View Full Version : Scent usage

Will Beararms
November 11, 1999, 02:27 PM
I have been hunting since the age of seven and for the first time in 28, years, I have purchased some scent-free deodorant,washing detergent, and bath soap. I have always stored my hunting clothes in a trash bag with pine limbs and dirt from the hunting lease. However, I have been reluctant to use a cover scent or estrus formulation thus far. If a scent smelled like it came from a deer in Maine and you were hunting in South Texas, would'nt that serve as a warning to a deer rather than an enticement? I may go with some sort of earth-based cover scent. However, I believe any estrus type scent I use will come from the tarsal gland of a doe killed on or around our lease. Please give me any feedback you may have pertaining to scent usage.

November 11, 1999, 03:11 PM
The scent debate rages on!

This topic has been very controversial at least here in Michigan. A local outdoor show host on PBS was sued and got taken to the cleaners about 9 years ago by Buck Stop lures after doing some field testing. Nothing scientific, just comparing and coming to his own conclusion that it makes no difference. This was with deer scents, i.e. tarsal, estrus etc. as well as human (his own urine).

Anyway, I have not been hunting as long as you but FWIW I do like to use an earth cover scent and scent free soap, deoderant, etc. and it hasn't hurt.

In fact I recently tried beaver castor after reading an article on scents during bow season and deer came in. Was it from the castor? I don't know. I am willing to try it again for gun season though.

I hope this was some help. Good Luck! :)

Long Path
November 11, 1999, 05:25 PM
I have one single anecdotal incident, which of course renders it useless. Nonetheless, interesting.

About 4 years ago I was hunting in a county in which doe were only legal on the first 2 weeks of the season. Having missed the first weekend, I made it out the second weekend, and didn't get a chance to shoot any deer. That Sunday afternoon, I got into an old tractor tire on its side in a winter wheat feild, and put some of my friend's Doe in Estrus lure on some toilet paper that I wrapped around a hand warmer. This I tossed on the ground outside of the tire, as a cover scent.

Out came the deer! A huge buck and some doe. I decided I would wait on the buck, picked the biggest doe, and shot her. (125 yards, down she went.) I got out, put a tag on her, and got back into the tractor tire. A six point came out and began eating grass from between her legs. I sat transfixed on this, and didn't look downwind at all until something caught my eye: horny buck!

He would stalk up a few yards while looking right at me, and lift his nose high to sniff the apparently maddening perfume. I watched this large 8 point making a bee-line right upwind toward me. Every few yards, he would actually stop to stimulate himself. (No, I'm not kidding! Like the old joke, why do dogs do that? Because they can... ;)) At 80 yards, in full view of the buck, I took the round out of the chamber. Sighted on his chest. Pulled the trigger. "CLICK!" He stopped, shrugged, and kept comming. I said loudly: "Hey, Buck! You'd better stop coming in so hot and heavy!" On he came. At about 70 yards, I loaded the chamber. He kept coming.

What can I say? He was a nice buck. I was younger then, and had less patience.

His antlers look good on the wall, though!

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited November 11, 1999).]

November 11, 1999, 07:53 PM
Long Path,

I'm sorry. I just can't resist!

"A six point came out and began eating grass from between her legs" Did you have enough quarters on you to watch? :)

"Every few yards, he would actually stop to stimulate himself" Did you make any "jerky" from that deer? :)

Again, I apologize. No one ever accused me of being very mature.

Seriously though, congratulations 4 years later!

I Love My Country, But I Fear My Government!

November 11, 1999, 07:55 PM
Will Beararms,

Almost like you, I've hunted deer with varying levels of success for 26 years with all legal equipment - rifle, pistol, bow and muzzleloader - at one time I would have used a spear if it was legal!

I tried scents and soaps and bags of leaves and dirt and anything else that gave me an edge. I hunted a lot and killed several deer. Then I read an article called Brut for Bucks and my deer hunting life changed.

This guy would put on Brut aftershave before going hunting! He claimed that the deer wouldn't know what the heck it was and, being curious, would come to investigate. At the time I smoked so I quit doing ANYTHING special to cover my scent, I smoked on the stand, I washed my clothes with everything else in the laundry and I even tried Brut! My success rate stayed about the same for a while. Then I read another article about a deer's sense of smell and how they could discriminate many, many different odors with each smell. The author claimed scents only gave them something in addition to the human scent to smell and didn't really cover anything.

After this, I still didn't refrain from anything and didn't use scents but I started paying more attention to the wind direction when I set up a stand. I would just go ahead and assume that any deer coming from downwind would smell me and I ignored that direction completely. I killed 24 deer, including 2 real nice 8 pointers, in three years using these tactics (limits are quite liberal in Tennessee).

The most important things for me, when deer hunting, are GOOD camo and keeping movement to an absolute minimum. I've had deer come to my tree and smell my flashlight or where I stood but they didn't seem alarmed unless they saw me move. I had one look up and stare at me for several seconds one time. I got amused and winked at the doe. I thought she would come out of her skin, man they can move fast when they want to!

Scents certainly don't hurt, as long as they aren't overdone, I'm just not convinced they help much and, for me, aren't worth the trouble.

Good luck


Will Beararms
November 11, 1999, 08:15 PM

The wind may be one of the only variables we can have working for us. I think I will avoid the aftershave but I will pay attention to the wind and keep the movement to a bare minimum. I am going to save my money on the snake oil. Thanks for your help.

"When guns are outlawed;I will be an outlaw."

The Mohican Sneak
November 12, 1999, 02:29 AM
I'm a firm believer in earth scents. Something about smelling like a dirt clod I happen to like. I know it's near deer season when I start using it as aftershave! ;) On the way into the woods each morning and evening, I'll grab a handful of pine needles and twist them up. I'll then rub them all over arms, legs, and chest. It makes the hands sticky, but you'll not find a fresher cover scent.

LongPath, great story! I'm along with 2cap though, it must have been a sight!

I'll relate something that happened to me last week. I was sitting in my ground blind, and had scrapes all around me. I had 2 scent wicks out and each one was covered in Tinks (I smell sumpin'! - love that commercial) Anyway, as I watched the food plot, two does made their way into it. A mother and her yearling. They fed along with not a care in the world; until they got downwind of that scent wick. The mother doe went on red alert and the young one had it's attention on momma. The mother stomped, and yanked her head around to look at her little one. She then looked right at the scent wick, which was directly between me and her. I remained still. She then stomped her foot and turned to go back into the woodline. Having watched her for almost 10 minutes, and a buck not showing itself, I figured it was now or never and sent a 150gr ballistic tip through her. The little one (plenty old enough to make it own it's own) went into the woods and began blowing. The mother doe dropped where she stood.

I asked my cousin why did the does spook and his only answer was, "I guess if she's not in heat, she doesn't want to be around one that is". That sounds feasible enough for me.


[This message has been edited by The Mohican Sneak (edited November 12, 1999).]

November 12, 1999, 12:33 PM

I loved the part of your story when you said, " They fed along with not a care in the world; until they got downwind of that scent
wick. The mother doe went on red alert and the young one had it's attention on momma. The mother stomped, and yanked her head
around to look at her little one. She then looked right at the scent wick, which was directly between me and her. I remained still.
She then stomped her foot and turned to go back into the woodline."

I had to chuckle a little when I read your story. I've seen deer do that little "foot-stompin" move so many times I could choreograph it! I'm afraid it wasn't the "doe-in-heat" that had her stomping, it was that "man-in-woods" smell. Remember, the wick was in line with you and the deer. If she could smell the wick, she could smell you too! Like you said, if you stay still you can still get a shot - if they see you they're GONE.


The Mohican Sneak
November 15, 1999, 01:49 AM
Hey Mikey,

Glad you got a chuckle, those deer are something else ain't they?

You're more than likely right. Since she was so close to the scent wick, I assumed. And we both know what that'll get ya!

I was hunting on Allatoona WMA once during bow season. This doe made her way down the hardwood ridge in my direction so I held still.

She made her way to about 20 yards from me, so I turned to prepare for the shot. As I brought the bow up, and started to draw, she busted me! She had me pegged, dead to rights!

She looked me right in the eyes, and for about 30 seconds, we both just stared. Neither one of us blinking an eye. I knew what was coming, and told myself not to flinch, but I couldn't help it. When she brought that right front leg up behind her back and stomped it, I jumped, and took my eyes from hers and glanced down at her foot. When I say behind her back, I mean from right field. All the way up and around, straight to the ground...

Game over, she took off like a bat out of haydes, blowing all the way to the pine thicket.

*shrug* I guess that's why we call it "hunting" and not "killing". ;)


[This message has been edited by The Mohican Sneak (edited November 15, 1999).]