Most hunters know to conceal their scent when they hunt and when they visit any areas that deer might frequent. But why do we need to do that? What’s the science behind it? We’ll give you a bit of insight into the science behind scent control so that you can better understand why hunters do what they do. It will be important to know why concealing your scent is so vital to a successful hunt before hunting season opens in just a couple short weeks.

A Deer’s Sense of Smell is Intense

Deer have an incredibly heightened sense of smell. This is due in part to the many olfactory receptors in their noses. A human has about 5 million olfactory receptors. A deer has about 297 million. To say their noses are far superior to ours is a vast understatement. Once our olfactory receptors register a scent, it sends the signals to the olfactory bulb, which is the part of our brain that registers scent. In this department deer, once again, have us beat. Their olfactory bulbs are about four times bigger than ours. When the deer processes the smell, it is registered by the part of the brain known as the limbic system. The limbic system houses the amygdala and the hippocampus. These areas of the brain in a deer are in charge of instincts like food selection and predator detection. The hippocampus also controls learning and memory retrieval. In layman’s terms: deer store scent in their memory banks. They have a natural instinct to remember scents and recall when and where they’ve smelled it before, and whether or not they need to associate it with a threat. The scent will activate the hypothalamus and send the fight or flight signal. So, as soon as a deer registers a scent it associates with a dangerous hunter, they’re going to run.

So What Can You Do?

One of the most basic things a hunter can do to control their scent is to wash with scent-free soap. It’s no secret that the dirt and bacteria on our skin is what causes body odor. If you shower with scent-free soap, you’ll wash off the dirt and bacteria without replacing it with another scent. Washing your clothes in scent-free detergent will also eliminate odor-causing bacteria without making the clothes have a different scent.

It’s also important to think about sweating. In the early hunting season when the temperatures are still warm, make sure you’re not over-layering. Wear a simple camo shirt and pants if it’s warm enough. Wear shoes that are going to be comfortable and withstand the terrain but that won’t cause your feet to sweat unnecessarily. In the winter, make sure you layer. The first layer of your clothing should be a moisture-wicking material to dispel any sweat. Layering will keep you warm while you walk to your Stump blind and allow you to take the heavy coat off once you’re inside. Stump blinds are tightly-sealed so the temperature inside the blind can be kept warmer than the outside elements, eliminating the need for heavy layers.

Now that you know why controlling scent is so important, you can implement our tips for controlling it and look forward to a successful season. When you’re dealing with a nose that’s that much more powerful than ours, it’s important to take all the precautions you can.

How do you control your scent when you hunt? Do you have more information on the science behind scent control? Let us know in the comments below!




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