Understanding why scent control matters when hunting whitetails should be a top priority.
In the deer woods, smell is king, which is why scent control matters so much to hunters. A buck will bust you with his nose long before he even needs his eyes and ears. And if you haven’t taken care to keep your scent under control, you’ll never know he was in the area.
Scent control starts hours, even days, before you ever step foot into the woods. If it’s warm outside, causing you to sweat, you’ll be working overtime to keep scent-free the entire hunt. While it’s impossible to completely hide human odor in the woods, here are a few tips to fool those incredible noses.
Keeping Your Scent Under Control
Scent control begins at home. Wash all of your hunting clothes with odor-eliminating products and air dry them outdoors. Store them in a sealed bag and apply a scent-eliminating spray to them before your hunt, as well as to backpacks, boots and other gear. After a handful of hunts, even if the clothes don’t appear dirty, wash them again to ensure they aren’t retaining too much of your scent.
Take a shower to remove any odors before every hunt and stay away from fragrant soaps, shampoo or deodorant. However, be sure to wear unscented deodorant because sweating will cause bacteria growth and emit an odor.
While walking to your stand on warm days, keep outerwear in your backpack to minimize sweating. Using cover scents can also work to mask your odor.
Watch the Wind
Always pay attention to the wind when choosing a stand location. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to face the wind, presuming you’re anticipating deer approaching from directly in front of you. If the wind shifts during your hunt, you’ll have to adjust to that. Even the slightest gust of wind can carry your scent a long way, alerting any deer in the area of your presence.
Anatomy of a Deer’s Nose
It’s been said that a deer’s smell is 10,000 times greater than that of a human. Let that one sink in for a moment.
It starts with many millions of nerve cells, called olfactory receptors, lining the inside of a deer’s nose, many of which that can expertly detect specific odors like food sources or predators. Once an odor like human scent hits a group of cells, a message is sent to the deer’s brain that elicits a response. If a deer has ever had an alarming experience with a human before, each time it smells human odor, there’s a good chance it’ll flee.
On the roof of the deer’s mouth there’s also the vomeronasal organ, which sorts smells that come through the mouth. A large portion of the deer’s brain is dedicated solely to analyzing smells more than any other brain function.
It makes sense that deer devote so much of their brain to scent. They’re routinely interacting through their many glands like the metatarsal or tarsal, in behaviors like creating rubs and scrapes, as well as identifying urine from different deer throughout their daily routine.
Keeping Scent Free in a Banks Blind
Even if you’ve done everything you can to mitigate your scent before and during a hunt, you’ll never eliminate your odor completely. And, if the wind isn’t just right, a deer will smell you. That’s where Banks Stump blinds step in.
The Stump hunting blinds are sealed the moment you close the door, meaning sound is minimized and your scent is locked in. While they contain vents for the blinds to “breathe,” those should be closed while hunting. Even the windows are sealed and only meant to be opened a few moments before you take a shot.
So, no matter the wind or how much you sweat walking to your stand, that big buck will have no idea you’re there.