Deer, bear, humans all reeled in by Winch

Posted March 17, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.

Many attendees at last weekend’s Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show approached Steve Parker’s booth with a bit of trepidation.

Even after Parker’s reassurance that they weren’t the target of a practical joke, some were leery about sticking their noses in the proffered containers and taking a deep whiff of Parker’s new line of wildlife attractant and cover scents.

Their reluctance was understandable: When you say “deer attractant” in these parts, it’s safe to assume that a key ingredient will be deer urine.

Not any more.

Parker was in Orono unveiling a new line of attractants that he’s marketing from his home in Winterport. None of those scents smell anything like deer urine. And most smell good enough to eat.

“It all started off with the bear-hunting side of things,” the 36-year-old Winterport man explained. “I was looking for something a little different when it came to baiting, hunting, [using] attracting scents, which are very popular in the market.”

After 18 months of work, Parker unveiled the product line of Ultimate Attractant LLC, which are marketed under the name Winch. Parker is one of four managers of the brand, and will handle sales representatives across the country. At the present time, however, Parker said his group has no fulltime employees, and is just ramping up its efforts. The first batch of bottled scents were delivered to him just days before the Orono sportsmen’s show.

Winch attractants and cover scents come in five different scents. As Parker kept telling show visitors, none are urine-based.

In fact, some of them smelled so good that show attendees said they’d like to make scented candles out of the spray.

The scents available: Blueberry, anise and jelly doughnut for bears; apple and corn for deer.

Parker said the scents work for bear, deer and wild boar.

“I had always used [attractants and cover scents] but my biggest issue with current products you buy in the stores today is that it’s all alcohol-based,” Parker said. “You have to refresh it, and it’s active for six to eight hours. I wanted to do something different where it was more effective and longer lasting, more cost-efficient.”

The solution: Parker worked with an Alabama lab that formulated and tested scents with a mineral oil base.

Among the tests, Parker said, was one that assured the scents met federal guidelines for mold.

“There are a lot of products that are made in people’s garages, and to be honest with you, I had them tested,” Parker said. “Ninety-nine percent of them don’t meet guidelines as far as [federal] standards. The biggest is producing mold. Mold is a big issue. When you start spraying [some] products around in the woods, they produce mold. Our product doesn’t.”

Over the years Parker says he has built relationships with many others in the hunting industry, and has talked to them about what they’d want in an attractant or cover scent.

He said Winch products deliver exactly what those vendors and customers have requested.

“[I asked myself, and others], ‘What can I do to make [the product] different, where essentially at the end of the day they can spend the same amount of money but use half as much and be effective for twice as long?’” Parker said.

Initial reviews have been positive, Parker reported.

“Everything has worked. We had a guide who used some of our anise this past year during bear season and was very effective with it,” Parker said. “We went to Oklahoma and tested our scents [on wild boar hunts] … In two days we harvested 21 hogs.”

Parker said he won’t be attending any of the upcoming sporting expos in Maine, and said selling Winch at the shows wasn’t a priority. Getting hunters into local stores and buying from those vendors, he said, was the goal.

If you’re interested in learning more about Winch and its products, go to the company’s Web site (www.winch-attractant.com).

Old Town sale coming up

In these parts, you don’t have to look very far to find a car hauling an Old Town Canoe Co. canoe or kayak.

And as locals know, one of the best times to get your hands on an inexpensive boat is during the company’s annual spring factory sale.

For that matter, the sale is also the perfect place to check out all kinds of paddling accessories.

This year’s spring sale is set for April 9-11 and will be held at the Old Town Canoe Outlet Store on Gilman Falls Avenue in Old Town.

Sale hours: April 9, 7 a.m.-6 p.m., April 10, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and April 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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