When a buck walks through the woods, the one body part that leads his way is his nose. He trusts it and relies on it for his survival. His nose is truly remarkable. It is estimated that a whitetail has more than 60 times the olfactory range of a human. In the right wind conditions, a deer can smell a hunter a mile away.
Human odor, as it pertains to hunters, can include bad breath, perspiration, colognes or perfumes, detergents, cigarette smoke, gasoline, and the list goes on. Hunters who take one or more of these smells into the woods with them risk not seeing a deer. His sniffer will hone in on the odor, causing him to avoid the area completely. So where do we start with scent control? Washing hunting clothing and storing all hunting related garments is the most important thing to remember. If possible, dedicate to hunting one full set of clothing (outer garments, as well as undergarments such as socks, underwear, etc), as well as gloves, headnets and hats. The clothes should be washed in a non-scented soap. The best product is Scent-A-Way Laundry Detergent. It not only eliminates all of the odor in your clothes, but it contains no U-V brighteners.
After washing the clothes you can dry them in a conventional dryer using no fabric softeners or using Scent-A-Way Dryer Sheets, which are available in odorless or with a fresh earth cover scent. You can also dry them on a clothesline. Once the clothes are dry, the environment the clothes are stored in is very important. Hunter’s Specialties has a multi-layered Scent-Safe storage bag that will not let any foreign odors in or out. Seal your clothes in the bag. You can also add a Fresh Earth Scent Wafer to the bag to give the clothes the odor of the hunting area.
You now must make your body scent-free. You should use a scent-free soap, such as Scent-A-Way Soap. Hunter’s Specialties also makes a Scent-A-Way Shampoo. After a shower it is also a good idea to use a towel laundered in Scent-A-Way Laundry Detergent. Once dry, do not use any perfumed deodorant or aftershaves. The best product to use is Scent-A-Way Anti-Perspirant.
As you dress, layer your clothing—first long underwear, spraying down with Scent-A-Way Spray as more layers are added. Scent-A-Way, when added to clothing, does not allow odor to pass from the body into the air. You should then apply a cover scent to match your hunting environment. You can attach Fresh Earth Scent Wafers to your clothes. Many hunters also like to mask their scent on the way to their stand or hunting site by using boot pads soaked with red fox or raccoon urine. These animals do not attract deer but are prevalent throughout the whitetail’s domain.
When refueling your hunting vehicle, wear gloves. Gas pump handles are saturated with odors that can be passed onto the steering wheel. Also, do not wear scent-free hunting boots for anything but hunting. Stepping in an oil spot, or wearing them around the house, will give the boot soles and uppers odors that shouldn’t go into the field. Properly cleaned boots should be stored with clean hunting clothing. You may want to put a scent wafer in each boot or use Scent-A-Way Powder to mask any foot odor.
By following these steps, you can get into and stay in your hunting area without being detected. You will see more game and you will never have to worry about wind direction again. Big bucks got that way for a reason. You must fool his nose to fool him!
Scents and Lures
Now that human odor has been eliminated, you can use scents and lures to attract deer. Scents and lures are really two things. Scents are the actual smells of the target animal and lures are formulated smells that attract the animal through one or more reactions. Deer scent smells like deer and is usually urine. Tarsal or metatarsal glands can be added to urine to create a deer scent that has a strong smell of deer. Urine collected from estrus does has a much different odor and can be used effectively during the rut.
Deer scent is a confidence builder in whitetails. It makes them believe there are, or were, other deer in the area. Tarsal gland scents may trigger a territorial response in an aggressive buck defending his territory in pre-rut and rut. Doe-in-estrus scent may also appeal to a buck’s sexual urges and bring him in for an easy shot. Deer scents are effective on Scent Wicks around the stand, on decoys or when used on scent dispersing boot pads.
Lures are formulated smells that trigger responses or behavior in deer. Lures are categorized as food, curiosity, territorial and call. Lures can fit into one or more of these categories. Food lures trigger hunger in the whitetail. Smells of concentrated corn, apple or acorn extracts can fool a whitetail into thinking food is near. Curiosity lures intrigue whitetails. Since deer are naturally curious, smells that excite them, even smells they have never previously encountered, trigger a search-out response. Territorial lures are a lot like scents. They include deer urine, as well as glands, secretions and musks. Their purpose is to create territorial urges in whitetails by making it smell like another buck has invaded a territory, an estrus doe is nearby, or a more dominant buck is hitting an existing scrape. Territorial lures are the hardest to use because it is possible to spook deer right out of an area. Bucks whose antlers may be acceptable to a hunter may be spooked by the smell of another, potentially larger buck. Call lures combine food, territorial and curiosity smells with a carrier to help the lure reach out. Call lures reach out much further than conventional lures and help put attractive odors in the buck’s nose, bringing him the hunter’s way.
When you apply a lure is also important. Applying doe estrus lures early in the season will not be as effective as during the rut. Scents and lures can be used before the season near tree stand locations to create activity. By using several scents or lures with mock scrapes a “smorgasbord” is created. The curious deer will come to investigate the lure stations. Always make the scrape as you would in a natural situation. A licking branch should be located above the scrape and the scrapes should be approximately 18 by 20 inches. ScentWicks work well for hanging on the licking branch because their porous material absorbs the liquid yet allows wind currents to pass through, exposing large areas of the scent surface to the wind.
A deer makes a scrape for several reasons. All scrapes are territorial markers, but some act as doe attractants and others are used to intimidate other bucks. A mock scrape can make a buck think that another buck has intruded on his territory. A line of scrapes means that several bucks in the area made them as they used a common travel route. Each buck is trying to show his dominance to the other bucks that live in a given area. A very large scrape in a wooded area would be a great place to make some mock scrapes. Remember to be scent free when creating a scrape or adding scent so there is no trace of human odor. Scents and lures can also be used with the H.S. Scent Drag or Retract-a-Drag to create a scent trail that will lead that buck to you. The following Primetime scents can work to bring in that big buck.
|Premium Doe Estrus (rut)||Interdigital Gland (rut)|
|Premium Doe Estrus Plus (rut)||Tarsal Supreme (pre-rut and rut)|
|Natural Doe Urine (all season)||2 Drop Supreme (call lure/all season)|
|Dominant Buck Urine (pre-rut and rut)|
Visit our products section for more information on our scents and scent control products.