To fool a wary whitetail, you not only need to beat its eyes and ears, but also its keen sense of smell. Knowing how to use and control scents is a good tool to add to your deer hunting toolbox.
Cover scents are used to cover up or mask a hunter’s scent. Attractant scents are used to bring deer closer to your hunting location. Scent drags, which are popular with some hunters, are made of an absorbent material saturated with scent and attached to a string. The drag is pulled behind the hunter, leaving a scent trail for deer to follow.
Some deer show a negative response to attractants and flee from the area after catching wind of a particular scent.
Scent control is the key to getting close enough to a deer to harvest it, especially for bowhunters. But fooling a whitetail’s nose at a distance of 20 yards or less is no easy feat. Many hunters go to extremes to eliminate as much of their human scent as possible. Although these products can reduce human odors, there is no substitute for using the wind to your advantage. Even if you cannot keep yourself and your clothing scent-free, using the wind to blow your scent away from deer will lessen your chances of being detected.
Many hunters wear rubber boots to their hunting stands. You should avoid pumping gasoline and engaging in other activities that emit strong odors while you are wearing hunting clothing.
Store hunting clothes in air-tight containers such as plastic totes, large zip-top bags, or scent-proof clothing bags made for hunters. If you want to add a little cover scent, you can place cedar shavings or leaves inside the container to give your clothing an outdoors smell. Baking soda also can be added to help reduce odors. When storing clothing in air-tight containers, make sure the clothes are dry to prevent mildew. Air drying your hunting clothes outdoors is recommended.