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Bear55

Can you fool a deer's nose?

81 posts in this topic

The short answer in my opinion is yes and no. First I like to categorize deer into two groups, mature deer and younger deer. The young deer are easily fooled or just don't seem as wary of scent in general depending on situation.

In my experience there is no fooling a mature buck or doe's nose. Several years back I bought into the whole scent blocker stuff and purchased a nice expensive suite. My deer sightings started to climb but every now and then I would hear one blow at me from a distance. Not overly impressed with just the scent blocker I started to become very careful with all aspects of scent control from showering, washing my clothes in scent killer and dressing in the field. If it had to do with scent control I was doing it. Still every now and then I would get busted by mature deer. After a few seasons I started to realize that there is no fooling a mature deer, their nose is just too sharp. Now there are exceptions to every rule and under certain circumstances anything can and will happen in the deer woods especially during the rut so I will say nothing is 100% but if that mature buck catches your wind 99.99% of the time he will live. Other variables can also come into play like thermals or your scent simply blowing over the deer.

Two recent encounters with mature bucks have pretty much convinced me that no matter how scent free you think you are they will still smell you. A few seasons back I had two does without fawns come in on me down wind, convinced I had eliminated my scent I was ready for the buck to step out, then he snorted at me. This buck continues to snort another 10 to 12 times until the does did a U-turn and headed right back to him. I never saw the bucks head gear but I did get a flash of him and he sported a very large body. The second encounter happened this rifle season. Once again I was as scent free as possible and had 3 does (no fawns again) come into view down wind of me. All three of them were acting nervous and each one looked back into the swamp 5 or 6 times. Once again I was waiting for the big guy to step out but he never showed up. I waited and waited for another 6.5 hours until dark and nothing came through. There was a little snow on the ground so the next day I back tracked the does and discovered a large track back in the thick cover, he froze in his tracks when he hit my scent and turned tail the other way. In both instances I had fooled the does but not the mature buck. Many other times I would see large tracks cut my trail on my way out of the woods, even though I wear rubber boots and spray them down with scent killer the deer would pull a 180 and head back the way they came.

Over the years I have always hunted with the wind in mind but now I make it a priority to only hunt stands with the wind in my favor. From time to time those deer will surprise you and come from a different direction so I still do shower and practice strict scent control. I have no illusions of fooling a big bucks nose but I do feel being scent free can only help my cause by not alerting other deer to my presence. I also feel that every time I hunt an area I leave scent behind, the less I leave behind the less chance of spooking the deer out of the area. And last but not least I practice scent control because one of these times I might fool that doe and actually get a shot at one of these bucks that have eluded me in the past.

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I hear ya and agree. Will post a few scenarios in a minute, that is part of why they become so nocturnal in my area, every 20 acres has a well traveled to deer stand or 3 and they scent us without a doubt and in some areas they are much more touchy.

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Short answer is yes, otherwise no mature bucks would be shot with a bow!

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Short answer is yes, otherwise no mature bucks would be shot with a bow!

Certainly bowhunters shoot many mature bucks each year but I would say all of those hunters have one thing in comon, the wind is in their favor.

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You don't have to fool their nose to kill one. They can't smell ya if you're not upwind. I agree though, you're not going to fool the nose of a whitetail on a consistent basis. When I first started bowhunting, I had one of the original scent-lok suits, the thin gray/green charcoal one. I showered before every sit and recharged it in the dryer only to be winded from stand. They might not blow out but the jig was up. Sure I'd have deer come in downwind and claim success to the suit but chances are high that the currents just weren't reaching the deer's nose. I still continue to shower and spray my head and boots with scent killer but no longer wear the suits. Carbon clothing made to contain humor is a scam. It's been said under oath in testimony by experts saying it's simply not effective. The stuff I do have is used as camo and nothing more. Hard to justify $200 camo clothes, but it is what it is.

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I love hearing how rifle hunting and hunters get the deer moving per se and it's true. I would guess each day after opener unless a major front comes deer sightings tend to dwindle unless you have a large hunk of land and minimal humans hunting it. The " Deer Moving " is a lot of them aren't moving on their own so much as trying to find a hide out to get away from human odor, they are simply freaked out and cutting so much human odor trying to find a pocket to hole up in. The rut helps some, but not spooked or freaked out animals, these animals really go nocturnal and for good reason, I would to. My area, 10 years before bow hunting was allowed and with fewer rifle days to hunt,zone 4 then, saw 114 deer with my rifle during shooting hours, so about 11 per season with 2-5 bucks per year. In the last 10 years with the property bow hunted by 4 people whenever they choose to which is about 2-3 days a week, I've seen 16 and 3 bucks. That's only 98 less deer seen. In the glory years you'd drive by the farmers field and see many deer every night, this fall I drove by maybe 15 times at dusk, I saw a doe and fawn once. The land etc., nothing has changed, the farmer still rotates soybeans and corn every other year. When I hear the word pressure to me it means "scent" that is what changed where I hunt. It is why I leave my 80 acres untouched each year until rifle opener however I did put a T-cam out there,1st time ever, on the windiest October day hoping not to spook anything, I don't even check my stand because I do all pruning etc. repairs in February. T-Cam with no hunting pressure produced 12 different bucks, I bet if I were bowhunting the area enough many of these bucks would be relocated especially the big ones. Sure enough took a 14 pointer the first time I hunted that land, no use going to the neighbors farm anymore, those deer are either freaked or gone because of near constant human odor since mid-September. Pheasant hunting on Sunday and at the neighbor farmers, zero fresh tracks along his swamp edge and cornfield, we walked out to a slough, maybe 20 acres of willow,cattail,grass, and we jumped roughly 30 deer out of it. The bow hunters conditioned those deer to find a no human area and little did I know those nocturnal bandits were in a relatively thin slough hole, instead of running toward bow hunter alley the swamp they trucked across about 2 miles of open field, there was 1 for sure decent buck in the group, there's my scent story. MB

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Muskyman I'd say it's about 50/50 and I'm only talking mature bucks. So many you never get a chance to see etc. because they've winded ya before they need their ears. Just a thought ? Not rippin ya heck lets hook up this summer and drill a few skis if you wish give me a holler.

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Well I guess I should have also included Eyes.

Eyes and Ears of deer have busted me 100 times more often than his nose.

I have passed gas so bad I could hardly stand the smell myself.

Urinated all over the woods, smokin a cig, and had em walk right in.

Not until they seen "movement" or "HEARD" me click my saftey off

did they bust me.

Muskybuck what waters to you pound for ski's?

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Well I guess I should have also included Eyes.

Eyes and Ears of deer have busted me 100 times more often than his nose.

I have passed gas so bad I could hardly stand the smell myself.

Urinated all over the woods, smokin a cig, and had em walk right in.

Not until they seen "movement" or "HEARD" me click my saftey off

did they bust me.

Muskybuck what waters to you pound for ski's?

Muskyman1011

But are you talking about mature deer? My whole point was that mature deer are completely different animals than your standard does or basket racked bucks. Plus if you are downwind of the deer the only defense they have is there eyes and their ears. You do make some good points though, often times you maybe able to get away with certain things but if the deer have any two senses alerted they are usually gone.

I must also add that many of the deer that bust your scent you never see or hear so you really don't eve know they are there.

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I'm not saying they don't have incredible senses, but they make mistakes. They can be fooled!!

I agree with the other post too, about all that scent elimination clothing, I always thought that was overhyped.

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I dont think you can "fool" a mature deers nose. You can certainly play the wind religiously and always have a perfect entry/exit route so you dont come anywhere upwind of the deer. You can spray all the cover scent you want but if that deer smells even a little bit of you or thinks he does, its over. Be smart about the cover scent too. If your hunting an oak ridge dont soak yourself in pine scent.

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on channel 9 2-3 years ago, they had a guy dressed in scentlock and sprayed down with different manufactures products to test how the stuff worked, and played hide and seek with a bomb sniffing dog wich they claim have about the same sniffer as a whitetail and the guy was found 49 of the 50 times they experimented. they claim there isn't enough charcoal in the scentlock suits to make a difference said it would have to be like 20" thick to maybe fool the dog. think about it these drug dogs sniff the stuff out when its wrapped in taped up plastic and stuffed in gastanks. so if a deers nose is equivelent it has to be their state of mind if they care or not when they smell you or play the wind.

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I think you're right. The question should be can you fool a deer's brain vs nose. He probably will smell you or your cover scent or doe urine, but does he care enough to change his course.

This year I had a mature buck within 10 yds of me for about 2-3 min, seemed like 3 hrs. He got to my path in and stopped for about 45 sec looking for me, but he couldn't find me. Then he walked 15 yds at a snails pace until I could shoot. Was he confused or fooled maybe, did he know where I was, Nope. Was I lucky...probably. Did my drag have enough scent on it to confuse him or fool him? I don't know, but the wind was wrong for me and he came from behind me and walked past me. So I guess he made a either made a poor decision or was fooled.

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In my experience there is no fooling a mature buck or doe's nose.

in 99.9% of my expereince i would also agree however in sep. of this year i was walking to my stand when i heard a noise so i took a step off of the trail i was walking on and took a knee next to a large bush a few secconds later a doe and two fawns came walking twards me all three deer walked within four feet of me... one of my best hunting experiences of my entire life. there was a breeze that day not blowing right at them when they were that close but they croseed the wind when thy were about twentl yards away. i ended up sitting there for that evening and saw 13 deer 9 does/fawns and four small bucks ! what a day

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as with anything there is no absolute answer here. you can decrease the scent out there and that may help you harvest tha animal. I get busted way, WAY more by scent than by noise or sight (kinda the opposite of muskyman). I have deer around my stand a lot and once in while they see me, never do they hear me, if I get busted it is usually smell. but i truly believe, if you take good scent control measures it will help. but if a mature whitetail parks directly down wind, you are prolly in trouble. if however, they are off to the side a whisker, your scent control just might make the difference. i can tell the difference between day 1 and day 2 on my stand. right away opening morning, i never get smelled. but by the end of day 2, i leave a much stronger scent cone and get busted easier. that has been my experience.

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I hear ya tanman, I think Sept. deer are a little off key compared to mid-Oct. through where we are today deer, I wished you would've hunted the same spot the next night and see how many you would've seen. It's just so hard to run an experiment on them with so many extenuating circumstances. It's kind of neat when you are able to see deer that you can tell are skirting around other hunters and they act it by body language, the other part of that is I don't plan on seeing any of those sneakers the following day, the mature ones know it's time to feed at night and stay bedded tight in the thickest rat hole they can find. Had 1 cool experiment this year. 1 morning saw a lone buck fawn at about 30 yards, he bedded down. I got my dad and put him on my stand, not to shoot that pipsqueak, but maybe I'd jump a nice buck for him wandering the creek bottom. Kicked up some deer along the way. I told dad to hold tight as I would kick up that buck fawn where I saw him bed. It took until I got about 10 feet away before he bolted. I actually was talking to dad as I approached and the talking was right over him as I had the deer between us, man he held tight.

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For a youngster he sure was already acting like a veteran. Good Luck hunters and fooling a deer's nose, my theory is if I have to cross where the wind will blow your smell into or toward the bedding areas cross quickly and don't lolly gag if your smell would be headed toward the bedding ground, zip by that area quickly. Get to the stand promptly and quietly as possible, I never climb mine immediately,I let things quiet down first for about 10 minutes, but I arrive at least 30 min. before shooting light. maybe it'll give you another 1% chance of success, all the little things you can do just increases your odds. Just like a casino if 6 of you go, I doubt you'll all win, maybe 1 or 2 maybe 3. Choosing the right stand is like choosing the right slot machine sometimes, put more of those 1% things into your hunt and your odds are better.

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on channel 9 2-3 years ago, they had a guy dressed in scentlock and sprayed down with different manufactures products to test how the stuff worked, and played hide and seek with a bomb sniffing dog wich they claim have about the same sniffer as a whitetail and the guy was found 49 of the 50 times they experimented. they claim there isn't enough charcoal in the scentlock suits to make a difference said it would have to be like 20" thick to maybe fool the dog. think about it these drug dogs sniff the stuff out when its wrapped in taped up plastic and stuffed in gastanks. so if a deers nose is equivelent it has to be their state of mind if they care or not when they smell you or play the wind.

My point exactly - my uncle's puppy can track you a day later if you walk thru a swamp with full scent lok and rubber boots. You just can't fool an animals nose. Best you can do is hope to reduce scent until it just isn't as alarming as it normally would be. The other thing I think it helps with is reducing scent lingering near your stand, it COULD help future hunts.

But in the end, all you can really do is play the wind correctly when it comes to scent control

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Quote:
I never climb mine immediately,I let things quiet down first for about 10 minutes, but I arrive at least 30 min.

I'm the opposite, I'm already making some noise walking to my stand, its enevitable, I don't want to make more noise ten minutes later. I feel its best to get in, and get set up as quickly as possible, then let things calm down, but to each his own. I've been in the stand just minutes when deer have come trotting by. Glad I wasn't on the ground waiting to let things calm down.

As for the nose, the biggest buck I have ever shot was because four does were downwind of me and never busted me. The should have, and maybe they could smell me, but they couldn't find me, that buck did a B-line to those does right in my shooting lane. To this day, I owe that buck to lots of luck, proper scent control, and the fact that those does weren't able to put 2 and 2 together. They weren't young does either. The biggest one stood right where I cut a shooting lane not 4 hours earlier. She knew something was different, but when the big guy started comiing out, all focus was on him, as was his on her.

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Yes, you can fool their nose.

Visit you deer stand months before season. Visit it every few weeks.

When season comes, he is "used" to your scent.

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I hunt in on a farm that has 6 kids and gets pressured pretty heavy by the small game hunters on the neighboring stateland. The deer are alert to human scent, but are used to it. On a calm day I can often hear the kids yelling or the farmer and his family working cattle a half mile away, their voices have no effect on the deer.

HammerHandle has a point in some respects.

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Our areas are way different then Trigger. In my area the deer as far as I know never get used to human scent, maybe on the fringes, but not on their trails etc. The yelling I hear and etc. has never been a help to me or I just have yet to see deer or take a mature deer when I can hear human voices. The reason again as to why I wait the 10 minutes is for 1 so I can listen for a little while for deer and my walk to my stand requires hip boots, I'm sweated up every year, my stand makes minimal noise, I can climb it without making barely any noise, and I'm there an hour on a calm day before shooting light on a windy day a half hour before so I'm ready way before I can usually see. If it's really windy I don't wait to climb up, no need. The theory is I am only after a mature buck, nothing else. If there are deer hearing me approach and they are still trying to pinpoint the sound and I stop kneel down and am quiet, I'm hoping they resume normal activity and give up on what they were hearing rather than to have them watch me climb my stand. I have had many deer go past when I'm still on the ground and they resume fairly normal travel. When I feel all is well I crawl up it as quietly as I can and then 20 minutes or 40 minutes later shooting light begins. This year's 14 pointer might have been the lone deer that went past me when I was on the ground, I'll never know but an hour later I bagged a lone large sounding deer. If I would've went up the tree right away I might have blown that guy out of there, took about a minute to hear a deer walking past once I got their, if I'm half way up that tree that buck or deer is most likely long gone if I spook it at that range talking 25 yards. Just my theory to give you another 1 % chance of success.

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Based on your experiences most of you are saying you can't. Based on mine I would have to say the opposite. Now I'm not talking about 100%, but enough that whereas in the old days (before scent control) they'd blow at you when they got a good whiff of you, nowdays I have many more instances where they don't even know I'm around, and the only time they do get something is when there is a very stiff wind blowing right at them. In those cases they know something's up, but they don't bail and don't beller like they used to. I used to think the best wind for bowhunting was a completely calm day. I'd wait for that moment and go to my favorite spot. Sure enough, after sitting there a couple hours I'd hear crunch crunch - here he comes. And more often than not they'd get within a perimeter and seem to go on alert, backing out of the area or going around out of range. I finally learned later (remember this was many years ago) that the whole time I'm sitting there, I am putting off odor, and it's spreading around me without a good breeze to blow it off in one direction. Nowadays, with close attention to detail in my scent control, they don't even know I'm there, and I've had so many deer bed around me and even downwind it's like night and day. And not to doubt anyone who claims they have used it or tried it, but I have hunted with a lot of good hunters, and most people just do not go to the effort to do it right, or don't think about the details. It's not rocket science, but it does take a lot of work and a lot of extra time and preparation. And often they will start out with a good regimen but after awhile give it up and get a little sloppy. And that's when they get busted and say it doesn't work. Again, I'm not saying it's a magic potion, but done right the results are quite incredible. I know that my success has increased tenfold since I've become a devotee. And as far as dogs vs deer, someone above mentioned it - a dog is trained to smell and find certain odors, and I do believe it would be very difficult if not impossible to fool them. But a deer is not trained, he's just naturally alarmed by human odor. Reducing it to a point where they aren't completely alarmed is the trick, and it does work. I will say that when I find a good funnel or trail and I have stand options both upwind and downwind that are equal in all other advantages, I'll choose the downwind side every time. However, if I find a super stand location and it offers one option and it's upwind of where I expect to see/shoot the deer, short of a strong wind blowing right where the deer will be before I get a chance to shoot it, I won't hesitate for a second to sit it, as I've done in the past, and I've killed good bucks from these setups. You just have to put 100% effort into it, and I find that most people don't, and even when they think they are, they're missing someting.

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