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East Tennessee Outdoors… Whitetail Scents



Anyone who has ever tried to kill a whitetail deer knows that the deer’s sense of smell is its most useful tool.

A hunter may get away with making a little noise in the woods, as long as it sounds like the woods around them, and a hunter may fool the deer’s sense of sight.

Camo clothes are very common while deer hunting though some question how effective the camouflage really is when it comes to fooling a deer.

Deer do not see in color, so some hunters believe that as long as you do not move and blend in with your surroundings, you can fool a deer’s sense of sight.

With all of this in mind, there are only a few instances where you can fool a deer’s sense of smell. It is a deer’s go-to weapon for protection against all types of predators, man included.

They trust their nose more than anything else because they have learned over time that their nose is never wrong.

When a deer hunter goes into the woods looking to fill the freezer with deer meat, he is at a distinct disadvantage.

We have every type of scent that you can imagine on us, including the smell of the food we eat, sweat, smoke, deodorant, hair shampoo, and scented soap to name just a few.

Our clothes are washed in scented detergent and may have the smell of that gasoline on them from when you filled up your truck that morning.

Our shoes carry all of the scents from where we have traveled on a daily basis, and even our guns smell like oil or other cleaning fluid. All of this is a signal to any whitetail deer to get out of town for a while because the woods have been invaded.

With this huge advantage held by the whitetail, how do we have any hope of killing a deer? The trick is to fool the deer’s nose and use it against him.

Fortunately for deer hunters, there is a wide variety of scent covers on the market that will help you cover up the scent of your clothes and your body.

First, cover the scent of your clothes by washing them in “no scent” laundry detergent. Dry those clothes with “no scent” drier sheets that will finish covering up the smell of your clothes.

Next, spray “no scent” cover scent all over you, especially on your boots (tops and bottoms) and also on the sides of your pants.

I am a firm believer in these cover scents because I have used them and watched them work. I have had deer walk in my boot tracks and not flinch because most of my scent was covered.

This gave me a big advantage, and the result was a successful hunt.

Next, stay away from active deer trails. Don’t walk on them or even cross them if you can avoid them. Walking along an active deer trail has cost many hunters a chance to take a deer because the deer was spooked before the hunter even had a chance to see it.

Finally, try not to touch too many trees or limbs with your bare hands if you can avoid it.

Yes, you leave a scent on those leaves, limbs, and trees that could spook a deer.

With a little luck and careful planning, you should be able to get to your deer stand without advertising your presence to every whitetail in your zip code, but is there anything else you can do to tip the scales in your favor while you are on a deer stand?

We will discuss that in our column next week.