Deer NoseSmell is the best defense for critters! They will hear you 3 times, see you twice, but smell you once!

Elk, deer, coyotes, and other long nosed creatures have a supreme sense of smell. Humans are way more limited with our relatively small snouts. Big game eyes are also along the side of their heads, which allows a bigger field of view, along with their longer and more powerful olfactory system. Odds are in favor of the hunted.

A new or different smell in their living room is easily noticeable. No matter what hunters do to their clothes, bodies, gear, or breath, they still stink. Our scent falls and rises with the air as it changes temperature. Humidity holds scent even longer.

Great hunting stands are great because of many reasons. These spots are often found through plain luck. The successful hunter needs to identify terrain features, food sources, seasonal weather patterns, water, trails, bedding areas, and… wind. It is not just one thing.

Hunters must move and breathe. The more we need to move, the more we stink. When we move we sweat, and our skin breathes. Our exhaled breath also smells. This is unpreventable. At best we can limit these odors.

There are some simple ways to limit, cover, or mask your stink. Wash your clothes in a scent free product that cleans, removes odors, and has no fabric brighteners. Place this gear in a sealed tub or bag that will contain and protect your clothing and gear’s scent. Add some scent wafers or mesh bags filled with product that adds or limits smells. If you hunt in an oak forest, add leaves, acorns, and dirt in your tub. If you are hunting an orchard, add some apples.

Dress afield. The smells of coffee, donuts, gas, oils, smoke, horses, and travel, stay with you. Certain smells are obvious. Changing your sweaty clothes during the hunt is also helpful. Place your soiled clothes into a sealed plastic bag. “Non -Scent sprays” help, but only so much. There are many things that we can’t smell that are easily picked up by critters with giant, nasal surface areas.

Walk into your areas discreetly while wearing tall rubber boots. Make a point to walk into mud, leaves, grasses, or smells common to the site. If you are hunting near cattle, walk in their waste. Step on apples or crops that are scattered around.

Trying to be a scent free hunter when hunting elk and wise deer is simply impossible. The hunter can minimize and maintain some scent control but in the end, hunt the wind. Always stay downwind of the critter. If the wind changes, you need to adjust as well, if possible.

Stand hunters think that they eliminate their smell by being up in a tree or elevated box. Air rises and falls as it cools and warms. Your breath and scent travels with air currents in a cone around the stand. Snacks, drinks, and gear also emit smells that can give away your location.

Deer live in their habitat year-round. Every inch of their living room is familiar. As a hunter prunes a trail into their space, adds a stand, digs in the dirt, leaves footprints, hangs and checks trail cameras, places bright eyes and leaves body odor, things will get stinky.

Never place rut scents or attractants on your person. This will direct the critters attention directly at you. Big bucks and bulls are smelling and looking for something to mate or fight with. That is not a situation you want to be in.

I have watched elk and deer spook as they smell a back trail several hours old. When a pruned or broken branch is found, they become more alert. Old stands and stand sites are familiar to them as they change their approaches. If someone entered your living room and moved a pillow or chair, you would be alert too.

Hunting the wind is always a priority when stalking, sitting, or preparing a stand sight. Know how to use the wind to your advantage. If you can smell the critter, they can’t smell you.

Smell like the place you are hunting!

Montana Grant

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