De-scenting for deer


January 21, 2003, 07:07 AM
How far do you take it? I know guys that refuse to get into their de-scented gear, which they store in plastic bags with oak leaves and pine branches, until they are way out in the woods, for fear of contaiminating themselves with human and/or unnatural scents, and I know guys that smoke while on their stands...I've seen both types take deer....I've de-scented, only to get into the woods and realize my gun reeks of oil :( What's practical?

Some feedback please.

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January 21, 2003, 07:45 AM
You have made the points I have witnessed for years.

I think it all comes down to two things.

1. Eliminate as much human scent as possible

2. Use the wind.

Of course this always doesn’t work.

I have been involved over the years in training K-9 dog’s.I have seen and trained dogs to do things that I thought were not imaginable.I know of a dog that’s nose was so good that he was able to find some dope that had been (past tense) stored inside a gas tank on a car the week before.

The dog hit on the tank so the tank was removed and no dope was found.After a investigation of this individual it was determined that he had entered the country from Columbia about a week before the stop.That means that the dog was able to smell the dope ,through the gas and protective bag that the dope was stored in.Dogs that are trained for dope DO NOT make false hits to receive a re-ward.Their mind doesn’t work like that.

A deer’s nose is 4 times stronger than a dogs nose according to some of the “expert’s’ I have herd from and if that is true I don’t think you can totally eliminate human scent.

You could ad to the list cover scents.I think using the same cover scent over will no doubt get a smart deer where he can pattern you and your movements so if you use a cover scent change it up from hunt to hunt.

I have not tried this but I know an old timer that swears by diesel fuel as a cover scent.With tractors and other farm equipment equipment always being used on the farm its something that does not necessary alarm the deer.I plan on trying that out next season.

Last I hear what your saying about the oil on your gun.My recommendation on that is to sample gun oils for the one that has the least amount of smell to it and oil your gun at the end of the season and store it in a manner that is dry and can be well ventilated so the smell has a chance to dissipate.There is a company that makes pine scented gun cloths that I rather like.

January 21, 2003, 08:13 AM
I use a Scent-Lok suit for starters. I wash & de-scent all of my outer clothes & then put them in a big plastic container with baking soda. Everything gets sprayed down with a scent killer, including metal. I store my bow/gun along with scent cover wafers in it's case. I always get dressed out side up-wind of any human scenting object such as a vehicle.

The part about getting dressed out side is the worst part, seeing how I hunt into January here in Michigan. I've stripped down to my underwear in -10 degree or colder weather on more the one occasion...

The baking soda idea (not mine) is very effective! Best of all, it's cheap!

The 1st buck I took this year in early bow season was only 20 feet away directly down wind of me! I was standing up on the ground behind some cover weeds, I wasn't even in an elevated position! In all fairness, he did "wind" me at the last second, however it was already too late for him. It's hard to ask for anything more.

January 22, 2003, 07:55 AM
Buy yourself a climbing tree stand. Get the scent above their heads.

I do wash my clothes in scentless detergent, and I store them in containers with cedar chips. Beyond that, I don't get too carried away. This past year was my first season of hunting deer. I took one buck and saw a lot of other deer. None of them spooked on the basis of scent. Had does come right under my stand.

Art Eatman
January 22, 2003, 09:01 AM
Deer behave as though there is some sort of "safe distance line" in their little pea-pickin' heads. Beyond some distance, they're not upset by various noises or by peoples' activities.

Could be that trying to reduce the amount of scent you emit fakes them out as to how far away you really are. Faint whiff = safe distance. Strong dose of human smell = Leave yesterday.

Otherwise, wind direction and any motion you make are the most important factors...


January 25, 2003, 06:02 AM
You know, there are men in mental institutions because of this subject! :D

I could type 20 pages, rofl. I have gone thru the bathing in the AM with baking soda and going completely as scent free as humanly possible hunts, with no deer?

I have had the "screw it" hunts, where you decide it's just too much trouble and got deer?

I have done the inbetween thing and just spray myself with scent sheild and have got deer, and not?

I have done all kinds of attractants and cover scents, also with mixed results.

I shot a solid 8 point whitetail at 20yds with a cigarette going. Freaked me out!

This all from ground stands by the way. I rarely use tree stands.

The one common denominator with 80-90% of deer I have taken has been, silence and no movement. I have noticed that more times than not, deer have approached me when I am in one of those day dreaming modes and have been in starring into oblivion for 30 minutes without realizing it, haha. All of the sudden, Boom, there is a deer!

Shhh, don't tell anyone but, the largest deer I have taken, a record book deer, was when there was no movement and total silence. I had on jeans and a longsleeve shirt, which I never hunt in, but it had stormed all of opening day and at 3PM cleared. So, I went to the woods as I was, with a gun, and sat down in front of a huge boulder and feel asleep. I woke in about an hour to a sound, opened my eyes and saw mossyhorns at 15 yds walking toward me. The rest is history. It can also be said that you are breathing very slowly when like this and putting off less scent but, I believe it more silence and lack of movement.

Deer are used to smelling humans, especially during gun season. I believe that if you try to do a decent job at containing scent, you will usually be ok if you follow the other rules! I actually subscribe mostly to the "least obtrusive theory." The more natural the smell the better. Too many of these cover and attractant scents all over the woods and the deer are smelling stuff they don't normally smell, I don't care how natural the bottle say's they are! The key is not to alert them of anything at all!

One other thing, the one "scent", if you will, I have had more success with than anything I have ever used and doesn't seem to be alarming to the deer for some unknown reason is Vanilla extract or pure Vanilla. There's a little hint for ya. ;)

Movement is one area treestands do help out in! But as far as scent goes they only help in the later hours of morning and early hours of the afternoon. The cold morning and evening air pushes scent downward and actually, the other hours usually have a breeze that swirls scents around regardless of where you are.

Ooops, got a novel going. :rolleyes:

January 25, 2003, 10:21 AM
I believe Marshall hit it on the head.

I don't have a lifetime of deer hunting experience--really just about a season and a half. But I have noticed that I saw deer mainly when I was in a daze, either about to fall asleep or coming out of a light sleep. I say light, because on more than one occasion, I had my eyes closed and my breathing had shallowed out, and for all intents and purposes, I was asleep. But it was light enough that I was still listening, and sound is what brought me out of "the daze." Took my first buck (first deer too) that way this past season. About to doze, I heard noise, thought "oh, another squirrel," opened my eyes to investigate and saw a buck following a doe.

So get out there and sleep, people!

Art Eatman
January 25, 2003, 01:41 PM
Back around 30 years ago, a bunch of us leased a ranch for hunting. "Sparky" was elderly. He'd just drive down the road and park near an earthen stock tank and sit in the car, waiting for some little buck to wander by.

He didn't show up for lunch, one day, so a couple of us drove down to check on him. Mild concern about heart attack, etc.

We came in sight: Sparky was sound asleep in his car. There were wild turkeys all around him. Maybe 50 or so. Three or four were on top of the car.

Sleeping is good, but it helps to wake up.

:D, Art

January 25, 2003, 01:59 PM
I don't use any kind of scent blocker. Hell, I've been known to enjoy a good cigar while hunting!

Of course, it's a whole different style of hunting. You don't sit in a stand here, you walk ridge tops and glass below you. If you have a wind, you just hunt into it. Of course wind tends to rise along the face of high hills and mountains, so as long as you're above your quarry you don't have to worry about it.

I recall paddling a canoe along a lake shore once in Michigan and seeing a good buck watching us from the edge as we approached. He was just sort of curious and watchful until we got just opposite him at no more than ten yards and he caught our scent and blew so hard we saw snot land in the water between us and shore! That deer almost turned inside out trying to get away from us!


January 25, 2003, 03:50 PM
Hahahaha, That would have made a great video of old Sparkey snoozin with turkey on his car Art! ROFL

Keith, I can picture that snot deal! Had a doe come up to me one time not knowing what I was with full camo and face paint etc. She was going to make me any second anyway and flag off any buck that was around so I figured what the heck. I whisper BOO, she tried so hard to leave fast she fell down and all you could see were legs whirlling at 80mph. I got so tickled I had to move stands for the few hours remaining that day. :D

BTW, I am not recommending falling asleep, just using that to illustrate an observation, of course. ;)

February 1, 2003, 03:30 PM
Never! I mean never used the stuff! I know guys who "Smoke" in there blinds. And still get deer.
Deer hunted 7 times brought back 6 times!
I wash all my hunting clothes, in pine-sol before I head out.

Thats my .02cents

February 2, 2003, 11:36 AM
depends on which deer you're after

young does and younger bucks will do real stupid stuff on a continual basis.

Typically the only time mature bucks do stupid stuff is during rut, and that's when they get whacked. Any other time, let them get a whiff of you and they're long gone.

"Rules" don't always apply depending on which deer and what time of the year

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