Free Natural Hunting Scents for Whitetail Deer Hunting + Bonus Video
Deer Hunting Tips
If you engage in deer hunting, you know that whitetails have a highly developed sense of smell. They’re wary critters – they have to be. Deer are typical prey animals, and they have that inherited instinct for survival. Even if the deer in your area don’t have to worry about wolves, mountain lions, and other predators, they have no way of knowing this, so the absence of the large predatory killers does not negate the deer’s inherent need for caution. Anyway, the deer still have the ultimate predator in pursuit of them: man (or woman).
If you’ve ever really watched deer, you’ll notice that they stop often, raise their noses, and sniff the air. They’re trying to discern strange or dangerous scents. And I don’t need to tell you, they can smell humans, and the smell scare them and makes them flee. That’s why so many hunters use scents to mask their human smell.
There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of different scents on the market for deer hunting. Many function as both masks and as lures to attract the deer, like doe in estrus or doe urine. But there are other steps you can to take to hide or neutralize your distinctly human aroma.
When you’re choosing a masking scent, think natural. Do some planning beforehand. Observe the area where you’ll be hunting, paying close attention to the natural smells in the area. For example, one place I hunted was in some pine woods near a cow pasture. What were these deer used to smelling? Pine boughs, pine straw, and cow manure.
I went to the area and cut a few small limbs from the pine trees and gathered some dried pine needles form the forest floor and placed them in an unscented plastic garbage bag. Then I placed my hunting clothes in the bag and left them for a few days before the hunt. I also gathered some fresh cow poop in a Ziploc freezer bag, and the morning of the hunt, I spread a little of it on my hunting boots.
The first time I tried this strategy, I was amazed at how many deer wandered right up to my stand – both does and young bucks. They did the typical air sniffing from time to time, but evidently they never did get a whiff of anything unusual. They felt completely at ease because they didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary. They smelled exactly what they were used to smelling every day, so they weren’t alerted to my presence. And by the way, I was not using any commercial scents. Had I used a buck-luring scent along with the natural scents, I might well have seen more big bucks. Honestly, I wasn’t much of a trophy hunter. I was more interested in deer hunting for meat and in keeping the deer herds on our land restricted to healthy numbers.
Another one of my favorite hunting spots was near our hog pens. There were a few pines there, but most of the trees were large oaks. My stand was also near a large hay barn with open sides. You could smell the sweet hay when you came within several yards of the barn, so I figured if I could smell it from that distance, the deer in the area could smell it from a lot farther away. Into my bag went some green pine needles, some hay, some oak leaves, and even a handful of acorns. Instead of cow manure, I used fresh pig droppings to smear on my boots. Again, it worked like a charm.
If you're a trophy hunter who's deer hunting for a big buck, use these methods and add a commercial buck lure on top of the natural scents. I never tried this, but my husband did. His success rate skyrocketed! Like me, he wasn't much of a trophy hunter, and he often saw big bucks and let them pass by without shooting them. His good friend, however, was all about trophy bucks, and he used my method in his hunts and had great success. I think at first he was a little reluctant to use hunting methods coming from a woman, but I made a believer out of him!
I’ll share a couple of more scent secrets with you:
The night before the hunt, bathe, but don’t use soap or shampoo. Instead, make a weak solution of baking soda and water, and bathe with it. Make sure you rinse off well. Don’t shave that morning or use deodorant, either, and refrain from smoking if you’re a smoker.
I’ve often wondered about the smell of the gun itself. If it was recently cleaned, wouldn’t it have a pretty strong smell of its own? Maybe the gun should go into the natural scent bag, too. I’ll leave that up to you to ponder. Happy hunting!
Read more about hunting by clicking the links below the hunting products, and enjoy the video at the bottom!
Read more about hunting:
- How to Hunt Quail
Hunting tips for beginning quail hunting for Bobwhite. Videos included.
- Tips for Processing and Aging Deer Meat, with Videos
If you're a deer hunter, you probably already know how to field dress deer. If not, watch the video below this article of how to dress a deer. The guy in the video does the job from start to finish in...
- Southern Cuisine: Holle's Country Fried Deer Steaks
In another life (or so it seems), I married into a family of cattle farmers. They had a huge farm, with lots of wildlife, including white-tailed deer. My ex and I were both hunters, and we ate venison often....
- Southern Cuisine: Smoked Venison Roast
Some people don't care for venison because they say it was a wild or gamey taste. I say they haven't had it cooked right! When prepared properly, deer meat tastes like good lean beef....
- Hunting and Animal Cruelty: The Good and the Bad
A happy, well-fed whitetail deer. This article is really meant for meat eaters only. If you're a vegan, I respect your views, but I already know your feelings on the issue. This article was chiefly written...
- How to Make Venison Jerky
Many deer hunters run out of ideas as to what to do with all their deer meat. They often grill or fry the loins and have the shoulders and hams processed into sausage or burgers. Jerky, however, is a great...
More by this Author
The best squirrel guns and the best ammo for squirrel hunting, plus hunting tips.
How to age and process venison, plus meat coolers for sale. Instructional videos included!
Crabmeat is one of the most succulent and delicious of all types of flesh. In fact, it’s near the very top of my list, and I’ve spent years catching and cooking the shelled critters! I've come up with some...