deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

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metrx
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby metrx » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:13 am

I think it makes "scents".  Younger bucks, like younger people, make more mistakes, in part due to inexperience.  The more you learn in life, the better you become at it.  A deer's ability to survive is basically determined by how well it adapts.  And the less mistakes it makes, the better it's rate of survival is. 
Experienced hunters who have basic knowledge of deer behavior know this to be true.  Watch how younger bucks act in situations vs. mature bucks.  There is a world of difference.  Which is why most dont make it through one hunting season.
I would say, specifically, yearling bucks are the least intelligent of all deer.  They are forced to leave their mother and birthing area (home range), female yearlings do not.  This is instinctively done to ensure like-genes are not mixed.  Now this yearling buck has to adapt to a new area, basically on its own, learning and adapting on its own.  Its not in a bachelor group, not in a doe group. 
There are a number of examples to show how a younger buck and an older buck react differently with regard to their sense of smell.  A personal experience is using a estrous call during the rut.  Most mature bucks will circle downwind or try to use its eyes to see whats making the call before it moves right in.  Younger bucks bee-line it right to the call.  I've had spike bucks come within 10 feet of me after calling not paying attention and not cautious at all.  If you let them go, its a learning experience they will literally grow from.   

chucksniper
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby chucksniper » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:28 am

I had an eight point buck make a bee-line to doe urine wicks I had hanging in a tree that met his demise,he's now mounted on my living room wall, so I don't see how experience can be an example during the rut. Maybe outside the rut but not in your experinence. My original post was speaking of sorting scents. It looks like experience plays a major role to circle downwind but not to know scents to alter it's course of travel for a mature buck. Younger deer don't have the ability to smell certain smells, that's my point. 

berudd
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby berudd » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:49 am

To be fair, a bunch of hunters are a message board are not qualified to place a definative stamp on what is considered a fully developed brain.  Considering that 'experts' claim an age range between 12 and 50 for when a human brain is fully developed we will do no better.  Some will even argue that the brain never stops developing becuase you continually have new experiences and learn not things and this creates new pathways in your brain.
 
In the context of an internet message board it is sufficent to assume that an adult deer has a fully developed brain.  Undeveloped implies a juvenile, or pre-natal, specimen or an adult with an abnormal brain.

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Goose
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby Goose » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:19 am

My 4 year old nephew smells the same thing I do, but because of our different experiences with that particular smell, we will react to it differently.
 
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berudd
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby berudd » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:01 am

ORIGINAL: Goose

My 4 year old nephew smells the same thing I do, but because of our different experiences with that particular smell, we will react to it differently.


 
An interestingly enough, young kids may actually smell and taste things better than adults do.  That's why sometimes kids weird out over foods that have a very strong flavor.  A strong flavor/smell is even moreso to a child.  Our senses tend to dull will age.  The seems to be the case with other mammals.  my 11 yr old Lab does not have the sight and hearing she once had.  I'd be curious to learn wheter or not this is the case with deer. 

rhightchew
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby rhightchew » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:11 pm

I believe one other strong thing should be considered, the deers enviroment; sense of smell or not; the area that deer grow up in plays a strong guide for what they react to here on my farm where I have harvested a buck and a very big doe both came to within 20 yards of me on the ground.
I have had several others does and spikes within ten feet of me smoking a cig as long as I wasn't moving! I know they could smell me the older does often stomped their feet waiting for a reaction, when I didn't move they returned to grazing. With thousands of area farms around here in Southeast Ohio I think they are different than deep woods deer, they smell fuels all the time see tractors ,pickups and four wheelers all spring and summer and fall,until the first gunshots start they are easy to see, watch and track.
After they get shot at or a companion goes down near them they get wary till then year after year the same process seems to be in place.

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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby SHKYBoonie » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:14 am

ORIGINAL: chucksniper

I had an eight point buck make a bee-line to doe urine wicks I had hanging in a tree that met his demise,he's now mounted on my living room wall, so I don't see how experience can be an example during the rut. Maybe outside the rut but not in your experinence. My original post was speaking of sorting scents. It looks like experience plays a major role to circle downwind but not to know scents to alter it's course of travel for a mature buck. Younger deer don't have the ability to smell certain smells, that's my point. 

 
You kinda just answered you own question. If you had missed that buck, he would have been alot more cautious the next time he smelled that particular smell. Think of the deers brain as a hard drive that stores important/vital information such as; what to eat and when, what this smell or that small is, what this sound or that sound means. A deer is programed for 3 things, survival, eating and once or twice a year breading. The breading seems to take over all of the others when it comes around. That is the reason the rut is such a magical time of year.
 
It's kinda like what I've seen in turkey hunting. It's a little different because the turkeys don't have a sense of smell, but if you call a tom into a certain set up with a certain call and miss him, you will never get that turkey to come into that set up again using that call. It gets imprinted on his hard drive as a dangerous situation.
 
I think all deer, regardless of age, smell the same things. It's all in how those smells are processed and how they were imprinted in the deers memory in the first place. A young deer just hasn't had enough life experiences for all of it to be stored in it's memory.
 
Just my take on this subject.

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shaman
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby shaman » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:59 am

I would not believe that a deer can smell better when it's older than when it's younger.   In fact, my guess would be the opposite.  However, the deer's discrimination between what constitutes danger  will get progressively more refined over its lifetime.  A big old buck probably can't smell you any better than when he was a fawn, but he understands you a LOT better.

Then you have the rut.  What I see sometimes from my stand makes me scratch my head.  Deer just get. . . weird.  I've had bucks trail me.  I've had bucks and doe nearly run me over.  It's like they just have one thing on their mind and that's it.
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby Woods Walker » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:55 pm

Another way to put this is that a more experienced deer, regardless of whether his sense of smell is better or worse than a more inexperienced one, can out the odors that he smells in CONTEXT to where the smell is coming from, and what he associates it with based on past experiences.
 
For example, a deer may very well be able to smell a human at 700 yards, but if that deer lives in farm country or the edge of the suburbs, he'll run himself to death running away from it, so he learns to TOLERATE that scent as long as it comes from where he does not associate it with danger or being harassed.
 
I can walk to my barn (like I do at least twice every day to feed the horses) with the wind blowing towards the woods, and those deer will not move, even though it's only 50 yards away. But if I sneak around from the OTHER way, they will run like the devil himself is after them......context......"HEY! What's that ugly SOB doing coming from THAT way??!!!"
 
My ghillie suit, which is made of treated burlap, still has a bit of that burlap odor to it, but it doesn't seem to bother deer...ALL kinds of deer....in the slightest. In fact, I am beginning to believe that it may be one of the reasons why they seldom bolt from me due to scent. They may smell the burlap, but they don't associate it with danger. If more hunters wore them, and they began to become educated, then it probably wouldn't work as well.
 
Vanilla is know to work quite well as a deer attractant, yet NO deer in North America has a natural exposure to vanilla plants but it doesn't scare them...quite the opposite in fact. It smells good to them, and unit they start getting shot at or associating it with humans every time they smell it, it probably will work.
 
Do deer have an acute sense of smell? Of course they do. But just because they can smell it doesn't mean they will be afraid of it. Again.....CONTEXT.
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SwampLife
 
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RE: deer sense of smell... mature vs. the immature

Postby SwampLife » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:58 am

experience.

older deer can associate different sights, scents, noises, situations, areas or even the time of the year with danger.

ever notice that the older bucks are the first to 'disappear' once the antlers harden? why do you think this happens? it is experience.

a deer is going to react to certain things according to what it has learned throughout its life. Lets illustrate it this way:

Their are twin buck fawns in the wild. You catch one and raise it as a pet. Throughout years of providing for this buck you have built trust and a relationship(so to speak) with this deer. When your pet buck gets a wiff of your scent when you get home, it causes no alarm. But you put on your camo to head into the woods and your pet bucks twin (who is now a few years old) gets downwind of your setup and bolts into the next county...

which deers brain is more developed?

another way to illustrate it is to take a 6 yr old buck from captivity and release him into the wild. Human scent does not represent danger to this deer, even though he is 'fully developed' and very wise. The 1 and 2 yr old wild deer would probably have a better chance of surviving.
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