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Do you practice scent control?

raisins

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Jan 17, 2019
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1,999
I said my state. The most heavily forested state in the nation. Also, whitetails were almost wiped out because of poaching and no game laws. Aka market hunting.
Yeah, in WV, old timers tell me it was very rare to see a deer even while driving. People would pull over to look. I'm sure in the deepest recesses they were still around, but any deer near enough to be easily seen by humans became stew.
 

Robert loper

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Sep 19, 2017
Messages
605
I think this thread is going in a wrong direction
The big tv shows and now some youtube shows are good but even the big a few of the big youtube shows have become almost like TV.
no im Im not taking anything away from sny of them they are all very good and all straight killers.
With that said who has time to travel to multiple states all year and hunt 6-7 days a week.
Also sitting morning and nights. If you cant kill bucks doing that and hunting that much well? You probably should take up knitting.
look im a realist and some of the social media content id just not adding up to me anymore .
im also seeing some actually contradicting themselves season to season. Especially on podcasts.
Plus these groups hunt the lightest pressured states in the country also they hunt the highest percentage of p/y buck states.
wind, stands, sticks , saddles. They all ate tools.
i just tell people Use the basic things learned from these shows and try to implement a few things into what works for you. Adapt to your areas learn how and when the deer use areas.
learn how they adapt to pressure.
There is always gonna be someone who hunts differently than others. As long as we have fun and enjoy. Who cares.
after this year i hunted alot like these dudes on youtube and it all just doesn't work in my areas. Even the whole bedding area stuff is good but the deer adapt quickly to how they are-hunted snd when they are-hunted. to keep consistent you gotta keep adapting to the deer just like the deer adapt to pressure from hunters.
 

Allegheny Tom

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Feb 4, 2018
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Western Pennsylvania
I'll admit it...I'm weak. I swore to myself that I wouldn't allow myself to get sucked into yet another odor thread. But I still read threads like these and eventually my resolve cracks and I gotta chime in.
What I find annoying is the broad-brush phrases, or terms that are absolute. Words like "works" or "can't fool a deer's nose", "only hunt the wind", etc etc...totally subjective terms about things that cannot be quantified in a thread, let alone in the real world of whitetails in the woods.

It's entirely possible that the 2 opposite extremes on this topic can both be correct.
We have to 1st realize that we don't all smell alike. We don't all emit the same level of odor. I would venture to say that a 16 year old boy with raging hormones emits more and stronger odors than a 63 year old. I know this 1st hand, because for whatever the reason, I don't sweat like I did when I was younger. I also don't need deodorant like I used to. For some reason, the level of my body odor is not what it used to be when I was younger...body chemistry? Diet? I don't know the reason.
We all know people that just have a "smell" to them. The same can be said about breath. Some people develop halitosis and some don't. I believe it is possible for some of us to become closer to the odorless-end of the spectrum than others.

The question within those very individual groups is to what extent and methods is the hunter practicing (or may not be) towards reducing odors.
Not all showers are equal. Not all oral hygiene practices are equal. There are more effective, or less effective ways to address the dozens of details that it takes to reduce odors. Just the details within the details can be a thread of it's own.

But minimizing odors has to be put into the context of the real woods scenario.
1st, What is the tolerance level your herd has for any trace amount of human odor? A suburban deer will tolerate more odor than a wilderness deer, and deer themselves are individuals and react individually based on their personality.

Then there is the "hunt the wind" camp. Does this tactic ignore ground scent? Residual odor? How about access routes? Do the wind guys adjust their access routes (approach AND exit routes) when they refer to hunting the wind? I've had to take some crazy routes in order to keep my odor from blowing towards the deer. And sometimes alternate routes just aren't feasible.

And then we also have terrain. Do the "hunt the wind" guys have micro properties in hilly terrain, or are they hunting large tracts of flat land? And are these properties in the suburbs or wilderness? Did the hunter practice extensive odor reduction or not? Hunt the wind? Definitely! Rely solely on the wind? Your area must have more stable wind patterns than mine.

Also, seldom does anyone define the "hot zone"...the area that deer will definitely show an extreme response to human odor.
I do agree that under certain conditions, with an educated deer in close, it's nearly impossible to go undetected to the point of zero alarm. Which is another point...Yeah, we might not be able to go 100% undetected, but can we go undetected enough that it doesn't blow the situation? Maybe the lead doe gets just a little nervous and walks out, but the buck that's following her doesn't "smell a rat" (pun intended). I guarantee you, if she blows out in utter panic because she got a full nose of a guy that practices zero odor reduction, the odds of us getting a bow shot at the buck following her are gonna be pretty slim.

How about a deer 300 yards away? You know, the ones that we don't even know are there. Can a "clean" hunter have a smaller hot zone than the "dirty" hunter? You bet.

Do I practice scent control? Yep, but it's more accurately described as odor reduction. I'm also religiously watching the wind and am quite picky about access routes. It's a total package deal.
Does it help my situation, my hunts? There's no doubt that it helps me, and I'm not saying that from a "whatever gives me confidence" point of view. I say that from 50 seasons and observations from tens of thousands of encounters with the deer I hunt. Would the next guy be as successful with his body chemistry, his odor reduction tactics, on his land and his deer? There's no possible way to make an intelligent comparison.
So cut the crap about talking in absolutes as to whether scent control works or not.
It "works" (I hate that term) for me.
 

DroptineKrazy

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SH Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
1,011
Location
Brunswick, Maine
I'll admit it...I'm weak. I swore to myself that I wouldn't allow myself to get sucked into yet another odor thread. But I still read threads like these and eventually my resolve cracks and I gotta chime in.
What I find annoying is the broad-brush phrases, or terms that are absolute. Words like "works" or "can't fool a deer's nose", "only hunt the wind", etc etc...totally subjective terms about things that cannot be quantified in a thread, let alone in the real world of whitetails in the woods.

It's entirely possible that the 2 opposite extremes on this topic can both be correct.
We have to 1st realize that we don't all smell alike. We don't all emit the same level of odor. I would venture to say that a 16 year old boy with raging hormones emits more and stronger odors than a 63 year old. I know this 1st hand, because for whatever the reason, I don't sweat like I did when I was younger. I also don't need deodorant like I used to. For some reason, the level of my body odor is not what it used to be when I was younger...body chemistry? Diet? I don't know the reason.
We all know people that just have a "smell" to them. The same can be said about breath. Some people develop halitosis and some don't. I believe it is possible for some of us to become closer to the odorless-end of the spectrum than others.

The question within those very individual groups is to what extent and methods is the hunter practicing (or may not be) towards reducing odors.
Not all showers are equal. Not all oral hygiene practices are equal. There are more effective, or less effective ways to address the dozens of details that it takes to reduce odors. Just the details within the details can be a thread of it's own.

But minimizing odors has to be put into the context of the real woods scenario.
1st, What is the tolerance level your herd has for any trace amount of human odor? A suburban deer will tolerate more odor than a wilderness deer, and deer themselves are individuals and react individually based on their personality.

Then there is the "hunt the wind" camp. Does this tactic ignore ground scent? Residual odor? How about access routes? Do the wind guys adjust their access routes (approach AND exit routes) when they refer to hunting the wind? I've had to take some crazy routes in order to keep my odor from blowing towards the deer. And sometimes alternate routes just aren't feasible.

And then we also have terrain. Do the "hunt the wind" guys have micro properties in hilly terrain, or are they hunting large tracts of flat land? And are these properties in the suburbs or wilderness? Did the hunter practice extensive odor reduction or not? Hunt the wind? Definitely! Rely solely on the wind? Your area must have more stable wind patterns than mine.

Also, seldom does anyone define the "hot zone"...the area that deer will definitely show an extreme response to human odor.
I do agree that under certain conditions, with an educated deer in close, it's nearly impossible to go undetected to the point of zero alarm. Which is another point...Yeah, we might not be able to go 100% undetected, but can we go undetected enough that it doesn't blow the situation? Maybe the lead doe gets just a little nervous and walks out, but the buck that's following her doesn't "smell a rat" (pun intended). I guarantee you, if she blows out in utter panic because she got a full nose of a guy that practices zero odor reduction, the odds of us getting a bow shot at the buck following her are gonna be pretty slim.

How about a deer 300 yards away? You know, the ones that we don't even know are there. Can a "clean" hunter have a smaller hot zone than the "dirty" hunter? You bet.

Do I practice scent control? Yep, but it's more accurately described as odor reduction. I'm also religiously watching the wind and am quite picky about access routes. It's a total package deal.
Does it help my situation, my hunts? There's no doubt that it helps me, and I'm not saying that from a "whatever gives me confidence" point of view. I say that from 50 seasons and observations from tens of thousands of encounters with the deer I hunt. Would the next guy be as successful with his body chemistry, his odor reduction tactics, on his land and his deer? There's no possible way to make an intelligent comparison.
So cut the crap about talking in absolutes as to whether scent control works or not.
It "works" (I hate that term) for me.
Awesome reply @Allegheny Tom. Some excellent points there. My main beef is when people say scent control is a waste of time. It sure can't hurt your odds. People also forget that entry routes and playing the wind are a form of scent control. Like I keep saying, less scent is always better than more scent.(unless your a driver in a deer drive) :grinning:
 

BigAl

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Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
474
Location
Midway Tennessee
For me......yes odor control is watching the wind....milkweed. But as far as anything else.....like stated before I like figuring out what they do on certain winds. Its all part of the fun to me. Yes, it helps to do the whole protocol and 25 ft up helps too. But, all the work to get scent down on you and your gear was waaaaay to much trouble for me. I have learned that deer travel corridors with certain winds in my favor help me get closer and see more deer. If you are having fun with it...use it. Milkweed and thermals for wind direction is king....I enjoy hunting again. Lol
 

Allegheny Tom

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Feb 4, 2018
Messages
4,276
Location
Western Pennsylvania
For me......yes odor control is watching the wind....milkweed. But as far as anything else.....like stated before I like figuring out what they do on certain winds. Its all part of the fun to me. Yes, it helps to do the whole protocol and 25 ft up helps too. But, all the work to get scent down on you and your gear was waaaaay to much trouble for me. I have learned that deer travel corridors with certain winds in my favor help me get closer and see more deer. If you are having fun with it...use it. Milkweed and thermals for wind direction is king....I enjoy hunting again. Lol
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying everyone should practice odor reduction. If it seems like a hassle and takes enjoyment out of the hunt then by all means, don't do it. But I kinda like doing this stuff. I get huge satisfaction when I have deer cross my trail and not bust me. It's fun to watch my milkweed float right past deer and they show little to no alarm. What is not fun for me is to have a doe cut my trail and stand there stomping and snorting and the buck following her turns the other way. That scenario doesn't happen to me anymore because of the odor practices I use.

What I do take issue with is when someone says that you can't fool a deer's nose. Broad-brush statements like that have absolutely no context to them. They seldom define distance, humidity, odor residual and how long it takes to dissipate, fringes of the scent cone, ground scent, or deer personality. Heck, they don't even mention deer age in their statement.

Sometimes they will compare it to dog studies, but they never stop to think about how environmental conditions effect the dog's ability to smell. Anyone who runs dogs will tell you that dogs have good days and not so good days when the humidity is low. Ground scent will dissipate faster on dry days, and the less the initial odor (as in clean boots and less contact with vegetation), the faster it will dissipate.

So, exactly what is "fooling a deer's nose" and why can't we ever achieve it (in the mind of some)?
I contend that minimizing my odor, in effect, does fool them. Especially when compared with taking no reduction practices.
I used to get odor busts from ground scent regularly, to the point that I wouldn't walk in certain areas (not cross trails) because of the fear of educating deer. I now take steps to minimize my odor to the point that I seldom have ground odor busts.
My stands stay fresher longer. I can hunt stands more times before they burn out.
Is that fooling a deer's nose? I'd say so.
 

BigAl

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Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
474
Location
Midway Tennessee
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying everyone should practice odor reduction. If it seems like a hassle and takes enjoyment out of the hunt then by all means, don't do it. But I kinda like doing this stuff. I get huge satisfaction when I have deer cross my trail and not bust me. It's fun to watch my milkweed float right past deer and they show little to no alarm. What is not fun for me is to have a doe cut my trail and stand there stomping and snorting and the buck following her turns the other way. That scenario doesn't happen to me anymore because of the odor practices I use.

What I do take issue with is when someone says that you can't fool a deer's nose. Broad-brush statements like that have absolutely no context to them. They seldom define distance, humidity, odor residual and how long it takes to dissipate, fringes of the scent cone, ground scent, or deer personality. Heck, they don't even mention deer age in their statement.

Sometimes they will compare it to dog studies, but they never stop to think about how environmental conditions effect the dog's ability to smell. Anyone who runs dogs will tell you that dogs have good days and not so good days when the humidity is low. Ground scent will dissipate faster on dry days, and the less the initial odor (as in clean boots and less contact with vegetation), the faster it will dissipate.

So, exactly what is "fooling a deer's nose" and why can't we ever achieve it (in the mind of some)?
I contend that minimizing my odor, in effect, does fool them. Especially when compared with taking no reduction practices.
I used to get odor busts from ground scent regularly, to the point that I wouldn't walk in certain areas (not cross trails) because of the fear of educating deer. I now take steps to minimize my odor to the point that I seldom have ground odor busts.
My stands stay fresher longer. I can hunt stands more times before they burn out.
Is that fooling a deer's nose? I'd say so.
Awesome man.......glad it works for you! Really! Some people can do it well! I really hated it....... I love the way it is now because I don't worry about any more. If I'm smelled, so be it. I have figured out that if I position myself down wind of bedding with the wind in my favor and......his favor too, I see more bucks....good bucks. I watch entry and exit. Don't get me wrong I ain't dirty but I'm not sprayed down or scentlok up either. With the limited time I get to hunt and scout, I learn alot after season then setup accordingly. I'm back to having fun like I used to. We can be successful both ways! That is what is really great about hunting.....there is no set way to get out and get it done. Woodsmanship works for all of us!
 

raisins

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Awesome man.......glad it works for you! Really! Some people can do it well! I really hated it....... I love the way it is now because I don't worry about any more. If I'm smelled, so be it. I have figured out that if I position myself down wind of bedding with the wind in my favor and......his favor too, I see more bucks....good bucks. I watch entry and exit. Don't get me wrong I ain't dirty but I'm not sprayed down or scentlok up either. With the limited time I get to hunt and scout, I learn alot after season then setup accordingly. I'm back to having fun like I used to. We can be successful both ways! That is what is really great about hunting.....there is no set way to get out and get it done. Woodsmanship works for all of us!
Scentloked up....a new reality show where poachers do hard time.....
 

Jeremy_D

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Mar 7, 2020
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To all you just play the wind guys. So if I invented a pill that you could take that would keep you from emitting any human scent at all for say 24 hours your telling me you wouldn't buy it. Bs. Less scent is always better than more scent.
This doesnt even make sense.
 

Jeremy_D

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WISCONSIN
What doesn't make sense about it? The less scent you give off the better.
People are questioning scent control and if its worth it. How does that compare to knowing you are walking around scent free? The post was completely pointless to the conversation. You are comparing apples and pizzas.
 

Plebe

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Sep 14, 2020
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People are questioning scent control and if its worth it. How does that compare to knowing you are walking around scent free? The post was completely pointless to the conversation. You are comparing apples and pizzas.
Apples and pizza? This comes to mind. You can almost smell it.

I‘m betting deer associate certain smells with certain things....best not be associated with things they want to avoid...or not let them smell you...

I think his point is nobody wants deer to smell them. Anyway...



E262C779-0D5E-41DD-A40A-9DC132D03B81.jpeg
 
Last edited:

DroptineKrazy

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Holy crap that looks good! I'm just saying that if you could eliminate all your scent before you hit the woods you would rather than ignoring scent control all together.
 

Jimmy Wallhanger

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Jul 15, 2014
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I have talked to John several times, believe me he doesn’t hunt the wind he picks a tree and hunts it no matter the wind direction. When I hear people say, “play the wind” I chuckle a little. The wind plays you! I hear all the time, “I can’t hunt that spot because the wind is wrong” and really how many of you can honestly say that when you’re in a spot the wind never shifts and know exactly where the deer will be coming from. With 30 years of archery hunting that’s NEVER been the case for me. Also it’s funny that most guys will say, “I only play the wind” but also use some form of scent control on top of that. I’ve never heard someone say I strictly play the wind and don’t use anything else. Someone please tell me that they never use scent free soap on their body or hunting clothes during hunting season and just, “plays the wind” and has killed multiple high pressured big mature bucks. If people say you can’t beat a deers nose then why bother with anything that will help eliminate your scent. I’ve said earlier in this thread that everyone uses some form of scent control it’s just what lengths you will go to help reduce it. I’ve learned what to do so I can just pick a tree and hunt it. Been winded just like everyone else but I am confident enough with my scent regimen to just pick a tree and hunt it when I want and that is way nicer than waiting for the right wind.
Dan Infalt does zero scent control and kills alot of big bucks

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Jimmy Wallhanger

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To all you just play the wind guys. So if I invented a pill that you could take that would keep you from emitting any human scent at all for say 24 hours your telling me you wouldn't buy it. Bs. Less scent is always better than more scent.
Huge difference between zero and less scent man....

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