Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Covering Your Scent

A Deer's Nose
Deer season is almost here.  You have worked hard.  You have prepped your site and you are confident in making the shot when it presents itself.  You get inside the blind to wait for the deer to show up that you have documented on the trail cams and what happens…nothing.  Why? Did you think of covering your scent?  Oops.

A deer has about 297 million olfactory receptors in their noses.  In contrast, a dog only has about 220 million of these receptors(*).  A deer can smell you long before they can see you if you are upwind.  Since you cannot control wind direction, you are going to need some help to make yourself scent-invisible and maybe, just maybe, use their incredible sense of smell to bring them to you instead of pushing them away.

To, turn the table on the deer there is a wide array of scent blockers on the market today.  Standing in the aisle at your local Bass Pro or Cabela’s can be overwhelming at the choices available on this one topic alone.  They also offer entire clothing lines now that aid in masking your scent.  I hear yah! I am not making the picture any clearer right?  Sit tight and it will make sense.

Scent-A-Way Family of Products
Scent-A-Way Family of Products
My wife’s brother, Kyle, is a firm believer in scent control.  He is borderline fanatical about it which I happen to enjoy.  From washing your clothes to washing Yo’Self, Kyle believes in being odor neutral.  He also likes some of the products who seem to be a bit more proud than I prefer.  After doing some research, I landed on using Scent-A-Way.  It’s proven.  It’s easy.  And, you guessed it, it’s cheap – LOL!

Kyle likes to use a product called Nose Jammer.  It is a botanical mix that causes a deer’s nose to go into over-load and not smell you.  While his mind will be attempting to sort out the different flowers that he smells, your scent never get’s picked up.  We spray it on my wheel-chair's wheels and frame so that wherever I go, they never pick up the smells my tires might have from the house.  The stuff smells great even to me and I do agree with him on one use for it to draw the deer in - more on that in a minute.

To truly cover yourself you should really start with, wait for it.... yourself.  Scent-A-Way makes a body-wash/shampoo that will get you clean without all the extra smell.  I even bought their antiperspirant/deodorant which is also odor neutral.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Next washing your clothes can help.  You don’t want to walk into the woods with a loud Gain or Tide smell to travel through the forest essentially screaming to every deer in the near 50 acres to run like a scalded dog.  Again, the options here are plenty.  I actually agree with Kyle on this topic.  He washes his clothes with Baking Soda.  It cleans and kills odors which is the goal right?  It is also super dirt cheap.  He even sticks his clothes in a plastic bag with baking soda to keep them odor controlled throughout the week.

Okay so you have everything covered and the deer can’t smell you which is a good thing.  Early in the article, I mentioned a way to use their sense of smell to lure them in…remember?  I want to revisit that and give you a tremendous leg up.  Deer can be conditioned like any other animal or human for that matter.  In psychology class, I remembered the studies done by a famous psychiatrist named Pavlov.  He placed a bowl of food down for a dog but would first flip a switch on a light bulb.  The dog became conditioned that every time he saw the light even in the absence of the food, he began to salivate as if food was available right then.

Nose Jammer Products
Nose Jammer Products
We began using Kyle’s Nose Jammer botanical spray in the same way.  The smell is strong and pungent.  It fills the woods quickly.  So every time we poured fresh corn in the feeder or placed other deer attractants out, we were sure to spray this stuff around the area.  So that when the deer smell this scent they would relate it to food or some other goody that we had left for them.

In this way, we are readying the deer for the day that we are there for the hunt.  They will have smelled this odor many times.  Each time they have sensed this odor, it was a positive for them by way of something they needed.  In short, I am gaining the edge on the wary deer.

Now, for everyone who would object to this method as not being a fair-chase practice, I would remind them that we are doing this in my hunting area on private property.  As a wheel-chaired sportsman, I don’t have the luxury of chasing a deer all over God’s creation in a fair-chase format.  I applaud all the hunters who do and wish you the very best in this deer season.  Give me some grace too huh?  This way we can all enjoy the great outdoors, together!

* Information on deer senses was collected from this Article

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