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.
also i hunt 100% state game lands..
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.
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