Imagining a better deer attractant pellet
How biodegradable polymers can bring the outdoor industry better results and a lower impact
Hunters often use attractants to lure deer into a controlled area. Many of the most popular products for doing so are liquids and sprays; however, these products have some problems. They generally have a limited effective lifespan and do not weather well once dispensed. Salt or mineral blocks also have the tendency to seep into soil, which could lead hunters to run afoul of game laws in some states. But what if there was a better way to lure in the big bucks?
Material scientists have known for some time now that certain plastic polymers retain their scents pretty well over time and in spite of exposure to the elements. But previously, this was a quality that rightfully would have been deemed irrelevant to a hunter’s needs. After all, most polymers take centuries to degrade. Scattering them over pristine hunting grounds just for the sake of attracting deer would agitate the good sense of most outdoorsman, akin to purposely sowing a field with tiny bits of trash.
That is, until material scientists discovered how to make those polymers biodegradable. Pellets made with that material could absorb large amounts of liquid scent and retain the scent for a long time. Tiny deer attractant pellets could be scented with fresh doe in estrus urine or deer scrape urine for attracting those big trophy bucks. Natural fibers in the pellets could provide outdoor color and texture to camouflage them when dispersed onto the ground, ensuring they’re unobtrusive to the eyes for both outdoor enthusiasts and their targets. Pellets made from biodegradable polymers could be designed to return to nature when their useful life has ended, leaving no lasting or harmful impact on hunting grounds over time.
Recently, we’ve taken biodegradable deer attractant pellets out of the realm of speculation and into the great outdoors. And in preliminary tests the results were amazing. Pellets dispersed on the ground quickly attracted bucks. The pellets retained the scent and lasted longer than standard sprays. And, stored pellets kept their potency over time.
And these same properties that have already proven attractive to game could also be harnessed to work as repellants for many types of common pests. With the potential to be both effective and to break down naturally, hunters, gardeners and other outdoor enthusiasts have an opportunity to employ a solution that’s both non-persistent and environmentally friendly for ridding their properties of pests that hinder their outdoor pursuits.
Hunters no longer need to reconcile their love of the outdoors with attractant measures that damage the natural environment. Gone are the days of nailing peanut butter jars to trees. (Check the online hunting forums. It happens.) This is more than another in an endless line of products for sportsman. It’s a chance for a celebrated tradition to leverage sustainable plastics in order to ease its impact on the great outdoors and ensure undeveloped land is preserved for future generations of hunters.
Biodegradable polymers should be explored by sportsmen for both their attractant and repellent properties. They represent a promising approach to making sure hunters’ fields are filled with all of the game they’re looking to attract, and none of what they’re not. As biodegradable polymers continue making a larger and larger impact in all types of consumer markets, the outdoor industry should take a long hard look at what these materials have to offer.
Written by Kevin Ireland. Kevin Ireland is the communications manager at Green Dot Bioplastics, a bioplastics supplier committed to making more sustainable plastics. Green Dot Bioplastics is current accepting funding through Indiegogo to make biodegradable deer attractant a reality.