Scent Control...really? - Deer Hunting Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: mid-Tennessee
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Scent Control...really?

My son and I learned without a doubt that deer have good noses. The first day of hunting and with my limited experience, we washed our clothes and showered in fragrance free soaps like I had read. We stood next to the car in 30 degree temperature and got dressed. We got set up in the woods before sunrise and four times we had nice bucks go by with their girls. I got in the woods a couple weeks before and built a couple of blinds out of cedar trees and I'm pretty sure they didn't see us. But twice the wind (it was shifting all day) resulted in the does getting a whiff of us and they were out of there; I didn't have a double seater stand so we were confined to the ground. We eat pretty typical foods, went light on the coffee, I ate no beans before the hunt, etc., so in reflection, I think 90% of the strategy is watching the wind. What say the experts?

The rest of the season, the deers seemed to be in hiding...I continued to see tracks but I suspect they were made at night. Out of 6 trips to the woods after the opening day, I only saw 1 doe and a buck and 2 does. I'll probably concentrate on the rut next season. A friend of mine and his wife are both very experienced hunters and they saw nothing to shoot. I would be interested if this was a typical season for you?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 07:22 PM
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Location: Tampa, FL
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for me scent is very important. but so is hunting the wind. i watch my scent but am not to anal about it. do wash clothes in scent free soap and shower with scent free soap. also have used a pine cover scent.(hunting planted pines) usually hides alot of other scents that i might pick up on the way to the woods. as far as seeing deer, i hunt south georgia and saw alot of deer. but the rut was "thready" at best. never got cold enough long enough to get them started at their normal rutting time (thanksgiving) bucks were still chasing does last week.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 07:40 PM
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 06:37 AM
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Location: Vermont
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There's no expert advice here but scenting down is vital and not an easy task but we have to do our best at it or risk not seeing any deer at all.
like ronn says you won't make yourself invisible to a deers nose but your scenting down efforts might get you a little closer to the action.

Everyone that I've heard from including what everyone here has been saying is that this has been an extremely tough year for all of us.
So personally I have to say No this has not been a typical hunting season
I think this may have been the worse season I've ever experienced but not because of one specific reason, I think there's a few things combined that played a role in making this a tough season, Weather was the biggest factor then hunting pressure and then there were the weekend warriors, I don't include them into the hunting pressure category because they aren't really hunting they more or less are just trampling through the woods aimlessly in hopes of seeing a deer and nothing sours a hunting area worse than those guys and sadly we all have to deal with those guys... . that's my .02 cents
Good Luck to you and your son on all your future hunts...

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the outcome of the vote.
-Benjamin Franklin

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 07:48 AM
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I agree it has been a tough year for most of us for a myriad of conditions and circumstances. As far as scent control goes I will try to put them in priority but in no way should you lessen the value of any of them. All should be addressed to the best of your ability at all times.

1# Play the wind. This is the hands down most important thing you can do in the woods and can be the most difficult. It takes years to learn and never completely mastered. Without writing a book here I suggest you gather as much information possible through the dozens of hunting books available out there. It truly is a science.

2# Entrance and exit of your hunting areas. This falls under playing the wind but really needs to be called out in it's own line item. Disturbance to your deer herd can shut down your season before it starts. You have to choose you routes carefully doing your best not to bump deer from feeding, bedding and travel areas. Depending on your property this can be easy or impossible to do depending on wind, size, or over all lay of the land. A book Mapping Trophy Bucks is a great source of information about this subject and playing the wind.

3# Personal Hygiene and Scent Control. I place this at 3# because if you have the wind 100% in your favor You can stink like a mule and still be successful. HOWEVER, this does not happen all that often. By taking all precautions to minimize your human scent it is possible that a deer could smell you but the scent is so minimal that the deer will perceive you as not immediate threat. It is impossible to be 100% scent free but you can reduce your scent to the point of being below a deer's alarm threshold. Soaps, shampoo, deodorant, scent masking clothing, boots, scent eliminator sprays, and cover scents all play an important part in this category. Now keep this in mind, your breath is the 1# source of odor so learn when deer are close and your adrenalin is pumping breath through your nose. This is a good habit to learn if not for anything else it can help calm you down.

Hope this helps. Good luck next season, you have a lot of reading to do.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Stewy Griffin View Post
My son and I learned without a doubt that deer have good noses. The first day of hunting and with my limited experience, we washed our clothes and showered in fragrance free soaps like I had read. We stood next to the car in 30 degree temperature and got dressed.
Was the car still running at the time or was it turned off because exhaust fumes could've clung to your clothing.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 12:32 AM
Scrub Buck
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Location: Tulsa
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i just spray down with scent-away and a little coon urine on the boots they haven't winded me yet
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 06:05 AM
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Location: Oregon, Ohio
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I think it is vital to be as scent free as possible so I put is as my #1. I do agree on the wind issue and that is my #2. #3 would be a well planned entry/exit route. I may be extreme on the scent control but for bow hunting I need them up close and personal. I believe in the steam sauna bath the night before and add all the products for scent elimination. Keep your hunting clothes sealed in plastic bags, I throw a pine branch in with them. Don't forget your boots, bow, hat, gloves ect, spray them before you head out and I carry a small bottle to use while in the stand. I also camo myself in with pine/hemlock for additional consealment and additional natural cover scent. By rubbing fresh pine needles together you get a strong natural cover scent for free.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
Scrub Buck
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: mid-Tennessee
Posts: 14
This gives me some good stuff to think about. In both cases, we were about 100' from the does that smelled us. Unfortunately, we did not have an ethical shot.

I don't think I had the car running the first morning but I know I did on a couple other mornings because it was so cold. That is an excellent point that I never thought of.

The area we hunted is surrounded by TVA public hunting area. To the east (direction the deer were coming from) there was a lot of gunfire during opening day; not so much the other directions. The last couple of times out, the leaves had all fallen and I just sat in a small clump of scrub trees in a field outside the woods where the wind was in my face...the deer just didn't show. In retrospect, on the first day I think we witnessed them being pushed to the west where there is a lot of heavy cover and is not as easy to access, my guess is that's where the deer spent the winter.

Knowing this, next season we will clear some shooting lanes and be positioned better on the first day relocation. After that, I'll get into the TVA area to the west as I can access it from the private property I hunt. Thanks for the help!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 02:56 PM
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