Scent Control Revisited

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DannyBouy
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby DannyBouy » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:41 am

JPH, I think you may be onto something. I think you are right with you analysis about a White tailed deer's nose. It is amazing. Whitetails are amazing and so hard to hunt. They're so skiddish, smart, have a sixth sense. We've got a saying up here, They don't get big by being stupid!

I've seen deer smell the air like you're saying. I've wondered if they're smelling me, coyotes, blackbear or a buck? They never bolt when they do this. They're just cautious and eventually go back to feeding.

I would like to clarify my statement above. I mean that I don't shower in scent free soap, use scent free deodorant, wash my clothes in scent free soap or wear carbon clothing. I do use scent eliminating spray (still not convinced about that claim) and cover scents. I often store my outer clothes & boots in a Rubbermaid bin with spruce bows.

Great forum. I love it. great thread.

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:36 am

ORIGINAL: DannyBouy

I've seen deer smell the air like you're saying. I've wondered if they're smelling me, coyotes, blackbear or a buck? They never bolt when they do this. They're just cautious and eventually go back to feeding.



This brings up a good point. When I see someone claim that they have "never" or "rarely" been winded I have to wonder how they define being "winded"?

Does a deer have to stomp, snort and run away with their tail flagging in order to qualify? If so, then I kinda buy those claims. That does not happen to me often and when it does it is usually a big old doe. In most cases they saw, or heard something in addition to detecting scent, but not always.

My definition of "winded" would be any time a deer detects my scent and alters their behavior because of it. That alteration might only cause that deer to divert their path by a few feet, but a few feet can equal mile in bow hunting.

Have you ever spoted a deer close by and been amazed at how hard they can be to see when they stand still? Just think about how many times an unseen deer has been close, caught a whiff of scent and decided to follow another trail! 

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DannyBouy
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby DannyBouy » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:54 am

I should also note that I rifle hunt.

I have normally defined "Winded" as when they put their nose up, smelling the air, maybe even look your way, then bolt. I know they can "wind" you without bolting. I think your definition is better.

Deer can be incredibly hard to see when they are standing still. I have almost not seen several deer while at my primary stand which is on the edge of a weed field, overlooks severl deer trails that enter and exit the field. 10-15 yards of the field edge is sapling that might be 20ft high. This area is only about 50 yards from my stand and they are very difficult to see there. It does make me wonder how many I don't see. From that same stand I can also see trails up to 250 yards away at the bottom of the field. They seem to travel the field to from their bedding areas to get water/food. They sometimes bed in the field too. It's a great stand and I hunt it most of the time. I only get out 1-2 times a week though.

tex3012
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby tex3012 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:12 pm

ORIGINAL: JPH


This brings up a good point. When I see someone claim that they have "never" or "rarely" been winded I have to wonder how they define being "winded"?

Does a deer have to stomp, snort and run away with their tail flagging in order to qualify? If so, then I kinda buy those claims. That does not happen to me often and when it does it is usually a big old doe. In most cases they saw, or heard something in addition to detecting scent, but not always.

My definition of "winded" would be any time a deer detects my scent and alters their behavior because of it. That alteration might only cause that deer to divert their path by a few feet, but a few feet can equal mile in bow hunting.



you make a good point with the definition to "winded".. to me it means snort, stomp, aleart others, tail flagged, run away.. also i completly understand what you mean by being busted by a big old doe.. sometimes i wanna believe that they are harder to hunt then a big old buck..

also i hunt 100% state game lands.. so i have a lot of times where a small game or fall turkey hunter walks by my stand.. its amazing to watch deer cross my path(scent treated) then they go and cross the other hunters path. as soon as the deer hits the other hunters path, bang, they stop and take inventory of the woods for minutes, sticking up there noses or immeditally run back where they came from... im not saying my path is 100 percent scent proof, but compaired to a untreated boot it might be around 5 - 15 percent.. which to a deer it most likely means that i have walked through maybe a day or two ago..

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:33 pm

ORIGINAL: tex3012

also i hunt 100% state game lands..


Okay, this brings up another important question. May I assume that your state game lands are large tracts of forested land? I think this plays a role as well. Let me explain.

I hunt farmland. To us, 80 acres is a large block of timber. Deer regularly interface with humans in farm country. Now, many people think this makes deer less alert regarding scent. I disagree. I think that deer on working farm country quickly recognize human scent for what it is and have a better sense of where humans are "supposed" to be. I hunt a 20 acre suburban, hobby farm. I can hear kids playing, dogs barking and trucks backing up as I sit in the stand. People are everywhere. But just let one of those wise old city does pick you off in the stand and see how fast that spot dries up!

I've never thought that deer will run off and never return once they detect a human boot track. But fresh human scent is an ominous sign to a whitetail with experience. Once their limited brains process that that ominous smell is out of the proper time and place, a hunter's odds of success fall sharply. At least as I see it.

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shaman
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby shaman » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:48 pm

Funny you mention this.  I'm just back in from a long Opening Weekend in KY.

I had a lot of interesting things happen.  On Day 2, I had a doe come out and sniff my track for a while.  It was along a 200 yard long food plot, and I could see her from start to finish.  Whatever caught her attention, she stuck her nose down, walked about 50 yards,  turned around and swished her tail and slowly walked back the other way, occasionally putting her nose down to get a whiff.  This was the same doe that hung out by my stand nearly every day-- even caught her bedding by it yesterday. What goes through their minds is forever a cypher to me.

Oh, and another thing, I got a chance to test how low I can go on the Sodium Bicarb regimen.  So far, I have had deer under my stand with clothes warn 3 days running.  All I was doing was:

a) taking them off immediately after hunting, and putting some Sodium Bicarb in with them in an airtight bin and storing them on the porch
b) Carrying my outermost layer-- quad parka and insulated bibs in a duffle and only wearing them when I was in my stand
c)  Alternating two sets of clothes morning and evening.

Winded?  Once I got busted on Sunday morning when I got up to whizz off  the stand, but the deer probably saw the movement.  There were more deer by within an hour and walked within 10 yards of the stand and didn't care about the puddle close by.
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SwampLife
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby SwampLife » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:57 pm

Let me tell you a story...

I have been hunting this block of woods 4 days in a row. I walk the edge of a standing cornfield and climb right up without entering the woods at all. Wind blows perfectly form the woods/thicket toward the corn. There is about a 10 acre woods/thicket patch that I am hunting(surrounded by plenty of standing corn with tree lines connecting it to much larger woodlots), it has been completely unmolested all year of any human intrusion to my knowledge. I have seen outstanding deer movement every day, and have not been busted once. I strongly suggest to my buddies that the lack of human odor/presence is the reason I am seeing so many deer.

I shoot a buck at 8 am. I retrieve a blood soaked arrow but still was not sure about the hit, rather the reaction to the hit. We back out and go change into our smelly 'tracking/cleaning blood clothes'. We go eat breakfast at the local diner in these clothes then go looking for my buck.

5 guys, hands and knees, bare hands on the ground. Blood trailing, spreading out and searching, through every brush pile and jagger patch within about 1000 yards of my stand.

That evening I sat in the same stand out of frustration and purely being stubborn. That evening I saw the most deer I had in one sit and the two biggest bucks we know of on that property. The does came in, sniffed I think every inch of where we had been, calmed down and started eating acorns. The bucks came in later and were completely oblivious to anything except the does and one another.

So I don't know. That evening pretty much re-wrote everything I thought I knew about deer hunting.

Not trying to discredit scent control, but that encounter really had me confused and thought you might find it interesting.
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shaman
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby shaman » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:06 pm

You have a very good point there.  I've been asking somewhat the same questions. 

Yes, scent has importance in deer hunting.  However, how can you take what you just gave us and justify it against all the scent-control mania so many folks seem to be wrapped up in?  It doesn't make sense.

My theory, and I'm testing it every time I go out is that deer can smell a lot.  However, it's their understanding of what we're up to that's is alien to us.  I think we attribute way to much of our understanding of life and death and how our hunting works  to deer.  We pass it off as instinct, but is it?  I dunno.  I'm just asking the question. 

Deer  are strange critters.  Guys can take deer over yesterday's gutpile. I just had a doe watch me shoot a buck and then bed next to my stand while I went to tag the carcass.   I've had bucks follow me in the woods.  It's not as simple as some folks try to make it out to be.
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tex3012
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby tex3012 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:57 am

ORIGINAL: SwampLife

5 guys, hands and knees, bare hands on the ground. Blood trailing, spreading out and searching, through every brush pile and jagger patch within about 1000 yards of my stand.

That evening I sat in the same stand out of frustration and purely being stubborn. That evening I saw the most deer I had in one sit and the two biggest bucks we know of on that property. The does came in, sniffed I think every inch of where we had been, calmed down and started eating acorns. The bucks came in later and were completely oblivious to anything except the does and one another.

So I don't know. That evening pretty much re-wrote everything I thought I knew about deer hunting.




Question to figure out in this case is, If you did this multiple times during a deer season, would you still see as many deer? i believe once you educate the deer with your scent equals danger, then you wouldnt be able to get away with laying scent everywhere..

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JPH
 
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RE: Scent Control Revisited

Postby JPH » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:10 pm

Three good posts in a row...and I have no idea what to make of any of it.

I too have seen deer when I have done everything "wrong" in terms of scent control. Heck, I can smell my Amish neighbors at several feet, upwind on a good day. No camoflage, no fancy calls or gadgets either. They kill more than their share of deer. Then I turn around and get busted after a scent free shower, dressing in the field, carbon, scent killing spray, rubber boots and sucking on acorns. What the hell?

As Shaman said, deer are more complex yet less like humans in their "thinking" than we realize. Crawl around in your dirty clothes every day and I don't think you'll continue to see great deer activity, but I could be dead wrong.

I was able to make seven bow kills this year and one rifle kill at 25 yards. I'd love to tell you it is all because of meticulous scent control, and  I do think it is a factor. But as I said in the OP, I've had years where I made even more scent control efforts and could do nothing right.

I am still convinced that careful scent reduction is a major factor in what success I have had but I still do not know exactly how or why it works.

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