The proof that scents and lures work to bring in mature bucks has always been debated among believers and non-believers. Some hunters who have used scents swear by them because they have had success and therefore use scents every year. Then others state they do not use them because they have never had success while hunting. It amazes me when hunters debate the use of scents; there is no in-between; they either like or despise them. The same seems to happen when hunters discuss scent control. Some hunters use scent control efforts such as scent elimination sprays, cover-up scents, scent-controlling clothing, and new technologies such as ozone. These hunters say that their results have improved when they make the extra effort. The non-believers tend to play the wind, and that’s it, believing all other efforts are gimmicks.
Every year hunters find themselves curious as to if they are on the right side of the debate. After years of trial and error, field testing, new technologies, and hours of hunting, it has been found that to make scents work; hunters must understand what a deer smells that cause them to spook and trigger a cautious fear that makes them leave. Once it is discovered what smells are the culprit, hunters can use scent elimination tactics with deer scents to allow both to work effectively.
I have heard many debates from hunters’ on why scent control did or did not work. A few scenarios that come to mind on the side of non-believers come from hunters who have smoked while hunting yet still seem to harvest deer. Another situation that will make you scratch your head is when a hunter makes a mock scrape and urinates in it to trigger a territorial instinct from mature bucks. I have also encountered many hunters who claim they have had to urinate while hunting and chose to urinate by their stand instead of leaving and coming back. Deer continue to come by minutes after. How is it possible that smoke and bodily fluids do not scare deer, yet our human scent sends them away in a frenzy?
The human scent that deer become alarmed is the actual scent of the human body. These human odors are created from sweat or the natural perspiration that our skin develops. This odor is critical for the hunter to mask or destroy before hunting, especially when using scents. There are three pillars of odor that humans cause. One is bacterial, odors produced as a byproduct of bacteria caused by your body and sweat to sustain life. Next are metabolic odors, which result from substances you ingest into your body, such as foods and alcohol. Last is ambient odors, which we accumulate from everyday life, such as food, gas, and smoke.
Bacterial and metabolic odors are the odors that deer will spook on 99.9% of the time. These two odors are why it is essential to use scent elimination soaps, shampoos and dress in ScentLok clothing with Carbon Alloy technology. In my opinion, ambient odors need to be destroyed because they can spook deer. However, deer can become curious about these smells, and in some instances, the smells do not seem to bother them. The only problem is you never know when the odors will spook deer. To be on the safe side, always reduce the contamination of odors and use ozone to destroy them.
The first step to eliminate these odors is by cleaning the body with a scent eliminating soap and shampoo. By using odor-controlling soaps, all the sweat and odors will be eliminated before dressing in hunting garments. Next is dressing in clothing containing carbon, which will absorb any unwanted odors.
When using scents, the hunter must use scent control tactics. When putting out scent, whether on a scent wick in a tree, on the ground in a mock scrape, or following along on a trail drag, it’s important to remember you are attracting a deer’s nose to the specific spot where the scent has been applied. What you do not want is for a buck to be lured to the scent only to smell you or another ambient type of odor that might distract him from the scent or spook him from going any farther. When using scents and lures, I like to take extra precautions to keep them from being smelled. I wear my Lacrosse Alphaburly rubber boots when applying scent and when hunting. Rubber is the only boot that does not absorb odors, they are easy to clean, and it keeps wherever I walk hidden from a buck’s nose.
For example, when using a trail drag with scent or making a mock scrape, I spray my rubber boots down with my OZ NFuse ozone sprayer before leaving my vehicle or entering my hunting area. Because of using ozone spray before hunting, all human odors have been destroyed. I prefer my rubber boots when making a mock scrape because I stand in the exact spot with a scent for the buck to respond. When first making the mock scrape, I use a stick or something from the natural surroundings to scrape the dirt instead of my feet. By using something natural, I am assuring no odors have been left that might detour the buck from smelling the scent from the scrape. If hanging a game camera over the mock scrape, it is also essential to spray the camera down with a scent elimination spray after everything has been placed. All odors have been eliminated by spraying down in the area where deer scent has been placed. The goal is for a buck to smell the deer scent and nothing else when using it.
Using scents and lures to attract deer and using a scent elimination system to destroy odors can be confusing and, if not done correctly, can seem as if they are pointless. However, if one provides the scent that deer want to smell and destroys the odors that can spook them, they will see that both do, in fact, work.
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