Whitetail Hunting photo

I recently found myself in a big-box sporting-goods store and decided to take a stroll to gauge the State of the Industry. In a changing world, it’s nice to see that some things remain constant. Judging by what the industry has on offer, it believes that we are gullible and willing to pay for any shortcut—the more ridiculous the better—that will put a big buck on the ground.

For example, since smell is perhaps the deer’s keenest sense and our weakest, deer attractants are huge. It’s easy to make outlandish claims and impossible to prove or disprove them. This leads to general bamboozlement and, more important, large profits.

The names of the products are wonderful, evoking drugs, love potions, and male steroids. So we have Liquid Luck, Ground Pound, Black Magic, Deadly Dust, Antler King Slam Dunk, N-Raged, Full Draw Forage Blend, Buck Commander Acorn Rage, Power Rack, Black Widow Hot-N-Ready.

Then there’s longtime favorite Code Blue Platinum Standing Deer Estrous, which now goes for $39.99 for a 1.5-ounce bottle. As the ad copy reads, “Platinum Standing Estrous is collected through a unique process that takes place at the exact moment when a buck attempts to breed with the doe.” For the record, the exact moment when a buck attempts to breed a doe is when I’ll be attempting to make my way out of the pen as fast as possible, not approaching the amorous couple with a paper cup.

There is the Buck Bomb Cornholer (above, $9.99), which, while not new, always makes a striking impression if you haven’t seen it in a while. The giant screw now comes in new, more vivid packaging. I was so intrigued, I looked it up on a website. “Because it is is screwed into the ground,” reads the ad copy, “it can’t be carried away.”

But one reviewer, Ruff32 of Martinsburg, West Virginia, begged to differ. “Bought this product and followed the directions. Went back after a week and it was gone.” Maybe they need more threads per inch and/or a double-thread design.

There’s a new one called VS-1 that comes in a tiny bottle and sells for $44.99. It’s billed as the only deer scent with “actual vaginal secretions.” I don’t know how you’d verify this. And I certainly don’t want to be the guy who does the verification. I wonder if the bottle comes with a decal for your car window with a huge buck and the words, “VS-1: Because there’s no substitute for actual vaginal secretions.”

We also have a new class of “deer-calming” scents that make wherever you are smell like a deer bedding area. This promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation in deer. What’s actually in the stuff? No idea. Just buy it already. Or, if you’re shy of the price, start with DUI, which stands for Deer Under the Influence ($19.99 for an 8-ounce bottle). It’s another “highly addictive attractant that calms and pacifies deer.” How good is this stuff? Think OxyContin for deer. As the package says, “They may sense you, but they won’t even care.”

That, more than anything else, is what I seek in a deer. I want to find a B&C buck that is so stoned it says, in effect, “I see you up in that stand, dude. Yeah, you thought I didn’t, but I do. So what? You wanna put an arrow in me? Hey, whatever, dude. You want me broadside or quartering away?”

Because that’s hunting.