If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby dan » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:40 pm

Research shows that deer have up to 297 million olfactory receptors in the nose, plus a vomeronasal organ (that detects scents/odors) in the roof of their mouth. Dogs have up to 220 million olfactory receptors in the nose, plus a vomeronasal organ. Humans have up to 5 million olfactory receptors in the nose, but no vomeronasal organ.


According to my math a deer can smell 27% better than a dog...

I have been fascinated by dogs tracking ability. I watched a reality crime show once and they were searching for a serial murder who ran out of state
and got a tip that he was living in a motel in a different state. They got a search warrant and went to the motel. Dude was gone. They went to the manager and he said the guy ran out of money and had to leave or something to that effect. He had been gone for 3 days. So the detectives have been all over this room looking for evidence but the maid has already cleaned.
One of the cops notices a coke can (soda) in a trash can. They determine
the wanted man threw the can in the trash. They bring in the police tracking dog. With the whole room full of cops and different human scents one of the cops puts on a surgical glove reaches into the garbage can pulls out the coke can and has the dog sniff the finger prints or where the guy handled the can.
Dog lights up and follows the scent out of the room and down a busy street where dozens of different people walk every day. follows the scent down the sidewalk a ways then into a park and across a creek, up a hill into a woods, and right to the criminals lean to where they found him napping... 3 days after leaving the motel. :shock:
Do you really think, that you can "fool" that nose?
Well, now consider that a deer smells 27 % better than that dog.
Your wind blows to that deer, or he crosses your path, he is going to smell you...


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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Mike » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:25 pm

(Myself) As an animal who doesn't isn't primarily a prey animal and who doesn't primarily rely on my nose for protection, somewhere in my brainstem its wired that if I am out walking in the woods and detect a faint odor of a skunk, I may or may not even notice it, but it doesn't bother me, but if I catch a strong whiff, I am on alert. Don't know if I am right or not but my guess is its the same with deer.

One book I have has a quote from Stan Potts that reads something like if deer freaked out everytime it smelled human scent, they would never stop running. If a deer can smell soooo much, which I believe they can, they need to process it all somehow. At least where I hunt, depending on wind direction they have to have some type of house, car, road, dog, cat, human odor floating around at all times. They have to have a way to sort and process it, and I think at least in part has to be a concentration of molecules type of thing ( and maybe freshness of those molecules??) This makes me think there is something to a little scent vs a lot of scent.

If its pointless, I can't help but ask are trappers are more successful when they do it? Why did Indians practice it? Why do dogs roll in cow pies?

"Your wind blows to that deer, or he crosses your path, he is going to smell you..."
Agreed, but does he react to what he smells? Or keep coming in for the shot. With ground scent at least, I feel pretty good about my odds the deer will keep coming in.

I think if I hunted flatter country, I wouldn't do scent control as much, but in the hills its very unpredictable. I have thermals going the wrong way, wind is always changing, even on ridge tops. Stuff that goes against everything you hear or read happens to me all the time. I don't really take risks with wind, its the #1 factor in where I sit, how I pick stand etc, but keeping ground scent to a minimum on small acreage and unpredictable hill effects are why I do it. Its obviously not needed to kill big bucks, but I think its a useful tool in certain circumstances.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby GRUD » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:36 am

My 2 cents, great topic.

I think deer can smell you a lot farther away than you can imagine. I know I have smelled a cigar across a lake while fishing a good half mile from the other boat with the guy smoking it.

My thought is that a deer can smell you no matter what, but I think they can somewhat tell how far away you are and react accordingly. That being said, deer of different age classes have different tolerance levels for how close to the source makes them uncomfortable. Of course a three year old buck tolerates much less than a yearling. So I think scent control may fool the deer into thinking you are a bit farther away than you really are but not enough to make any difference in bow hunting. And I believe a lot of times if a bedded buck gets your scent he wont bolt but just stay put until dark.

Lastly, I sometimes use cover scent on my rubber boots. I once killed a really nice buck who was at least 2.5 mabey 3.5 year old in a pressured area. I rubbed my boots down with black walnuts before I walked in because I needed to cross a trail. The buck did come down the trail and I think he smelled a branch that I brushed against because he stopped and picked his head up on alert. At that point he was only about 6 yards from my tree though. I actually was going to pass him but when he picked up his head his rack was much nicer than I thought.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby dan » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:01 am

If its pointless, I can't help but ask are trappers are more successful when they do it?

The way I was successful trapping was not by wearing scent loc suits... Or by practicing scent control the way people do for deer hunting. The idea was to not get human scent on the trap itself. Even though small critters don't have the nose or intelligence that a deer has, getting human around the area was inevitable. But boiling and treating the traps and never ever handling the traps with anything other than rubber gloves would keep the critters from knowing exactly were the trap was located. I also never pit bait or scent right with the trap, but rather the trap was placed where the critter would not expect it and trigger the trap while investigating the bait scent. The trap would be placed where the animal would have to step on his way... I also experimented in setting water sets with no rubber gloves and direct handling of the traps and found out that critters can indeed smell your human scent to some degree on traps that are under water. Catches increased dramatically when the no trap touching rule went back into effect.

Why did Indians practice it?

I am part Menomonee Indian. I am not aware of any scent control Native Americans used? However, they were only human, if they did use scent control that does not mean that it was a great tool... They also believed in praying to animal spirits, the sun, rocks, the moon, and other things as well as going to a medicine man who would do a dance and put some items in a bag worn around the neck to make the hunt more successful.
I don't really believe that stuff helped either...


Why do dogs roll in cow pies?

My guess would be they like to smell like crap :lol: But really, thats not scent control, that would be cover scent, and I believe that has been proven not to work... If you put a five gallon can of gas in a field and a deer came along he would smell the gas AND your finger prints on the container.
I also believe that using a strong odor to mask a minor odor will draw attention from the prey who will smell the mask odor and when it catches there attention they will also notice the minor scent. But really, that don't matter much either, cause if they get downwind they will smell it regardless of cover scent.

if deer freaked out everytime it smelled human scent, they would never stop running. If a deer can smell soooo much, which I believe they can, they need to process it all somehow.

Correct.. I believe they can tell about how far away you are by your scent and the wind stream... I find it extremely interesting when the wind swirls and I get winded in hilly terrain. I have noticed that deer that are upwind and get that swirl don't usually stop and look around, instead they usually spin there head around and look right in my direction and try and find me or they run... But never at me. They never mistake that the wind came from the direction the wind is blowing.... But me? I am out scouting and smell a rotting carcass and want to find out if a rack is attached, I have a hard time figuring out which direction the smell is coming from

I am out walking in the woods and detect a faint odor of a skunk, I may or may not even notice it, but it doesn't bother me, but if I catch a strong whiff, I am on alert. Don't know if I am right or not but my guess is its the same with deer.

Comparing your sense of smell to a whitetail is not apples to apples...
It would be more like having a skunk all out spray you and you using a wash clothe and water for 5 minutes and thinking your wife won't smell you. A deers sense of smell is 100 million times what yours is...
They have 297 million olfactory receptors in the nose, plus a vomeronasal organ... YOU have 5 million olfactory receptors in the nose, and no vomeronasal organ...
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:58 pm

Regarding the dog rolling in the cowpie, dead carcass or whatever other god-awful smelling thing they can find-

There's a lot of opinion out there that they do this as a cover scent, but dogs and wolves roll in dead deer carcasses all the time and I don't think the deer think this is a good cover scent at all...

Dogs use their noses like we use our vision, their world is all about scent. They "wear" smells like we wear clothes, and the more they stink, the more "dominant" or stylish they feel they are among the other dogs or wolves.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby PLB » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:26 am

I always wondered how some of these outfitters can be so successful in the hill country :? You can do everything you can to be as scent free as possible, but the guy sitting over the next hollow in a stand could get you busted or vice versa? It doesn't take big bucks long to figure out they are being hunted, even in less pressured areas. I think that's why you see so many 2.5 year old bucks being killed in these hunting videos. The big ones are there but they are moving at night. There are exceptions during the rut I'm sure, but the guy who hunts a small property a lot and thinks he is getting away with it everytime out is only educating the true trophy animals and in the end is fooling himself.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby basspro05 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:57 pm

Bump...
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Lockdown » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:23 pm

:mrgreen: this might be my new favorite thread.

Every time Dan had a rebuttal it was logical and very hard to argue against.

As soon as I gave up scent control I started enjoying my hunts sooo much more. I don't know how many times in the last three years that I've had a deer cross my trail or go "downwind" and not bust. I now know my scent stream never reached the majority of those deer.

Last year I had a doe cross my trail, in bow range, in hip high grass an hour after I accessed my stand. She stopped, sniffed, looked around for danger then stood motionless for a minute or so. Then she walked off. (Public land adult doe if it matters to you.) Back in the day I would have thought "Yeah baby :dance: scent control is on point!"... instead I sat there and laughed to myself thinking about all the time money and effort I used to waste.

Like was mentioned earlier in the thread: a deers sense of smell is so incredible they can smell how far away you are and how recent the scent is. When my buddy's pheasant dog hits a trail, she knows within 20 feet if she is following the bird the right direction or not. He also said he can often tell if she's on a rooster or a hen. 8-)

Dan mentioned the crime show where the dog followed the 3 day old trail. I watched one where a bloodhound followed a human scent trail for many miles down a highway AFTER THE SUSPECT LEFT IN HIS VEHICLE. How can that be??? The only thing that made sense to investigators was he was driving with his window down and arm resting on the window ledge. :shock: THATS INSANE.

And deer can smell better than a dog... there is no winning that war.

Play the wind. Hunt mobile. LESS STRESS. MORE FUN :D
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Dewey » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:43 pm

Glad this wasn't one of the very early threads where I actually believed Scent Lok was working because I had deer downwind never smell me. I was pretty naive. :lol:

Discovering milkweed and paying attention to thermals proved me wrong. It was quite the awakening. The deer never smelled me because thermals were carrying my scent away from them even though they were downwind.

Dan saved me a whole lot of money over the years. No more wasting cash on Scent Loc, special sprays and special soaps.

Now as far as camo patterns go I believe 100% that it makes a difference. I have done enough experimenting in my life to prove without a doubt that it absolutely does matter.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:09 pm

Spraying rose perfume on a cow paddy does not make it smell like a rose.. Instead it smells like a cow dropped a deuce in a rose bush. I look at scent control the same way. On the approach stay downwind side of anything deer use (or at least make a attempt) realize after your hunt is complete your ambush spot is saturated and deer are going to know u were there. Unless rain drops immediately which gives u a free bee! U can not and will not EVER beat, trick or jam a deers scense of smell! Air currents are your only option, the sooner u accept this and quit wasting your money on wizardry products and looking for shortcuts the better of u will be.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Wannabelikedan » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:40 pm

I never was a scent control "freak" aside from substituting my normal soap for the "scent-free" soap during season and using the spray. I know many that are way overboard. I still like using the soaps just because they lack loud smelling frangrances that everything seems to have these days. Still, not "scent-free" but rather less intense or neutral smelling which MIGHT have some truth or value if that makes sense. I don't think we can even begin to comprehend how much a deer can smell or how sensitive their nose is at deciphering individual smells.

Yes I've had deer downwind that didn't hint of ever smelling me that would chalk that up in favor of the scent-free gimmick(never had a clue of thermals). But there was always one thing that I couldn't ever argue that it doesn't work on the "scent-free" spectrum and will show every time. Watch a coyote cross your ground scent path or downwind of you and they will come unglued every time.

IMO. Just because a buck doesn't blow at you every time like most does do doesn't mean they don't smell you. A deers reaction to any predator scent is more complex(and varies) than a predator reacting to another more dangerous predator's scent like a human. Only when they think they're in immediate danger do you see that hard negative reaction.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby Divergent » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:43 pm

I don't know about you guys, but I'm not as dark as the Indian. I'd be blinding the deer with my light skin.

Related to some of the scent comments...I think the Indians used to not eat anything spicy for a week before a hunt. I think that was to keep their body odor in check.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby basspro05 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:08 am

Dewey wrote:Glad this wasn't one of the very early threads where I actually believed Scent Lok was working because I had deer downwind never smell me. I was pretty naive. :lol:

Discovering milkweed and paying attention to thermals proved me wrong. It was quite the awakening. The deer never smelled me because thermals were carrying my scent away from them even though they were downwind.

Dan saved me a whole lot of money over the years. No more wasting cash on Scent Loc, special sprays and special soaps.


People change their mind and learn over time...I was curious if any of the members back then had changed their minds so I bumped it!!
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby WV Bowhunter » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:25 am

I think the indians smoked their clothes before a hunt. I tried smoking my hunting clothes with a bee smoker for a few years with various results. I found deer would absolutely smell me when they hit my scent stream. If I had washed all my clothes in scent free, air dried them and then smoked them I would do ok as long as I scent free showered before I went out as well. Once a deer got in my steam they would pop their nose up and smell for a minute or two. Then go about their business. However if I didn't do everything that day and tried to smoke my clothes a second time or smoked them days or weeks after washing when the deer smelled me they would bust out of there blowing.

It ended up being too much work to do my process of smoking each time I wanted to hunt.
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Re: If Scent Control and Camo do not make a difference.....

Unread postby dan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:47 am

Scent control don't work. And I hope they never ever figure it out. Hunting whitetails is fun cause its a challenge. Its a chess match between you and an animal with an increadable nose that is tough to beat. Take a way that animals nose and it becomes just shooting deer. It ain't easy, and it ain't supposed to be. It should be a game of skill and witt, not gadgets and trickery.


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