Centuries ago, Tonquin Musk was carried to the known world on the spice route from China.
Since Musk Deer are an endangered species, we now carry a synthetic version. It is full
strength and smells just like the real thing. Deer find the scent very alluring. A powerful
attractant that can be added to virtually any lure, urine, or gland scent to increase its
effectiveness. Calling in a nice buck with a lure you made yourself is very satisfying. If you
have a "do-it-yourself" streak running through you, give the following recipe a try. Concoct a
winning recipe when you used HUNTMDOWN Tarsal Glands as a base and blend in
your own recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of the page!
- 1 oz. Bottle
Here's a simple recipe using tarsal glands. The first step is to select the tarsal glands. You can use doe or buck
glands depending on what is available and the lure you wish to make. It's a lot easier to find tarsal glands from a buck
that are full of rut scent than it is a doe because does are in heat for such a short time.
If I were making a buck tarsal gland lure, I would select glands from a mature buck that are as full of musky, rut smell
as possible. To select doe tarsal glands, be sure to take them from a doe in heat. It's easy to tell when a doe is in or is
coming into season just from her tarsal glands. If you notice the tarsal glands of most does that you see, they are
white. However, as a doe is coming into heat, she will pee down her back legs and onto her tarsal glands. As she does
this, the glands become dark and smelly and the doe then leaves her scent signal through out the woods as she
travels. As soon as she has been bred, she will lick her tarsal glands clean and white again. If you or a buddy takes a
doe with dark tarsal glands, take advantage of your good fortune and make some of your own lure! If you can't find
what you want that way, try checking out the deer waiting to be processed at the local butcher. Ask nicely, and they'll
likely let you help yourself to a gland or two.
As soon as possible after the kill, remove and protect the tarsal glands by freezing them until your ready to start making
the lure. Cut through the skin around the tarsal gland in a circle about the size of a silver dollar. Then free the tarsal
gland by slicing through the membranes and such below the skin. Do not touch the tarsal glands with your bare hands.
Use rubber gloves throughout the process so you do not contaminate your lure with human scent.
Put the tarsal glands in a super clean glass jar and add enough high proof vodka to cover them and seal it up good. It
should take 4 to 6 ounces of alcohol for two tarsal glands.
- Put the jar in a cool, dark place and let them soak for at least two months.
- When enough time has past, put on rubber gloves, remove the glands and squeeze out as much fluid as you can
back into the jar.
- Now discard the tarsal glands you have sucked as much of the scent out as possible already.
You now have a tarsal gland tincture.
- Add an equal amount of glycerin by volume to your tincture. The glycerin will hold and bind the scent and will allow
you to add other ingredients. The scent will improve as it ages until next season.
- Keep your lure cool and dark and the alcohol will preserve it indefinitely.
You can use this lure straight but most lure makers wouldn't consider tarsal gland tincture to be the final product but rather
more of an ingredient in a more complex or matrix lure.
Mixing a half ounce of your tarsal gland tincture, a half ounce of a quality buck urine, a pinch of salt (to preserve it) and a
teaspoon of tonquin musk.
Other common lure ingredients are:
- your favorite doe or buck urine
- other gland tinctures - see below
- scents like anise, tobacco, vanilla, beaver castor, etc.
Keep it simple, it's best not to go off the deep end and have a dozen or more ingredients. Don't use up your whole batch of
tincture on one lure.
- Make small batches of an ounce or two. If you're going to add urine to your lure, it's a good idea to throw in a pinch of
salt to help preserve it. The salt won't affect the odor.
There are a number of glands on a deer that can be used to make excellent tinctures that you can use on their own or as
an ingredient in a lure. For example:
Inter-digital gland: This is a gland from between deer's hooves. It secretes a musky scent that deer use to identify and
track each other. One batch of this tincture will probably last you the rest of your life because you use so little of it at
once. It is thought that a large amount of this scent is perceived as a warning by deer and will spook them off so, just use
a few drops in an ounce of lure. This is a good ingredient to include in a scent you're going to use to make scent trails. To
get to this gland you cut off the leg of the deer at its first knuckle. Stand the leg end so the hoof is pointed up.
- Put a big, heavy knife between the two hooves, push down and split the leg in two halves. Just above the
hoof, you'll see a small gland with a paste like substance in it that you have cut in half. Scrape out the paste
from both halves with a clean knife. Don't get any blood or fat or any other crap in it. Repeat for all the legs.
Place the bits of paste in a super clean jar and cover with alcohol.
- When the mixture has aged for a couple of months in a cool dark place, add an equal amount of glycerin.
Forehead gland: This is a lure you would use on licking branches above scrapes, on scent posts, and rubs. The main
ingredient is the dark patch of fur on top of a buck's head. That fur is full of oils and scent and bucks rub it on branches to
leave their scent signature behind.
Testicles: This is a good ingredient in lures but it also works well just mixed with tonquin musk. Cut the balls out of the
- Cut around the dark patch and skin off the top of the buck's head. You can just use this part or add in the
pre-orbital glands that are found in the corner of their eyes and/or the saliva glands which lay on either side
of the buck's neck just below the jaw bone. The pre-orbital and saliva glands should be cut into a few pieces.
- Just as with the other formulas above, be super clean, cover the glands with alcohol and store in a cool dark
place for two or three months. When it's done, take out the glands, squeeze out as much of the alcohol as
you can and discard the glands.
- Add an equal amount of glycerin and age till next season.
buck's sack and discard the sack.
- Cut the balls into a few small pieces, cover with alcohol and store in a cool dark place for two months or so.
When they've soaked long enough, pull out and discard the pieces of testicle that remain. Add an equal
amount of glycerin.
Want to try making your own lure?
HUNTMDOWN™ provides an excellent base for any homemade lure making and enhance the scent of Tonquin Musk, Doe
Tarsal Musk and Buck Tarsal Musk
- Fresh/Bottled Tarsal Glands
- Add Essential Oils in Doe In Heat or Dominant Buck to enhance your homemade lure!