Scent Control Revisited

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:53 pm

Okay something I forgot to add in the OP, then more thoughts:

The deer who have winded me this year seem to think I am very far away. When I have had deer get downwind and smell something, they have responded by looking far in the distance for the source. I had one doe at 20 yards, directly downwind but she was looking onto the next property. Hmmm.

Anayway, I think I should have prefaced this thread with the explanation that I am a bow hunter. I hunt the gun seasons, but I'm still just a solitary bow hunter with a gun. I don't update my tactics much when bow season gives way to gun. This probably explains why my gun hunting success has been pretty lackluster.

Scent control is not necessarily vital for success in every style of deer hunting. If a hunter only needs to get a deer within 50 yards, I'd say that careful scent control is not so important. Nor is it important if a hunter is a spot and stalk or dedicated still hunter that can move with the wind. And again, I don't pretend that you will never see a big deer up close without scent control. What I am saying is really pretty simple. One, whitetail deer have an amazing sense of smell. Two, whitetail deer are, as a rule, afraid of human beings. So, I conclude that if you can somehow reduce the amount of human scent you emit, you will ultimately see and kill more deer. I think this is particularly true for bow hunters on small properties.

This topic is not for everyone, because not everyone needs it. I just happen to be in the camp of hunters who do. Somehow these conversations seem to get sidetracked. I'll be honest, when it comes to scent control conversations there are two extremes that pretty much lose me right away:

Those who claim to have found the magical cure. Those guys who have found a product that they claim makes them virtually without scent. These are the guys who claim to have never been winded since they began using _____.

Those who claim that deer are not afraid of scent, thus making scent control silly. These guys delight in telling you that they smoke on stand, fart at will and eat raw garlic cloves on stand and still have B&C bucks lick their boots every year.

I've burned much of my adult life talking with other hunters and reading about deer hunting. Trust me, both groups are well represented at every rural tavern, bow shop, and internet hunting forum in America. To both groups I offer a resounding "Bulls**t!"

The guys I want to talk to are somewhere in the middle. They accept that deer have a wicked good ability to detect hunters with their nose and they accept that the pursuit of total scentless zen is a wild goose chase. But they also at least buy into the concept that less scent would be a good thing if we could just come up with a formula. Again, trail and error baby.

 

USN_Sam1385
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby USN_Sam1385 » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:16 pm

ORIGINAL: JPH

Okay something I forgot to add in the OP, then more thoughts:

The deer who have winded me this year seem to think I am very far away. When I have had deer get downwind and smell something, they have responded by looking far in the distance for the source. I had one doe at 20 yards, directly downwind but she was looking onto the next property. Hmmm.

Anayway, I think I should have prefaced this thread with the explanation that I am a bow hunter. I hunt the gun seasons, but I'm still just a solitary bow hunter with a gun. I don't update my tactics much when bow season gives way to gun. This probably explains why my gun hunting success has been pretty lackluster.

Scent control is not necessarily vital for success in every style of deer hunting. If a hunter only needs to get a deer within 50 yards, I'd say that careful scent control is not so important. Nor is it important if a hunter is a spot and stalk or dedicated still hunter that can move with the wind. And again, I don't pretend that you will never see a big deer up close without scent control. What I am saying is really pretty simple. One, whitetail deer have an amazing sense of smell. Two, whitetail deer are, as a rule, afraid of human beings. So, I conclude that if you can somehow reduce the amount of human scent you emit, you will ultimately see and kill more deer. I think this is particularly true for bow hunters on small properties.

This topic is not for everyone, because not everyone needs it. I just happen to be in the camp of hunters who do. Somehow these conversations seem to get sidetracked. I'll be honest, when it comes to scent control conversations there are two extremes that pretty much lose me right away:

Those who claim to have found the magical cure. Those guys who have found a product that they claim makes them virtually without scent. These are the guys who claim to have never been winded since they began using _____.

Those who claim that deer are not afraid of scent, thus making scent control silly. These guys delight in telling you that they smoke on stand, fart at will and eat raw garlic cloves on stand and still have B&C bucks lick their boots every year.

I've burned much of my adult life talking with other hunters and reading about deer hunting. Trust me, both groups are well represented at every rural tavern, bow shop, and internet hunting forum in America. To both groups I offer a resounding "Bulls**t!"

The guys I want to talk to are somewhere in the middle. They accept that deer have a wicked good ability to detect hunters with their nose and they accept that the pursuit of total scentless zen is a wild goose chase. But they also at least buy into the concept that less scent would be a good thing if we could just come up with a formula. Again, trail and error baby.




I think that you are REALLY onto something with the deer thinking that you are further away than you truly are. Just tonight I had 4 does within about 25 yards of me on 3 different sides. Two seperate times I saw one of the does stick her nose all the way in the air, take a big deep whiff of air, and then stare way off into the distance for about 5-10 seconds before going back to feeding.

I think that within 20 yards deer are going to smell us NO MATTER WHAT.

However, by thinking that we are 300 yards away, we provide almost no threat to them.

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:11 pm

ORIGINAL: USN_Sam1385

I think that within 20 yards deer are going to smell us NO MATTER WHAT.

However, by thinking that we are 300 yards away, we provide almost no threat to them.


Yeah, that may be the real key. To reduce your scent to the point that you do not appear to be a threat.

Now I will say that I have had a few deer pass at 20 yards downwind and not pick me off this year. But the conditions were in my favor. Cold, dry weather and good thermals.

Of the deer who have winded me, none spooked out hard because of the scent. A couple walked the scent down to its source and by the time they followed their nose up to my tree, I got caught making slight movements. That did spook them.

On another note, I had a coyote cross where I had walked to my stand this morning. He picked out my scent immediately and beat it. I'll put a coyote's sense of smell and wariness up against a mature buck's any day!

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NCdeerguy
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby NCdeerguy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:43 am

The question of scent control has got to be the hunter's special equivalent to philosophical questions like "why are are here?" pondered through the ages- [8|]  but I still check out the "scent" threads like my gf keeps up with celeb gossip mags; I like hearing the creative new stuff people do, as well as what people DON'T do, but still have success. There are so many variables involved that differ from hunter to hunter, from unique characteristics of his particular deer herd or of a particular deer, or just the lay of the land creates big differences. So there's not one answer for every scenerio. We can all agree though that deer do have an amazing sense of smell, so the topic of scent control and scents is important. I won't lay out a grocery list of my methods- scent free wash, baking soda and spray is all I'll say, nothing outrageous. What I will point out though, which I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned much or at all, is stand height. I know not everyone hunts from tree stands, but for those who do, I make it a point to climb as high as I can while still allowing clear shooting lanes, esp when gun hunting. Deer remotely close may not smell you because your scent is so high, and if its carried downwind at a distance, its dissipated considerable by the the time it reaches down to nose level, if it ever does. The only times I knowingly get busted is when I'm walking to the tree or during initial climb. That's my last 2 cents on the subject...from now on I'll just keep observing on the scent side [:)]

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:31 am

ORIGINAL: NCdeerguy
 I won't lay out a grocery list of my methods- scent free wash, baking soda and spray is all I'll say, nothing outrageous. What I will point out though, which I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned much or at all, is stand height.


Too bad you won't stick around because you make a great point. The subject of stand height should have come up a long time ago. Thanks for bringing it to light.

I will agree that in terms of scent dispersal, higher is always better. My issue with stand height is that higher is not always better in terms of shot angle, view, safety, etc. In my neck of the woods, higher is often not even possible. Tall trees are rare in this region. I do have a couple of stands that push the 30' mark, but most are more like 15' just because the trees will not permit anything higher. My two best bucks were killed from a height of 12'. This has kind of forced me to be scent conscious to the degree that I am.

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:40 am

Another scent control update (or random story) from last week.

I had a doe and fawn approach my stand over a grassy little hill, directly in my scent stream. The doe seemed highly alert but did not stop or change course. A mature buck spotted them from the opposite direction and started pushing the doe. The two of them actually did an entire lap around the base of me tree without detecting a thing. But the doe managed to get a little distance between herself and the buck and went back onto the hill, again directly downwind of me at about 40 yds. Again, she was alert but not spooked. The buck followed her but when he hit my stream, the reaction was different. It looked as if he had gotten a little shock or something. He stared and stared in my direction, then just flicked his tail and walked into the woods. No snorting, stomping or running. He just decided to go look for another doe.

What do I draw from this? One, deer can walk under your scent signature if the conditions are right. Two, some deer are more cautious than others. Some will tolerate a hint of human odor, some will not.

I realize that this is not exactly breaking news, but if we can piece together enough anecdotal evidence of what does and does not work re. scent control we just might get somewhere on the topic.

tex3012
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby tex3012 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:55 pm

How does everyone feel about the carbon filter/ wafers to put into there plastic totes?
i have never used this pratice, but i do use carbon sacks..

also knee high rubber boots.. Pants in or Pants out ?

personally i do both, when walking i tuck my pant legs in that way the treated rubber is brushing up on sticks tall grass and leaves leaving no scent behind. when in stand i keep my pant legs out that way the odor coming out of the boot is going to be trapped going up my pant leg..

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:11 pm

ORIGINAL: tex3012

also knee high rubber boots.. Pants in or Pants out ?



Out for me.

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NCdeerguy
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby NCdeerguy » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:30 am

JPH,
Prior to using a climber, which I just started using the last couple of years, I always hunted 10-15' up. I always wanted to be higher but buying enough ladder sections or screw-in steps to get to 30'+ was too expensive, and probably would have been too labor intensive, noisy and take too much time to set up (I don't usually place stands ahead of time). My climber is only 14.5lbs or so, and I can slip in and out of places in the dark quietly, and climb as high as I want. But back to my point...the previous nine years of my hunting wasn't high up and even though I think I got busted more often, I also had my best opportunities. Deer would walk right beneath me sometimes and I'd be so low that it looked like the deer would hit their head on my platform, but they often still wouldn't look up at me-I could draw my bow. I've also found that when deer busted me in the dark while setting up, as soon as it got light they would come back and I still saw nice deer sometimes (maybe it was different deer, don't know). Another piece of irony is that I killed my next-to-best buck at around 30yds with a muzzleloader while sitting on the ground, and saw the two biggest bucks of my life while sitting on the ground on a stool with my bow; they just didn't offer a shot. In these cases there just weren't large trees in the area so I had no choice. Despite that, I still prefer to get up as high as I can, but these experiences really helped my confidence and assured me that when your set-up doesn't go as planned and you think everything is going to be ruined for the day, it could actually be the best day of your life out there.

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:16 am

ORIGINAL: NCdeerguy

My climber is only 14.5lbs or so, and I can slip in and out of places in the dark quietly, and climb as high as I want. But back to my point...the previous nine years of my hunting wasn't high up...


I have a climber too (although it sounds like mine is not as nice as yours). I really like it but unfortunately I only use it a few times each year. Again, our woodland areas do not often lend themselves to tall, clean tree trunks. I have found that the areas I like to hunt (field edges, funnels, thickets and corners) usually require fairly low stands.

But I do agree, higher is better in terms of scent dispersal.

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