East Tennessee Outdoors… Deer Scents Part 2

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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I had been watching this long-necked alpha doe and her two fawns for well over an hour. It was in the middle of summer, and a little deer herd, which included about 11 deer in total, was teaching me about deer behavior.

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Most evenings I would park my truck and walk down a little ridge that separated a field and the tree-line. Right on time every evening the same ten or eleven deer would come out into the field to feed. I sat, watched and learned something about them everytime I went to my hiding spot.

Then one evening I was taught the most important lesson of all. I watched the three deer in front of me, and as I turned to look at another deer that was coming into the field, the large doe I had been watching vanished.

I knew she couldn’t have gone far. Suddenly, I heard a blowing noise behind me. The large doe had smelled a part of my scent, and she had slipped around me to investigate who was hidden next to that old field. Once again, my scent had given me away to a deer herd.

A whitetail deer’s sense of smell is amazing. A hunter may be able to fool the deer’s ears, or even his eyes, but it takes work to defeat his noise. Most whitetail deer trust their nose far more than they trust all of their other senses combined.

What can we do to overcome a deer’s sense of smell? There are several products on the market today that allow us to overcome a deer’s nose and even some that call the buck to the hunter’s tree stand or blind.

We can put these products into three categories: scent eliminators, doe in estrus scents, and scent maskers.

The first type is meant to hide your presence in the woods. These are scent eliminators. These products are made to hide all of the scents a hunter carries into the woods from our modern world.

There are products that you can spray on your shoes and clothing. There are also cover scent soap, laundry detergent, dryer sheets and even scent eliminator shampoo. I am a firm believer in some of these products but usually only use the scent eliminators that can be sprayed on your clothing and shoes.

The next type are the scent maskers. These include cover scents that are found naturally in the area you are hunting. These products can include red fox pee, pine or hard woods cover scents or apple scents.

I have not had much luck with these products, but I have used “natural” scents on my hunting property

I was hunting a piece of property that a farmer leased to me. The farm had about 30 head of cattle, so each morning I would get out of my truck and find the freshest cow pie I could find and stand in the middle of it. It worked because to the deer I was just another cow!

The doe in estrus scents are the final type of scents. When the deer are in the rut, these can work when nothing else will.

You can use these scents by dipping a cloth or piece of cotton in them and hanging them from a tree limb or bush near your blind. You can use these also by tying a piece of cotton or cloth to your shoes and dragging it behind you as you walk through the woods.

During the right time of year, you will be surprised at how well these scents work. A whitetail buck will not only come to these scents, they will sometimes stick their noses on the scent and lick them.

Defeat a deer’s noise and you have defeated the deer. When the snow is falling this winter and you are eating some of your deer roast, you will be glad you did.

Always be safe outdoors, and God bless.