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Deer Hunting and Scent Control

Deer Hunting and Scent Control

You don’t need to be around deer hunting very long before you hear about scent control. Scent control is important and it’s one of the biggest topics of conversations among deer hunters. This is an important part of preparing for a deer hunt. It also is an area where knowledge has increased greatly. Over the last couple of decades, a lot more has been learned and developed among this area. We want to address some myths and facts surrounding deer hunting and scent control.


Scent Myths

We mentioned that this is a huge topic of conversation among hunters. It is also a source of controversy. There are just so many topics around this that hunters have their own thoughts about. We are not going to tell you that every hunter agrees with everything in this section. This is not a sign that they don’t work just of the controversy that exists.


Myth #1: Scent Control is a Corporate Gimmick
One myth is that scent control isn’t important. There are some that believe that is simply something that was

The use of a good high quality deer scent and lure is helpful in the early and peak season rut. Pictured is Buck Nut Deer Scents (Peak Estrous, Standing Estrous & Peak Rut Formulas)
The use of a good high quality deer scent and lure is helpful in the early and peak season rut. Pictured is Buck Nut Deer Scents (Peak Estrous, Standing Estrous & Peak Rut Formulas)

created by companies wanting to sell their products. There is no doubt that there are many companies making products that are related to scent control.


There is debate about which products are more effective and/or if some of them work at all. There is room for this type of debate. But, the effectiveness of individual products shouldn’t deter from the fact that scent control is important.


It can’t be argued that deer have a very acute sense of smell. Scientific research proved that deer can smell humans up to half a mile away. Smell is the primary form of defense that deer have. It is their early warning system against predators. The deer’s elevated sense of smell shows the importance of scent control. If we take steps to control our scent then we have a better chance of a successful hunt.


Myth #2: I Still See Deer Without Scent Control
Another myth about scent odor is presented by those who do not use scent control but still see deer. Of course, they see this as evidence that scent control is not necessary at all. We commend these hunters. They obviously have done many things right in their hunting preparation. But, it is highly likely that the deer they were seeing were traveling upwind of them. This kept them from smelling their scent.


The other consideration is deer are naturally sneaky. They can move through an area and never be noticed. So, depending on how well these hunters controlled their scent, there were probably many deer that avoided them. These hunters would never see them.


Myth #3: Hunters Went Without It For Hundreds of Years
Our third myth is the belief that scent control is a new industry. That hunters for centuries didn’t use this at all. This statement is not true at all. It is true that mass produced scent control products are newer. But, the overall use of scent control is seen throughout history. Native Americans did things like cover themselves in mud and other things to reduce their scent. Other groups would hunt from the water. They were basically giving themselves a bath first. This myth also negates the importance of technology at all. It is like saying that people went hundreds of years without computers, cars, or planes so we shouldn’t use them. There is no doubt that technology makes us more effective.


We also have to consider the changes in hunting themselves. Our ancestors spent much of their day hunting. We no longer have that option. There are more hunters now than in past decades. Regulation has limited the times of the year and for how many days we can hunt. This produced a need to make the most of the hunting time that we do have.


Tools For Scent Control

Ok, we have addressed the myths about scent control. You should now understand the importance of it. You also should see that scent control technology gives you an upper hand. Now, we want to go through the different things that make up proper scent control.


Your Hunting Clothes

This is an area that many hunters don’t think much about. But, if you put some thought into your hunting attire then you can greatly reduce the scent that you leave. Start by considering the detergent that you use. The majority of detergents on the market add fragrance. These make your clothes smell good. But, they are a red flag to a deer. You want to use a detergent that is completely free of fragrances.


There are several products available to help remove human scent. There are also several companies that create detergent that is meant for hunters. There are also some home remedies. Some use borax and baking soda to make detergent at home. We have seen this recommended for people who are allergic to artificial fragrances.
Control Scent Coming From Your


Making sure that you wash in a fragrance free detergent keeps your clothes from alerting deer. You also need to make sure that your body itself isn’t a problem. The majority of shampoos, body washes, and soaps, even toothpaste contain fragrances. You want to avoid using these before going hunting.


Don’t Contaminate Your Clothes

This one goes with our discussion earlier. However, it bears its own section. You need to be aware of everywhere you go and everything you do before your hunt. You don’t want to take steps to reduce your scent profile but then eat breakfast at a restaurant. This will increase the scent that you are putting off. You also want to stay away from putting gas in your vehicle, etc.


One article is not going to put the scent control debate to rest. Our goal was to give you things to consider. We did that by addressing common myths over scent control. Once you understand the importance of scent control and how it can help you then it was time to look at specific steps. We discussed how you can reduce your scent profile by paying attention to how you wash your clothes and yourself. You also want to pay attention to where you go on your way to hunt. You know have a better understanding of deer hunting and scent control.




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I’m an editor, hunter, writer, author, and photographer who lives and breathes the hunting lifestyle. The Out of Doors is my playground. I specialize in the daily management of the Hunting Magazine, publishing hunting industry-related content to the digital pages of our hunting journal.

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