Deer love peanut butter, so it is an excellent bait. You can use peanut butter alone or in a mixture to lure deer into an area for hunting or just to enjoy watching them. Peanut butter is much cheaper than most commercial deer attractants and works as well or better.
Verify the Legality of Deer Baiting
Before you use any kind of deer bait, check with your local wildlife authorities to verify that it is legal to use bait to lure in a deer. Determine that it is legal to use this type of bait, whether for hunting or other recreational purposes, before actually doing so.
Open a large jar of peanut butter--crunchy is preferred. Securely screw the lid of the peanut butter to a tree in a known high-traffic deer route about 4 or 5 feet off the ground. Screw the jar back onto the lid. Use a utility knife to cut the bottom off the peanut butter jar. This provides a wonderful attractant for the deer.
A Fancier Method
Another method that attracts deer is mixing peanut butter, brown sugar and molasses to a consistency that is thin enough to drip in blobs off a spoon, but thick enough that it is not able to be poured. If weather permits, dig a shallow hole and pour the mixture into it to serve the deer.
Otherwise, prepare a well-cleaned coffee can with several 3/8-inch holes in the lid. Drill a hole in the bottom of the can just large enough to feed a straightened wire hanger through. Bend a wire hanger into a circle that will just fit inside the can and finish the circle with an L into the centre of the circle. This will allow the circle to sit flat and a straight wire to project vertically upward out of the circle. Feed the straight part from the inside of the can out the bottom hole. Fill the can with your mixture and seal the lid securely with duct tape. Use the protruding wire to hang the can from a branch in a nice sunny area where deer travel. The sun softens the mixture enough for it to drip out of the holes in the lid.