Deer hunting can be a great way to put food on the table for your family over the winter. Unfortunately, novice hunters do not realize how sharp a deer's senses are. Deer have a very powerful sense of smell, and if one senses any human or other predatory animal's odor at all, it won't come close enough to a hunting stand. Odor and sound management are two keys to a successful deer hunt.
Avoid eating foods that have a strong odor, beginning about a week before your hunt. Foods such as hot peppers, garlic and many aromatic herbs will cause an odor to emanate from your skin for days after eating. Even if you don't notice it yourself, the deer most certainly will.
Wash the clothing you intend to hunt in using a scent-free detergent. Scented detergents are one of the biggest factors in unsuccessful deer hunts.
Plan to wear camouflage clothing that matches the colors of the location in which the hunt will be conducted. Any off colors from the environment will be apparent to a deer from a long way off.
Set up a deer stand one week in advance of the hunt. This will provide ample time for any body odors to dissipate from the location and will also allow time for the deer to get used to a new object in their domain. Deer will become accustomed to a deer stand within days, but a full week will greatly enhance their acceptance of your stand.
On the day of the hunt, approach the deer stand from upwind so that the wind carries any possible body odor away from the deer rather than toward them. If possible, shower using non-scented soap before making the journey and do not use deodorants or colognes. Being careful that deer do not pick up your scent is half the battle, while making sure you and your equipment cannot be seen by the deer is the other half.
Before entering the deer stand, place some deer attractant pheromone about 50 to 100 yards away from the stand. If your deer stand is placed properly along a deer trail, the deer will smell the pheromone as they pass by and will choose to stop and linger for a while trying to find the potential "mate" the pheromone suggests to them. This will cause the deer to stand still long enough to make a successful shot.
- Always plan your hunting day so that you are at the deer stand about an hour before sunrise or an hour before sunset. These are the times when most deer will make their daily journeys to a nearby water source: just after rising from slumber and just before they turn in for the night.
- deer image by Joan Stanton from Fotolia.com