When Hunting Deer, Don’t Offend with Your Scent

Deer Sniffing by Beside the Stream

Any time you’re getting ready for an important date, you take certain steps to prepare yourself. One of those steps is to make sure you smell just right. You don’t want to offend the nose of your companion, so you get yourself in order in advance. Well, preparing for a deer hunt should include the same conceptual process.

Part of ensuring a successful deer hunt is to make sure you have your scent under control. Whitetail deer, for example, have a sense of smell that is a good 20 times more powerful than our own. This means they can smell food, other deer, and potential threats such as yourself from a great distance away. If they smell a threat, they’ll be heading away rather than toward it, so it is important that you bring your scent down to an acceptable level so you don’t ward off any would-be harvests.

Completely erasing your natural human odor is impossible, but you can drastically reduce it. To get started on the process, the first step is to launder clothing properly and store it in a tote bag or box, preferably with some charcoal/carbon. Whether you are wearing new clothes or some you’ve worn in years past, they need to be washed, right down to your socks and underwear, with scent-free detergent. You should even make it a point to wash a couple of bath towels at the same time. After all, you don’t want to dry off with a fragrant towel after a shower, nullify your de-scented hunting gear by smelling like regular laundry detergent.

Next, take those bath towels and hit the shower yourself with some scent free soap in tow and get to scrubbing away at your natural scent. Once you’re body is clean, stick to only your recently laundered towels and avoid any grooming products that have any kind of aroma. Instead apply a scent-free deodorant and get right into the socks and underwear you washed in that scent-free detergent before donning the rest of your gear. In the time between getting washed and getting dressed in the bare minimum clothing that is essential for travel, you should come into contact with as little as possible. Don’t sit around the house in that favorite chair you always lounge in or come into physical contact with anyone wearing perfume or cologne. Just get out of the house and on the road with the rest of your gear in tow.

Once you are at your hunting location, pull out your stored gear from that tote and put it on. Being in tote bag or box should have kept in clean and the addition of charcoal/carbon helps pull out any possibly lingering smells. Go ahead and get into your gear then whip out the finishing touch, that being some scent eliminating spray. Hit your pack, boots, etc. and wipe down your gun or bow and you’re ready to go.

At the end of the day, return your gear to that same tote before heading home. A cardinal sin of hunting is to keep on wearing that camo not just home from the field but also all around town. Doing so essentially ruins all the de-scenting work already done and makes it necessary to do all over again, and some smells you may run into are tough to get rid of, such as cigarette smoke. Keeping gear in a protected storage area will charcoal/carbon sucking away at smells is by far a better choice.

Controlling scent is a very important part of hunting that should not be overlooked. The way you smell can make a difference in the size and number of deer you see, as the bigger bucks lived long enough to get that big by being wary. If you want to bag a buck this season that has dodged hunters in seasons past, make sure you eliminate as much scent as possible so that buck will head to you rather than away.

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