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Old April 1, 2013, 04:59 PM   #1
Prof Young
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Smell and Deer Hunting

Hunters:

I've been deer hunting for half a dozen years now, both bow and firearms seasons. I know how important EVERYONE says it is to keep the smell factor down.

A couple of years back, bow hunting, I couldn't stand it anymore and took a leak out the edge of my tree stand. About 15 minutes later I look down and a huge well antlered buck had come in behind me and was sniffing my pee spot. I made the mistake of moving while he was looking at me and didn't get the opportunity to draw much less shoot before he was gone. But the point is . . . he came to the smell of my urine. Is all this stuff about scent a big story that makes money for the sellers of the scent products or what?

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Old April 1, 2013, 05:21 PM   #2
buck460XVR
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People smell like people and urine smells like, urine. Body scent tells a deer where you are, urine tells him where you were. Same reason coyote urine works for cover scent. Deer won't come in to where they smell a 'yote, but 'yotes regularly mark where they've been. So the stale smell of their old urine makes deer feel safe. I've peed outta a treestand during a long day of rifle hunting and had deer stand in the yellow spots in the snow and act like nuttin' was up. Twenty years or so ago, I bow hunted a hot scape line and could see and hear the buck moving up and down checkin' them out 100 yards downwind for three mornings straight. Cover was too thick to move my stand any closer to where I could get a shot. Told an old guy at work about it one morning after being frustrated and he told me to pee in the one closest to my stand before I went up the tree. Next morning I shot him as he checked out the new wet spot in his scrape. No longer do I take an empty soda bottle with me or hustle down and try to wizz 100 yards downwind. Ain't no reason to.
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Old April 1, 2013, 05:21 PM   #3
Nathan
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I know what you are saying...human urine will draw them in for some reason!
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Old April 1, 2013, 05:45 PM   #4
Kreyzhorse
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Quote:
Is all this stuff about scent a big story that makes money for the sellers of the scent products or what?
More or less. I'm sure that deer can be spooked by scent, however, you can get away with a lot more in the woods than the "products" companies would lead you to believe.

I too pee in the woods with no seemingly ill effect. I don't use scent blocking clothing or any other scent masking products. A few years ago, I literally had three doe walk right up to me as I sitting against a tree. The lead doe, I could have reached out and grabbed her, she was that close.

The nearest I could figure, she caught wind of the hard candy I had in my mouth and came on in for a closer look and didn't pay any attention to my other smells at all.
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Old April 1, 2013, 08:46 PM   #5
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I use to 20-25 use to be a hardcore, scent elimated, cover scent, camo-od up and had every gadget out there. Now after all those years I don't believe hardly none of that. I dress in regular clothes now , no cover scents just learn to study woods and know when and what a deer is looking for. Have a lot more success now.
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Old April 1, 2013, 09:20 PM   #6
Saltydog235
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Deer can be the shyest of creatures or one of the most inquisitive to the point it kills them. Hard to say what goes through their minds. Pee, diesel fuel, smoking, chew and other man smells they become accustomed to around a worked pine forest or farm don't bother them as much as the product pushers want you to believe. Right Guard, cologne, hair products etc will definitely keep them away.
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Old April 1, 2013, 10:23 PM   #7
shortwave
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Have had the same experience as everyone else here.

Being a coffee-holic and usually drinking a pot before I left the house, have sit in my climber till I thought I was gonna bust. Would scurry down the tree and get as far from my stand as I could. Either spooking every deer in the woods, or as we have all probably experienced, in the middle of going, watched Mr. Buck crest over the hill right in front of me looking at me as if to say "what is this idiot doing in my woods", then turning and running off.

Then I went to the pee bottle.

The last 5-6yrs., I let er fly from the stand and have had no ill effects from the deer...or myself.

Last edited by shortwave; April 1, 2013 at 10:33 PM.
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Old April 1, 2013, 11:14 PM   #8
Prof Young
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Hmmmm . . . .

Hmmm, maybe I'll start peeing soon as I get to the stand.

Live well, be safe
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Old April 2, 2013, 12:05 AM   #9
Tuzo
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Old post but shows the need for perfume

One of my best friends owns a beautiful piece of property in prime Mississippi deer country, is a very good hunter, and owns a great deal of camo-scentlock-you-name-it-stuff from Cabela's. He located his girlfriend in a stand a couple of hundred yards away from his stand and waited. Not too long after settling in the deer stand, she shot one of the largest bucks in that part of Mississippi.

The irony is this: she, an experienced hunter, did not wear a stitch of camo, used no special soap or deodorant, in fact she wore casual clothes with a hint of perfume. Apparently perfume is a great buck attractant.

Deer are not too aware of color contrast (why wear camo with a required dayglo orange vest or hat?) but are atune to sounds and smells. In the eastern slope of the Sierras I walked up to and sat on a stump 25 to 30 feet from two does and one fawn and watched them browse, Not until the wind shifted from me to them did they notice me, snorted a bit, and ran off. A similar scene was experienced a few years earlier in Colorado with a pair of elk. My non-camo clothing and orange vest made no difference to those three deer and two elk. Maybe deer and elk need a few Cabela's catalogs to raise their awareness of camo needs.
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:55 AM   #10
Saltydog235
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Quote:
The irony is this: she, an experienced hunter, did not wear a stitch of camo, used no special soap or deodorant, in fact she wore casual clothes with a hint of perfume. Apparently perfume is a great buck attractant.
Or it could have been that time of the month.
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Old April 2, 2013, 07:19 AM   #11
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Well, I am not a girl and I have hunted after getting dressed up fresh for a night out and having it cancelled and just grabbed a rifle to go hunt and had a similar experience.

HOWEVER, deer are aware of color contrast. The issue about dayglow orange is that they don't see into the red portion of the spectrum well. Apparently, reds and oranges appear whitish or greyish (or that is believed), like seeing such colors on B&W TV. Deer and many other artiodactyls have dichromatic vision whereas humans are trichromatic.

Here is a nifty video on deer vision...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky_7I3iFxtY
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Old April 2, 2013, 07:40 AM   #12
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Concerns over scent control have largely been overstated for years in order to sell clothes and products to hunters. It is a far larger scam than trying to convince hunters they need the latest and greatest camo.

Not that it doesn't exist, deer do have a good sense of smell, and some type of camo does help, especially at bow hunting ranges. But I don't obsess over either. I take reasonable precautions to keep scent to a minimum, and I often wear camo, but neither is going to make or break a hunt.
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Old April 2, 2013, 08:01 AM   #13
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We won't talk about what happens when you eat baked beans with deer burger and sausage the night before. There's nothing like getting in your stand and it hitting you five minutes later. After a quick run down the ladder and stripping off clothes while running through the woods, deer crashing everywhere. You don't notice the cold when you have to crap!

However funny the story is at the camp, your morning is done!
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Old April 2, 2013, 09:40 AM   #14
Iron Man
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I always just washed my hunting clothes with unscented detergent and stored them in a box with some trimmings off my pine tree (separated with a sheet of wax paper so nothing sticky got on the clothes.

I made sure to not eat anything that would make me smell before going hunting (alcohol is the worst).

I would always stalk because I would fall asleep in my tree stands.
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Old April 2, 2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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I think it may have more to do with WHERE you hunt, as to how skiddish the deer in that area are.

In my part of the country, I hunt in pretty much 3 counties. Pushmataha , Leflore, and Pittsburg counties in Oklahoma. I have noticed that in Pittsburg county, that has a lot of farm land, and a lot of cattle, as well as a lot of tree cutting, that the deer seem to be a little less apt to run at the first smell of anything unusual. The population here is around 45,000 people covering about 1305 Sq. Miles or about 35 people per Sq. Mile.

But in Pushmataha county, where the population is only 11,200 people scattered over 1395 Sq. Miles or about 8 people per Sq. Mile, the deer will break and run at the first thing that doesn't smell right to them.

Leflore county has 45,893 people over 1589 Sq. Miles or about 32 people per sq. Mile.

From 50 years experience hunting these three counties exclusively, I can truthfully say that the hardest deer to hunt come from Pushmataha county. They just don't see as many people, and the various scents and noises that they are around everyday aren't as numerous as in counties that have a lot of daily activity from farming and ranching.

Deer will eventually get used to about anything that they come in contact with, and quickly figure out what to be scared of, and if it does not create a danger for them, they will put up with quite a bit before leaving. I've seen deer feed around a drilling site and act like the noise doesn't bother them at all, but when a deer is not exposed to these differences in their environment very much, they will be gone at the first sign of something unusual.

I have probably hunted all three counties as equally as possible, and I always seem to have a lot more success in Leflore, and Pittsburg counties than I do in Push county.

Just my humble opinion. Does it make sense to you guys?
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Old April 2, 2013, 11:09 AM   #16
L_Killkenny
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IME you can do everything you want to try to cover you're scent and it just makes so little difference. You would be amazed at the nose on critters and you can spread all the skunk or doe pee you want and a deer can smell right thru it. You can wash you and you're clothes all you want and 10 seconds after stepping out of the shower or putting your gear on you smell like you again.

The only way to hunt is to play the wind.
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Old April 2, 2013, 12:58 PM   #17
dahermit
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For what it is worth, at one time I had a heated, portable toilet, tree stand (yup I need comfort). I noticed that deer would graze and cross my path where I had walked in to the tree stand. None ever showed any awareness, nervousness, apprehension, or spooked (just kept on grazing), at where I had walked less than an hour earlier. However, if there was snow on the ground, and they came across my tracks in the snow, they would go squirrelly (appeared nervous, upset) and would snort and look around. I have observed this behavior from deer on two different occasions, years apart. In the first instance I was hidden behind a large tree with a crotch where I could peek out at my back-trail. When the old doe saw my tracks she went nuts. She would run a few yards in one direction, snort, turn and run a few yards in another direction while intently looking. The young deer were not alarmed and just stood waiting for her. After 3-4 minutes of this, she led them nervously on their way. I have concluded that the scent one leaves from the bottoms of one's boot-soles is of no consequence, but the tracks one leaves in the snow is interpreted as an indication of danger (and/or human). Anyone else make these same observations?
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Old April 2, 2013, 01:02 PM   #18
Nim Rod
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I haven't read through all the replies yet, but I've been successfully hunting deer , as well as Pronghorn Antelope since 1979, and have only been skunked once in the field, plus 2 years when I didn't hunt deer after filling elk tags.

I do sometimes wear camo, sometimes not, but no scents...just me as I am....I don't tree or stand hunt either though, I'm a stalker, so maybe that is the difference.
Now, I do scent up and camo up for elk though...they can be quite flighty, lol...but I have tagged 7 elk since 1984...I just can't always find them to tag every year
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Old April 2, 2013, 01:09 PM   #19
dahermit
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It is notable that the diminutive Pygmies who hunt the small (relatively) jungle elephants will cover themselves in elephant dung before sneaking underneath an elephant and thrusting a spear into its soft underbelly. If covering one's self in dung did not work, I doubt the Pygmies would bother to do it. So, if you really want an effective cover-scent, you know what you must do. But, I suspect that, that method would only work for single men.
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Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

If the Bible is the literal, infallible, unerring word of God...where are all those witches I am supposed to kill?
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Old April 2, 2013, 01:18 PM   #20
L_Killkenny
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Quote:
I noticed that deer would graze and cross my path where I had walked in to the tree stand. None ever showed any awareness, nervousness, apprehension, or spooked (just kept on grazing), at where I had walked less than an hour earlier.
Good point. I've had deer come in from down wind, had em come in on the trail I used, I've had em stand and look at me as I pumped shots into their compadres, I've had em do all sorts of dumb stuff. But what I've never seen is an old mature buck or doe do these things. It's always funny when a guy puts out a camera and see's all these big deer and then wonders where they go during season. Big deer don't get big by being stupid.
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Old April 2, 2013, 05:18 PM   #21
mk8tim
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i couldn't agree more with those who say smell is over rated. i was smoking a butt last year (pretty dumb i know) waiting for a deer to step out when i heard a crunching sound behind me. i turned and looked over my shoulder and three does were within 20 yards of me. i also fired at a buck from about 400 yds on another day and completely missed. i walked down into the woods where it ran and a few minutes later another or possibly the same buck walked to within 10 yards of me. the brush was too thick for me to feel comfortable shooting, mostly because i couldn't see anything but in my scope. i hadn't done a single thing to block scent and was wearing blaze orange and blue jeans.
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:27 PM   #22
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I'd say over half the deer I've killed I killed while smoking. The only thing I do is wear rubber bottomed boots because if you don't and they cross your trail they will smell where you walked. Rubber doesn't leave a scent trail. I don't wear camo or anything special. Most times its just jeans, a t shirt, a light jacket and an orange vest.
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:27 PM   #23
dahermit
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Quote:
i couldn't agree more with those who say smell is over rated.
I am the one who posted about how I have watched them cross my path without being alarmed, however I have had a buck that would come in down-wind when I was in a ground blind watching a two track and got "busted" by him three days in a row just before it got light. It was dark, I was in full camo, was not moving...he still would snort the alarm call when he came and then run back the way he had come. My point was, you do not need cover scent on the bottom of your shoes, but the wind sure seems to announce your presents.
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Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you only pay more for what you get.
Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

If the Bible is the literal, infallible, unerring word of God...where are all those witches I am supposed to kill?
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:34 PM   #24
Hawg
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Couple of years ago I walked down to my stand and a doe with a buck crossed behind me. She got to my trail and stopped dead and looked right up at the stand. She stared at it for awhile and then finally went on. The buck payed it no attention. The doe got behind some brush and I thought she had kept going. I raised the rifle to take the buck when she stomped the ground. Both of them took off like rockets. I've worn rubber bottomed boots ever since.
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Old April 2, 2013, 06:47 PM   #25
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
It is notable that the diminutive Pygmies who hunt the small (relatively) jungle elephants will cover themselves in elephant dung before sneaking underneath an elephant and thrusting a spear into its soft underbelly. If covering one's self in dung did not work, I doubt the Pygmies would bother to do it. So, if you really want an effective cover-scent, you know what you must do. But, I suspect that, that method would only work for single men.
Natives around the world have been documented performing all sorts of things before and after hunting to assure successful hunts, all of which are claimed to work. There are groups of people who won't sleep with their wives before hunting, sometimes for several days.

I don't know about the pygmies covering themselves with feces as all I can find is this fictional story about doing what you describe that includes the pygmies being unrealistically short http://semanticweb.com/elephant-hunt...company_b32963 , but I know that there are several other groups that hunt elephants without doing that. It would appear that the dung story may be a complete myth. http://discovermagazine.com/1992/may/aquestionofsize42

There is a less than bright hunter on Youtube that will spray elk urine in his mouth before deer hunting. He claims it works and if it didn't work, he wouldn't do it, right? Of course, you have probably seen the guy. He is the guy that gets the heck beat out of him by a buck while being video'd. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khKrd1RNy2U

The bottom line is that people will do things that they thing will work, even if such things don't necessarily have any empirical basis in reality.
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Last edited by Double Naught Spy; April 2, 2013 at 06:59 PM.
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