In late September, it’s busier than usual at the WT Trophy Whitetails Farm in Church Point, as owner Tim Thibodeaux begins collecting his golden harvest...of deer urine. Gallons of the amber-colored liquid are used in making his wildly famous TT’s Buck Wild Deer Scent, an odor used by deer hunters to imitate the specific smell of a doe’s breeding cycle.
“I raise and breed trophy white-tailed deer, selling the bucks to high-fence shooting preserves,” Thibodeaux explains. “A friend suggested that I get into the scent business. I did my homework and got in touch with a ‘scent collector’ who had been in the business for 35 years; he showed me the ropes and we became friends. It took me a year to figure it all out.”
At his 17-acre farm, Thibodeaux raises and manages 140, at last count, white-tailed and fallow deer. Keeping a healthy herd is very important in this business and Thibodeaux says, “Fallow deer are easier to raise than white-tailed. They don’t catch bluetongue disease - from a little midge that bites them.” A couple years back, he lost 26 deer to the disease.
Surprisingly, deer urine collection has been going on since the 1930s, and yet the method of collecting the urine is still very simplistic. Wait until the deer are in heat and then herd the tamer ones into a small building, with food and water, to encourage the process. Their urine flows through the small grates of the stainless-steel floor into trays on the ground. The trays are collected two to three times a day for about five days, or while the doe is still in heat.
Asking Thibodeaux what goes into the creation of his product is like asking him for his social security number. Ain’t gonna happen. He starts with 100 percent urine, collected fresh in five-gallon buckets that are immediately covered and put into refrigeration. Beyond that, even the deer don’t know.
That “scent collector” must have taught him well because, from all accounts given by hunters, the stuff works! The stories sound almost the same as Thibodeaux begins the first of a couple anecdotes, “A guy from north Louisiana told me he was hunting with my Buck Wild and drew a buck across a 200-yard bottom like he was pulling him on a string.”
How the scent is used is a personal preference. Many hunters spray the odor on and in their boots while walking to their stands to mimic a doe in heat walking down the trail. Some use drag rags.
So, what are they smelling? What is the smell that Thibodeaux lives with for three months of the year? “It smells like a Billy goat,” he laughs. Outsmarting a buck’s nose is a great coup in a hunter’s world. “Deer can smell 200 yards away if the winds are in the right direction,” says Thibodeaux.