Editor’s Note: Many of the nation’s leading bowhunters have developed strategies for successful deer hunting and have vast experience in scouting as well as bowhunting.
One of the most-difficult problems deer hunters face is how to deal with human scent. Many hunters:
* use masking scents, also known as cover-up scents;
* wash themselves and their clothes before they hunt;
* hunt into the wind; and
* do everything humanly and scientifically possible to keep their human scent from reaching the deer’s nostrils, because they know that usually human scent will spook a deer.
Many hunters set up their tree stands in apple trees or perhaps in white oak trees – both are the deer’s preferred food. Since sometimes hunters must go to their tree stands when the wind isn’t right, hunters often try to acclimate deer to their scents by visiting these areas periodically, which is just the opposite of what many hunter believe and do. They condition the deer to human scent, so they won’t be frightened of it. For instance, the deer start feeding on the apples in the woods where available during the summer. During the summer, my friend Bob Foulkrod in Pennsylvania, walks to his stand sites every day, moves around the apple trees and walks out. He follows this same routine as often as possible every week until hunting season. He wants to precondition the deer to not be afraid of human scent. As Foulkrod reports, “Probably when the deer first smell that human scent, they back away from the apple trees. But sooner or later, the lure of the apples will cause the deer to become bolder, because they haven’t seen any hunters, and nothing bad has happened to them for several months. So, even though they smell human scent, they will feed on apples.
“By the time hunting season arrives, the deer are so preconditioned to human odor that it doesn’t frighten them anymore. Other hunters and I will walk around the apple tree going to our stands like we have every other day before hunting season and take the same route out of the woods. When the deer come in to eat the apples, they smell the human odor but aren’t alarmed. They’ll often feed within 10 – 20 feet of hunters. Although this preconditioning requires a lot of time, it helps insure that hunters will see deer and not have their scents spook deer.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, Print and Audible versions, at (http://amzn.to/YpoQHA).
Tomorrow: Consider the Weather When Hunting Deer