossible. Ask family, friends, police, neighbors adjoining the property, local assessors office, or pick up a landowners plot book for that county.
  • When asking the landowner “be presentable”. Neat, clean clothes, washed, etc,. Remember you’re the one asking for the “rights”. First impressions are everything! I don’t normally like to start the conversation off by just asking for permission. A little small talk can go a long way here.
  • If permission is denied be polite. Thank them and try asking again next year.
  • If permission is granted be sure to follow up again before the season. Get to know the family and their names, even the dogs if necessary.
  • Always leave them a card with all your information on it, such as address, phone number, vehicle type and plate number.
  • Respect the land, just because you where granted permission doesn’t mean you can do what you want! They granted you permission not all your friends and family. You’ll have to ask for them also. Don’t build tree stands without their permission, don’t drive your truck or four-wheeler all over the land, don’t cut fences, leave garbage. We all owe it to ourselves to respect the landowner and his land. Be sure to work out the particulars about where they would like you to park, what gates to close or not open, etc.
  • Finally, when the season starts, I call my landowners and let them know I’m about to start hunting or trapping. When the seasons over or I’m done I let them know and also leave a small thank you card in the mailbox.

Securing permission is one of those things I like to get done before or by the month of August. This leaves me plenty of time to get in and scout and maybe get to know the landowner better. Over the years I have acquired more land than I could possibly hunt or trap, much of this just happened because of landowners talking among themselves. You never know what a landowner will say so my best advice is ASK!

Good Scouting …… Kevin Kishel

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