It was a clear calm afternoon in the Texas Hill Country, hours before I had Sunday brunch with my grandmother and father so I had dressed up and put on some smell good water for the occasion, this was the thought hanging out in my brain as I climbed into the stand, I sat there thinking about this. The question I had to answer many times was would I see a deer let alone get a shot .
Lets take a look at this scenario, as I am not the only one this question has haunted for minutes or hours, in the stand alone. Here is my take on this matter, I hope I don’t break any hearts here, but I will explain what has worked for me in three states and Canada.
Use Common Sense With Scents and Camo
First of all I think the most important thing to take into the field is common scents, yes sense and scents I know this is cocky but get over it and lets look at factors affecting hunting , and my techniques. I feel confident that am not the only one that has this methodology.
There are many factors that will have an effect on things, but no one factor is most or least important. I think a combination of things is paramount to increasing your success and making or breaking a hunt. We will look at these in situations I have encountered.
We will start here in TX when I was about 14 or so, at this age I was a scent freak, being almost obsessive compulsive in the manner in which I would try to minimize my human scent. I have to be honest and say I was busted nearly every single hunt, usually by an old propeller headed doe. Why is this? I am scent free, well looking back I was busted due in part, but based largely on the fact that I had way to little patience in the tree and was not using my head.
Heading now to Virginia’s eastern shores, I was hunting in a small 40 acre lot caddie cornered to K-mart and across the street from Burger thing, by this time I was older and had picked up a few bad habits, one of which was smoking, (kids don’t even think about it, Adults, well I wont say what we already know) but I do feel like I have a little more common sense at this point as I decided to try a tactic I had seen my father use for years, which includes not worrying about your scent, and being still.
I took this to a new level by employing burger thing to manufacture a great cover scent for me called Burger Thing # 68 this seemed to work great for me, as I had an old propeller head come in and offer me a shot at 30 yards I missed but the shot was there, as was the deer, hmmmmmm we are now getting somewhere, I may be onto something here!
ABC’s of Bowhunting
I think the best case scenarios, are the ones that a little luck is involved, I don’t use a scent free hunting method anymore, I don’t stink but I don’t go scent free, I employ what I call the ABC’s of bowhunting, these are A- absolutely minimizing movement in the stand , B- being careful to pick good spots, C- common sense with scents and camo.
A: Minimizing stand movement
how can we accomplish this? Well it pays in the end to be comfortable, spend a little extra $$ and get a stand that’s comfortable of buy a seat cushion, you will stay more relaxed, thus moving less. You will also need to practice holding your bow comfortably in a ready position, this minimizes a lot of movement when its go time which again will save your butt more times than not. Less movement also means less noise, which is very important as well.
(beginning to see how everything is sort of symbiotically related?).
B: The deer are always where you find them
Meaning don’t scout one place and set-up your stand off to the side hoping one will take a wrong turn, go straight for the heart, and put your blind up on the ground or in a tree right where you have seen the deer, and pick a good spot on the animal when its time to shoot, this is probably # 1 reason for missing.
C: Common Sense With Scents and Camo
Finally we come to Common sense with scents and camo, which combined with all of the other factors and a little luck will probably score you a deer assuming you do your homework. Lets think about this little thing I said “common sense with scents and camo” you don’t have to be scent free, in fact its impossible to actually be scent free , I don’t suggest you go bathe in cologne, but if things aren’t quite right there are many things you can do to help yourself.
Remember earlier when I talked about Burger Thing # 68? Well this is an example of using a your common sense to think about what scents are common to the area, in order to produce a scent camo on top of your camo you wear. I generally hunt about 50 yards for the highway here in TX, not further than 300 yards from a house, and in a cow pasture, go figure, why would I do this?
Well its simple, I employ the use of the scents around me as well as being clean, and a few store bought scents to minimize human odor or at least present myself in a none threatening way as far as odors go, they don’t equate the smell I have as a danger signal so this works very well, and its a common factor in any environment!
I hope this article has been informative and possibly made you to think a little bit, and yes by the way I wash my clothes in Tide and use Downy fabric softener, and I don’t wear rubber boots . I do stay clean however , and very well camouflaged I generally harvest a deer a year, and if I don’t its because I don’t shoot or I miss.
Some hunters do not have the advantage of hunting in a scented environment, and different tactics may have to be employed, however if you use the ABC rule, and your head accordingly you will be able to figure out a tactic covering this subject that will best work for your hunting style and location.