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Practical Tips to Cover Your Scent When Hunting
Article provides practical advice for covering your human scent while hunting deer and other big game animals.
The old standby of hunting with the wind is by far the most important step in beating the nose of the animal that you are hunting. If you get to your stand and find that the wind is blowing the wrong way you need to move to the other side of the target area or move to another stand location altogether. Keep in mind that air will be moved by thermal currents as well as the wind. Without getting all scientific just keep in mind that thermals rise in the morning and fall in the evening.
Controlling the amount of scent that you bring into the woods is important as well while hunting. Perhaps you don't need the special soaps, shampoos, and deodorants that sporting goods manufacturers sell, but also don't use heavily perfumed items. Also skip the hair spray, cologne, shaving cream, and strongly scented toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, and mints.
Another area that many hunters overlook is simply being too close to where the expect the deer or other animal. If you are hunting deer with a rifle there is no reason to put your stand 10 feet from a game trail. Being 50 yards or so away keeps the shot simple and provides you a margin of error with your scent, sounds, and movements.
As far as actual cover scents to mask your human smell use things that are common in your area. Skunk is a potent cover scent that is quite popular, but let's consider this for a minute. As a hunter I'll assume that you spend a lot of time in the woods. How often do you smell skunk in the woods? Secondly, skunks spray when frightened. Some things that would frighten a skunk would frighten a deer as well (humans, coyotes, dogs, etc.). Furthermore, who wants to smell skunk all day? When I used to bow hunt a lot I would place all of my hunting clothes in an unscented trash bags with some fresh pine boughs from my hunting area and store them their all night. Consider unnatural smells that deer are used to in your area also. Where I live oil and gas wells dot the land providing a great cover scent. If you must purchase a cover scent I would suggest pine, cedar, earth, or some other very common odor.
Covering and reducing your scent while hunting deer and other animals is important, but I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. The skills of moving quietly through the woods, sitting motionless, shooting well, and being patient will probably do more to put venison in the freezer than a box full of cover scents.