Now that the best part of the whitetail hunting season is behind us, I hope we all learned a few things. Outside of not sighting in our gun or bows, not wearing your safety harness, or forgetting to purchase a hunting license, there aren’t many things you can do that are more detrimental to your hunting success than some overlooked stinky spots! Almost all hunters now a days wash their hunting clothing and spray down their boots with scent killing and absorbing detergent and spray. Quite a few take showers in scent free soap before hitting the woods. Is that as far or farther than most hunters go? Probably. How much farther is there to go? Think about all the other things you take to the woods, or already have in the woods that hold and disperse your stink!
1. Your gun or bow. How often and what time of year do you practice shooting your gun or bow? Most of us like to practice in the summer when it’s warm and comfortable to be outside. We also sweat very easily during this time of year. Are your hands all over your gun, scope and sling, all over your release, bow and arrows? Is your stinky breath breathing on the gun stock or bow string and kisser button? Every time you handle your weapon you are placing scent on that weapon. Before season starts, I spray or wipe down my bow and guns with scent free spray or wipes. Then during season, I try to wear gloves as much as possible and use scent free mouthwash and scent free breath spray before and during the hunt.
2. Your box blind or tree stand. Again, when do most people hang tree stands or work on their box blinds? Usually in the comfort of a warm summer day, sometimes it’s very warm and muggy. It’s a great time to sweat and leave behind evidence of you and your buddies being there. But it doesn’t just end in the summer, you leave behind scent from your hands (if you are not wearing gloves) every time you grab ahold of that tree step or ladder. How about when you hang your bow or gun on the pull up rope, touching the hook and the rope? Again, it’s your hands that are the main culprit, and your scent doesn’t leave the woods with you at the end of the days hunt. It lingers, to be found by the matriarch doe in the middle of the night when most deer activity occurs. I carry a bottle of scent elimination spray with me all the time, when hanging stands to spray down the stand, steps or ladder and to spray the pull rope, and while hunting to spray the same areas just in case in forgot my gloves or didn’t wear them because it was too warm. And scent obviously can be transferred through gloves, so just spray down anyway!
3. When nature calls. If you spend any amount of time in the woods, it will be inevitable that you will have to ‘relieve’ yourself at some point and in more ways than one. There is debate on whether or not human urine spooks deer, and some hunters even like to leave a little behind in a scrape that they feel needs a little ‘freshening up’. I would rather not take the chance. It’s fairly easy to pack in an empty Gatorade bottle or two, just make sure to take them with you when you leave the woods. Now if #2 comes a calling, well just try to bury it like a cat!
It’s the little things that make a difference between random success and repeated success. Try incorporating these things into your normal scent killing routine and see if your deer sightings increase. During a lecture on deer stewardship presented by the Quality Deer Management Association, the lecturer made a statement that has stuck with me that I apply to almost everything I do…………”if you only play half the game, expect only half the results”.