Sierra: Well for starters, I think scent eliminators are false advertising at it's worst. I say this because as far as a deer's nose is concerned. NOTHING "eliminates" scent! Now, that said, I don't think they hurt though either. Waste of money? Probably. I think you'd be much better served to wear your hunting boots ONLY when you are in the woods. That includes not putting them on until you step out of your truck or cabin, and you take them off before you go back in. The same should also go for your outerwear, which brings me to my next point about cover scents.
With cover scents you must realize two things.
1. All any cover scent will do is mask you scent a bit...if that. What you must realize is that a deer's nose can dissect scent in PARTS PER MILLION! They can STILL smell you, and smell you quite well for that matter. What the "masking" of the cover scent MAY do (and then again maybe not) is make your scent seem like it's farther away to the deer than it is. This brings up the concept of "context" in relation to scent which I'll talk about further on.
2. If you do decide to use a cover scent DO NOT make it a scent that attracts the deer to you. That means no food scents and for some applications a sex scent either. If you're bow hunting the last thing you want or need is to have the deer coming in and looking at YOU. Getting a good, clean, proper angled shot is hard enough without having the deer watching you so that drawing and shooting undetected is almost impossible. Deer being drawn in with these kinds of stimuli are also ON ALERT, which is not a mode I want them in for a bow shot. If they are on alert for food or sex then they are also going to maybe react faster to your shot, which too many times can result in a less than perfect hit.
For me, a good cover scent is one that simply makes you and your clothing smell like the habitat you're hunting in. For example,I keep all of my outerwear...including boots...in a sealable Rubbermaid tub in which I've put a cachet bag full of dried, crushed hardwood leaves. That's the kind of woods that I hunt, and when you open that tub it and everything in it smells like an October woods. My goal is to have deer not pay any mind to it at all and to go about their business in a realxed, unalerted state.
Now...context. This, I believe, is one of the most under considered parts of deer hunting. Facts are, most whitetailed deer hunted
in the U.S., live most of their lives within a mile or less...sometimes MUCH less...of human beings. They smell us all the time, and all year around. If they ran for their lives everytime they smelled a human being they'd run themselves to death in a week. It's my contention that most deer WILL tolerate a certain amount of human scent as long as it's in places where they are accustomed to always smelling it, especially if they remain unmolested when they do encounter it. An example of this is the farm that we hunt. The farmer that owns it feed cattle twice a day everyday, and as long as it's HIS truck that drives up the lane and it's him that get's out in his coveralls that reek of cow poop, Winston cigarettes, and diesel fuel then they just stand there and look at him before they go back to eating or whatever it was they are doing. This also may explain why he goes out opening day of gun season up behind his house in the same clothes he wears everyday, parks the same pickup he uses, walks 50 yards, stands against a tree, lays his cigarette down and shoots a nice buck which he has hung by our cabin by noon and then says, "What took you guys so long?"
Now I'm NOT recommending that you wear old stinky coveralls and park in the open and expect to shoot a deer by 8 AM. But I also think that you don't have to spend a lot of money on scents and other magic potions. Just be aware that it's NOT necessarily the end of the world if your scent blows across a field or ridge where the presence of humans is not uncommon. Do they smell you? Probably....but they don't CARE!
What I believe hurts you more is if you are always going in to your stand before light, and then coming back out at 10 AM, eating lunch/napping at your vehicle or camp and then going back out a 2 PM. I think that kind of constant activity hurts more than them getting an occasional whiff of us. Just because you may not see any deer on your way in or out doesn't mean that they don't see you. And believe me they WILL pattern you. If you live or work where you hunt and are out there every day then that's a different story.
One final point regarding scents...URINE scents in particular. As was mentioned in other posts on this thread, many of us have discovered that using our OWN urine is the most effective urine lure we've ever used (not to mention CHEAPEST!). I personally have had the most success with using my own urine in scrapes than with any commercial lure I've ever tried. The reasons for this are two fold....first, it's still URINE and has not broken down to urea (ammonia) yet which all urines do after they've been exposed to the air for a relatively short amount of time. If you open a bottle of commercial urine that brown/amber in color then it's no longer urine, but urea. Second, the hormones that are in my urine are the same as in a male deer's. By the time the rut has come around, the local deer in a given area already know all the other "boys in the 'hood" by their hormones in their urine. When a buck (and hopefully a dominant one) get's a whiff of MY scent in a scrape, his first thought may be, "HEY! Now who's THIS SOB on my turf?" He then rips the scrape up and hopefully stays around to kick some butt. I don't really know if this is what they think, but the physical evidence in the scrapes is for sure.
On this note I would only point out that as female hunter you have the same chemistry working for you...only maybe even MORE effective. Let's face it, there's only ONE thing that makes males want to do more than eat or fight, and the objects of those desires, like us males, all share the same thing...hormones. You may be the best bottle of buck lure that you could ever buy!!!
If you try this, please let us know how it works!
Offer No Apologies.....
NRA Endowment Life Member