All smoke and mirrors

aascentHunters will try everything to cover their scent as long as it works. From dousing themselves in smelly urine to buying ridiculously expensive clothing that claims to trap human odors, hunters will go there if they think it gives them an edge.

A common method to hide a hunter’s scent is to absorb smoke from a fire. Smoke does hide a hunter’s scent but it also adds the smell of smoke, which deer can pick up. If fires are common in an area, it shouldn’t raise suspicion. 

But it could.

“When they sense that smoke smell near, it will raise suspicion,” said Derek Broman, an Urban Wildlife biologist. “It is better to try to be scentless.”

The deer that smells the smoke on the hunter may not be scared away but will be very curious why the scent is in the area.

There are a lot of products that are used to mask scents and others who eliminate a hunter’s scent completely.  Although every hunter will use what he/she believes works the best, most hunters prefer scent-eliminating products. 

Craig Nyhus, executive editor for Lone Star Outdoor News, said the most important rule when hunting is to have the wind in your face. As long as hunters have the wind in their face, they could smoke a cigarette or dip and it wouldn’t affect the deer because their scent wouldn’t reach the deer. 

“But if the wind is to your back, the hunters won’t have to worry about seeing deer run away because there won’t be any in sight,” he said. 

Bow hunters, according to Nyhus, have to focus the most on eliminating their scent because they hunt so much closer to the animal and any scent or sound will scare the prey.

Broman recommends that hunters keep their gear away from other clothes. Scents from clothes worn during the day can spread to hunting apparel and contaminate the gear with unwanted odors.  Hunters having to wash their clothes is a double-edged sword — the multiple washes fade colors that destroy the effect of camouflage while the odor-less detergent have dyes that make some colors pop more than others that are visible to deer. Hunters should only wash their gear with plain water or very few washes in scentless detergent, according to Broman.

Broman’s advice to hunters is don’t buy expensive camouflage. The most important thing to remember is stay downwind, because deer have always been, and will always be, nervous in the wild.

“They survive and are so successful because they are so paranoid,” Broman said.