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Different perspective on scent control

dpierce72

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Great read - thanks for the time and effort to hit 'submit'...

And regarding cross posting (link worked fine), I actually see a good amount of information cross-posted because SaddleHunter and The BEAST are the sites many folks frequent.

Assuming each site has different mix of people, it makes sense to get other opinions as neither site alone provides all the feedback/answers. But with the rise in popularity of both sites, it does become redundant if you are a follower of each.

I wouldn't want to limit an author from putting out their viewpoints and soliciting feedback from others, so perhaps a tagline cross posted to 'x' would be relevant.

No strong opinion either way ...and honestly couldn't care less, but cross-posting seems to be a topic coming up more and more.

Sorry for hijacking the thread...

Back to scent control
 

ImThere

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Lewisburg, TN
Great read - thanks for the time and effort to hit 'submit'...

And regarding cross posting (link worked fine), I actually see a good amount of information cross-posted because SaddleHunter and The BEAST are the sites many folks frequent.

Assuming each site has different mix of people, it makes sense to get other opinions as neither site alone provides all the feedback/answers. But with the rise in popularity of both sites, it does become redundant if you are a follower of each.

I wouldn't want to limit an author from putting out their viewpoints and soliciting feedback from others, so perhaps a tagline cross posted to 'x' would be relevant.

No strong opinion either way ...and honestly couldn't care less, but cross-posting seems to be a topic coming up more and more.

Sorry for hijacking the thread...

Back to scent control
I always try to follow cross posts on different websites. You will see opinions vary greatly from different forums. Sometimes you get valueless added content because of the different views. That’s why I was trying to check out the link. What’s the name of the posts over there?


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Jwiggins762

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Jun 13, 2019
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361
Yea I definitely use to be that guy who sprayed down and tried to put on my hunting clothes outside my house and made sure I did everything I thought I could to be scent free. Then I realized that it was to much work and that I would never be scent free. I play the wind now and I'm not stressed about my scent anymore and I'm becoming a better hunter because of it.
 

Tapeworm

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I thought the ranger matthews said as the dog got closer his level of excitement changed.
My friends uncle had a K9 in Vietnam

He said the dogs body language changed as got close to things he was supposed to detect

Trip wires rigged to explosives, enemy soldiers hiding, etc

He said if enemy was in a ditch next to rd the dog behavior was a lot different than enemy hiding in the far side of a rice paddy

If the dog stopped him & blocked him from proceeding that a person or hazard was a very nearby immediate life threat

Also he would find previous hiding spots that were no longer occupied and would alert but somehow “knew” through smell that it wasn’t currently occupied & didn’t stop the handler but “warned/indicated” through body language that there wasn’t an immediate threat so they could investigate

So the dog seemed to differentiate both distance & time elapsed for the smells and based on experience indicate appropriate threat level



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dalton916

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Anyone who’s run trailing dogs knows full well that dogs are amazing at determining scent concentrations and singling out the scent they are interested in. I’ve run beagles on rabbits for years. You can see a rabbit cross, take the dogs up there and they won’t take 3 steps in the wrong direction before they turn around and head off the other, correct, direction.

At the same time, it’s dog dependent as to what they deem “good scent”. I have a male that will sound off early on a track. I have a female that will Hunt along with him and not sound off. After years of hunting with these two I know them and how they go about their job. I know there’s been a rabbit through there when I hear Clifford and in time they’ll find it unless they jump another along the way. When I hear Heidi I KNOW the race is on because she won’t sound off on anything that’s not steaming fresh.

A lot of folks wouldn’t tolerate Clifford, they want all their dogs to be like Heidi, but I like the combination myself.
 

Backstrap Assassin

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Jul 25, 2018
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Michigan
One other study I would pay to see,
My friends uncle had a K9 in Vietnam

He said the dogs body language changed as got close to things he was supposed to detect

Trip wires rigged to explosives, enemy soldiers hiding, etc

He said if enemy was in a ditch next to rd the dog behavior was a lot different than enemy hiding in the far side of a rice paddy

If the dog stopped him & blocked him from proceeding that a person or hazard was a very nearby immediate life threat

Also he would find previous hiding spots that were no longer occupied and would alert but somehow “knew” through smell that it wasn’t currently occupied & didn’t stop the handler but “warned/indicated” through body language that there wasn’t an immediate threat so they could investigate

So the dog seemed to differentiate both distance & time elapsed for the smells and based on experience indicate appropriate threat level



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It would be awesome to do a scent control study test with a dog like that!
 

Allegheny Tom

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I have been an avid bowhunter for the last 30 years. Currently I train dogs for law enforcement. The dogs are trained in narcotics detection, tracking and other methods to locate humans. These two areas of knowledge give me a unique understanding of how dogs and deer utilize their sense of smell. Dogs possess up to 220 million olfactory (scent) receptors and can detect some odors in parts per trillion. A dogs sense of smell is 10,000 - 100,000 times greater than ours. “let’s suppose they’re just 10,000 times better,” says James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well”. Conversely a deer has up to 297 million olfactory receptors compared to humans having only 5 million. Books on training dogs date back to the mid1800’s and our ability to observe dogs recognition and response to odor is invaluable as it relates to how a deer utilizes its sense of smell. That being said it is important to understand that deer and dogs approach odor recognition from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Dogs are trained to located the lowest detectable amount of odor (absolute threshold). Dogs then are able to determine direction and follow the odor to its source by following the slightest change in odor concentration (just noticeable difference JND). Deer detect odor and then have to make a determination wether or not they are in danger. This decision is based on past experience and is the equivalent to a subconscious distance calculation based on the amount of odor detected.



The key element of the “scent control” discussion is recognizing that scent control is a tactic not a hunting philosophy. It is a tactic similar to the use of a grunt call. You don't need to use a grunt call but In some situations it may be beneficial. For the purpose of this discussion I will refer to “scent control” as measures to reduce human odor. This would include washing and maintaining clothing, sprays, oral use of chlorophyl and Scentlok clothing/activated carbon. The use of cover scents and ozone would fall in separate categories. The problem is that scent control constantly gets debated on wether or not it works. Of course it works. I think everyone recognizes that we can reduce human odor. The argument is that with deer having such an acute sense of smell attempts to do so are futile and a waste of time. The issue is further muddied when proponents of scent control allude to the goal of being “scent free”. This is where the scent control argument is completely lost. Hunters on the side of scent control and Scentlok have countless instances of “proof” that it works and the hunters who don’t use scent control have the guy who farts in his Scentlok bibs and a wall full of bucks to say it's a waste of time.



The fact is that deer smell all kinds of things and through life experience assign a level of danger to that odor. A deers sense of smell is its greatest sense and it uses it similar to how we rely on our eye site. Deer clearly show odor recognition by licking their nose and head movement as they determine direction of the odor by interpreting the slightest variance of odor concentration (JND). More importantly a deer uses its sense of smell not only to identify odors but to calculate distance to that odor. This can clearly be observed in tracking dogs as they clearly exhibited changes in behavior as they get closer to the source of the odor. I have no doubt that they can tell exactly how far away the source of the odor is. A certain amount of odor particles correlates to a certain distance. 24/7/365 days a year deer utilize their sense of smell to compute distance. Very few deer have never smelled a human so every deer has a distance it will tolerate in a variety of locations it travels. It is not that it doesn’t smell human odor it is that based on its past experience in that location it is not in danger or has a lower level of concern. This directly relates to hunting pressure and the tolerance of deer to human odor in an urban environment. Deer will have no problem with people moving around in their backyards but if those same people take one extra step into the woods it is a different story.



Scent control is not the act of having no human odor. It is more of an optical illusion. A human smells a certain way at a certain distance. This is based on the deers past experience with human odor related with its daily exposure to all different kinds of odor molecules. A certain level of odor concentration equals a distance. It is a subconscious calculation made by the deer. Similar to us passing a car on a divided highway. We use our sense of sight to make a complex mathematical calculation involving the closing speeds of three vehicles moving at different speeds over an unknown length of roadway. Think how fast we make this decision. Very few of us could actually do the calculation on a piece of paper but we do it all the time. Now imagine that I narrowed the approaching road and put a smaller car approaching in the opposite lane. All our previous calculations were based on what we believed the width of the roadway is and what the size of a car normally is. How much of an impact would that have on the accuracy of that calculation? This is the essence of scent control. If you can lower the amount of human odor you can represent to the deer that you are located further away than is actual. Scent control can give you that “one more step” that is so critical when it comes to bowhunting. It would also be important to say that hunting height has a huge impact on the deers ability to calculate distance and that height alone can reduce odor in a variety of situations.



Scent control is a simple cost vs benefit calculation. The cost of scent control is the effort and time it takes to maintain your clothing, equipment and personal hygiene. It also includes how all that work affects where you decide to hunt. Hard core scent control enthusiasts are far less likely to hike 3 miles to get to their stand because it would require a complete overhaul of their equipment following the hunt. Everything would need to be rewashed because it would be extremely difficult to control sweating with that type of physical exertion. Scent control as a tactic is not necessary or even practical when used in a variety of different hunting strategies. Gun hunters worry very little about scent control because they are normally located at a distance that is outside the area of concern for the deer. Western hunters have little interest in scent control because it is impractical when combined with walking up and down mountain ridges. You would be unable to maintain the clothing or human body odor levels where the cost would be worth the benefit.



The bottom line is scent control is an effective tactic in a variety of situations. Its a tool in your tool box. You can choose to use it or not. In some situations it can be very helpful and in others it isn’t. It can give you that “one more step” opportunity that you otherwise wouldn’t get. It can also prevent you from pushing deep into a swamp or a large area of public land. The big thing is it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach to your entire season. Use scent control in situations you think it would beneficial but don’t limit yourself with that one tactic. Use the wind because the reality is that if the air current that contains your odor never makes contact with the deers nose they will not smell you (not withstanding ground disturbance and contact odor). Choose your strategy, try different things and implement what tactics you feel are going to help you accomplish your goals.
That post wasn't just a home run...its a friggen grand slam.
Much more well written than I could have done, and believe me, many times I've tried to convey much the same points in lots of discussions on odor.

I will split a hair and say that I prefer the term "reduction" more so than "control".
The difference in those 2 terms may seem insignificant, but I believe the term "reduction" better conveys what we are trying to accomplish.

Thanks for a great post. You and I are definitely on the same page.

I would recommend to anyone who is interested in this stuff to read the book by John Jeanneney on blood trailing dogs. It gave me a lot of insight on animals that possess an insane olfactory system. We can learn a lot of info from dogs that we can apply to hunting tactics.
 

Jtaylor

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Corn Woods, NE
Very good read! Although I'm new to the forum, I've been hunting for years and have been using scent prevention measures throughout the years. I have never owned a complete activated carbon suit and have had many successful hunts. Rangermatthews mentioned an optical illusion and I believe he hit the nail square on the head. You're never going to eliminate all human scent but using different tactics to minimize them or disguise them are a definite advantage. Washing clothes, storing clothes in scent free bags, scent free soaps and playing the wind should be pretty obvious. I've been using cedar oils (lots of cedar trees in my area) and making sprays over the past few years using natural cover just to possibly create more of an optical illusion. Have I gotten busted using these sprays? Of course. Next time I go in there I'll try something else. Years ago my dad shot one of his biggest bucks on stand smoking a cigarette. I'm guessing the wind was probably right, but it's possible the deer were close enough to town they were used to people smoking and they felt comfortable. The older a buck gets, the more books he adds to his scent library and as long as we can keep the book closed or maybe open a couple pages I think we can stay a step ahead (or maybe at least to the side) of the smarter older deer.
 

DaWiz9578

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SE Michigan
Great read. I think it is a tool as you mentioned similar to a grunt call. May help in some instances but is it worth the time and effort. That's the question.

Everyone is entitled to use what they want to hunt deer. It's just tough for me to take them seriously when the scent control guys i run into hit a couple shots of scent b gone and start walking downwind. I've ran into more of those than eberharts so my opinion is a little skewed. I respect eberhart, his routine and his results but just too much of a hassle for me.

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Hannah Nyitrai

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That's the most balanced approach I've read/heard. I finally got a full scentlok suit to try this year but will probably leave that at home in times I am not able to give a full effort in utilizing it. Also, sometimes I hunt areas where I'm very confident in the way the wind travels thus making it easier to set up with the odds in my favor. Thanks for sharing.

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BigAl

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Feb 10, 2018
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Midway Tennessee
Good read. I've given up on most scent control. I take a shower in scent free soap/shampoo and use ozone for my clothes, but no more spray and definitely no stressing about carbon suits, reactivating stuff, and obsessively washing my gear. For me, the biggest reason I stopped was because my scent control obsession made hunting miserable.

It's much more fun to hunt the wind and not worry about the rest.
AMEN!
 
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