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How Do Deer Use Their Sense of Smell?

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July 30, 2007

How Do Deer Use Their Sense of Smell?

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

He immediately dived into impenetrable South Carolina cover. However, because the idea that I might miss was absurd, I waited ten minutes and then walked over to where he had been standing. There was blood all over the place, but the plantation rules stated that thou shalt not track deer on thine own, so I got back on the stand and waited for the truck to come around.

This took about an hour, and while waiting for it, I saw a doe walk right into the grass patch, right where the blood and my bootprints were, and commence browsing without a care in the world. She filled her face for 10 minutes or so and then ambled off.

This is not the first time I've seen such a thing happen. And I wonder, exactly what part does scent play in the mental makeup of these critters? Anyone out there have any similar experiences?

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from Rc Helleberg wrote 6 years 32 weeks ago

Dave,do you or any of the others who read your great blog, have any experience with the new 6.8 Remington round. I'm thinking of getting another new barrel for my TC contender frame and this seems like a good round---anyone have any experience or good loads for this round? Thanks

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 36 weeks ago

Think happy thoughts while on stand and send an effluvium of inviting pheromones downwind. With that and RockyMtnHunters slingshot idea I'm going to make Milo Hanson look like a wannabe...

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from Shawn wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I believe the answer you are looking for may be pheromones. I understand that not a lot of research has gone in to it but supposedly all animals, at least those who perspire, emit different chemicals depending on their mental, emotional and physical state. I for one believe the "lesser evolved animals" still use this primitive "odor" communication system quite effectively. That would explain why they wont let you get within a mile when you are trying to kill them, but take the kids and go sightseeing they may run you off the trail! Animals know the difference in these pheromones and use their information, instead of just your odor, to decide how to best deal with your presence. Keep this in mind when you go into the woods and adjust your tactics accordingly. Now go sneak up on something!

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I spend a lot of time at the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area. 20,810 acres of Tennessee hills. They have a pretty nice gun range and for two years there was a doe that lived there. People used to feed it and pet it and it would wander out on the range while a half dozen yahoos were blasting away. More than once I have seen the range go cold while someone walked out and literally pushed the deer into the woods...

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from Clay Cooper wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Fort Chaffee Arkansas, is the only place I have hunted that deer will walk up to the tree your in and look straight up at you even if you didn't move or make a sound!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Picture this;BUBA is in his tree stand.A big 8 point buck comes up behind him.BUBA had beans for lunch and lets one rip!My question is this,Does the buck take it as another buck call?Or smells it and run?

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from dillonaero 134d wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

dave where do you hunt in SC i have hunted with pete and sandra simmons for several years. just wanted to know where you went. buck run, bostics, or some where else?

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from Andrew wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I had a pretty good one this year. I picked up my first muzzle loader this summer and took it up to my parent's farm to figure it out. I was shooting all afternoon with both my smoke pole and my 06. I was walking back and forth across a back field all afternoon between the 50 yrd and 100 targets. The last shot of the day I moved the target back to 200 yards just out of curiosity to see what my .50 would do. As I was trying to prop up the target a nice sized buck with its felt nubbies on was standing at the tree line to the left of the target. It squared up to me and stood stone still. I didn't want to spook it so I just kept doing what I was doing. I got the target to stand firm against the wind and the deer was still there. I turned around and comfortably ambled back two hundred yards up the middle of the field to my seat. When I turned around I saw that the deer had actually come out to the center of the field. I waited for what seemed like a day and a half. After a while I was just done with it all and wanted to get my last shots in and by that time (I kid not) that deer had walked directly behind my target and turned broadside staring at me. I couldn't even shoot at the target because I would have hit him for sure! Of course, this is the only time I have been in the woods out of season witout a camera in the last four years. No one believed me. Even if they did, I could never describe the crazy odds that must have had to line up that day.Oh yeah, Wisconsin deer are just crazy. They jump at their own shadows yet walk through people's windows.

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from Sam wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Last season I shot my first deer. The buck dropped where he was. I went over and proceeded to drag him across the field to where I was sitting when I had shot him. I got him across the field which was only 60 yards across. As I was catching my breath I looked up to see a doe standing not more than 10 feet from where I had dropped the buck. I stood there smoking a cigarette and watched her, she looked directly at me as I stood there smoking. Then she casually walked off. Later I realized she only walked off about 20 yards into a thickett. I would have never expected a deer to come into that area after the report of my rifle, the sound of me dragging a buck across the field, and me standing there smoking. Proves that you can never tell with wildlife. Guess thats why they call it Wildlife.

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

It all Depends

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from Smith Dewlen wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

OK. Here is my story from years past.About 45 years ago i worked for a summer at a logging camp in Northern Michigan. The cook was a small older guy of about 80/90 pounds. The greatest pastime by many of the loggers was goosing 'Cookie' ashe bent over the cooking fire. Cookie would give them a cussing and warn them that he wpould one day give them a good smack with the large cast iron skillet.One day upon returning to camp we saw a deer hanging up. No firearms were allowed in camp and 'Cookie' would not say anything on the subject of the deer.I checked it out and found the skull to be mushy. Cookie finally confided in me what happened. The doe had goosed him as he lifted the skillet and he swung around hitting her in the head.Afte I let the others know what happened and they felt the skull, Cookie was safe from further goosing.

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from Russell wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

FARTING GEORGE BUSH DOLL Not only does he fart, he sings and shakes too! Standing over 8" tall, pull the Commander in Chiefs finger and he'll shake,

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

As interesting as all these stories seem to be, I have to say.The first few years I hunted I saw some deer and never used carbon based scent eliminators.Last year, I went the whole nine yards;I washed my clothes in the detergent, used the soap & deodorant, and even sprayed my clothes once I was entering the woods with cover scent - I NEVER SAW SO MANY DEER! The stuff works.I will use it all again this year for sure. The packs where you get the detergent, deodorant, soap and cover scent are only like $15 anyway.

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from G Miller wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Several years ago I was hunting from a tree stand when a yearling buck came poking along. He was very calm until his nose came to a small limb I had tossed away from the base of the tree the day before. When he sniffed the limb he went three feet straight up in the air and nearly broke his neck leaving the area!

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from elkman wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

That seems to have happened more than once.

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Roger Curry wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I had a shot of the lifetime when a huge 18 point deer was walking 100 yards straight towards me. I was waiting for him to turn sideways. Just as he did, two beagle farm dogs stopped with 50' of him. The deer threw his nose into the air and made a big wide circle, ducking under several small hanging branches. My scoped rifle would not pick up his frantic run. I swung left for a clearing and waited. When he passed through I fired 5 times with my 7.62 X 39. My brother hunting about 300 yds from me said the deer must have been running 80 mph and he didn't even get time to raise his rifle. No more scopes for me.

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from Zermoid wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Oh and followup to last post.I was wearing full camo and a Blaze Orange Vest and Hat, carrying a Shotgun, and walking down an old logging road when I ran into this Doe feeding about 50 yards away, so just for fun I decided to see how close I could get to her, I only moved when her head was down and would freeze if she looked up, I was standing upright and so close I could hear her breathing! Was a really strange experience. After standing about 6-8 FEET away from her for several minutes I decided to get back to hunting, I spoke to her and waved my hand to shoo her away, she still kept feeding! Was really weird, she didn't care if I was there or not. So I flailed both arms in the air (also the shotgun) and yelled GIT! She slowly looks up at me, turns and WALKS into the brush! Kind of like "if you insist" type of reaction.Was a surreal experiance.

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from Zermoid wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I'll never figure it out either, one day I can walk up to a deer in a wide open space (this was during Small Game season) and stand almost at arm's length from a feeding deer and other days they catch a glimpse of you from over 100 yds away and bolt off at top speed.Makes no sense.

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My wife and I were skinning a buck in our garage with the door open; some blood was running out the door. About 15 does wandered over and watched us from about 20 feet away. We still talk about that day with great amazement.

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from Ozrk Hillbilly wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Just before I get to my stand, I find a big cow pie to step in! Yep, it works! Just remember to emove your boots before getting back in to ride!

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have a buddy who has more big bucks on his wall than anyone I know.His secret must be cigarettes, because he smoke them constantly while on stand.Maybe he should come up some little plastic cigarette smoke wafers to pin on your hat. He'd probably make a fortune.Jim

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from Bow/Gun Hunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

5 years ago late afternoon on opening day of firearms season I took a 9 pt. buck that came straight to me. I had the wind at my back (he was walking into the wind). I had cooked about twenty pounds of chicken wings at lunch time for the guys at camp. I could smell the odor of oil and wings on me, so I'm certain the buck could too. To top it off I was smoking a cigarette as the deer amble in to my position! NEVER even thought I'd see a deer that afternoon! Ya never know.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Some days everything works and some days the deer know you're there before you do...

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from scott wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have been confirmed in why I've never spent any money nor will I upon scent control stuff or cover scents. Bah, Humbug on all of it. Just use your talent at marking the wind and be reasonably clean. Although I don't think the deer would care whether they're shot by an unclean or clean hunter...Good luck to everyone this year!

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from Matt wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Do the words "natural selection" mean anything?

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

After reading all this stuff I think I will try hollering for them to ''come on'' from now on.

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from Sam Helton wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My father and I like to eat apples as a snack while in our stands. In many instances we have had several deer, mostly does, come up around our trees and eat the cores that we have just eaten off of, and thrown down to the ground, 10 mins before. You'd figure they'd smell us all over it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

How true, David. The best way to get a deer is to spend time in the woods where the deer are!Using every sensible means to trick the deer's senses certainly helps

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

After reading everyones response to this topic I can agree with them all. My Brothers and I have had similar encouters with deer also, some that we still do not understand how and why.I would like to share a saying that my brothers and I have and is used just about everyday at deer camp as we all tell our past and present hunting stories."It all Depends"

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from Darrold Sisler wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have believed for a long time that it takes 2 of the 3 major senses to trigger fright. Either hearing you plus seeing you, or smelling and seeing, or any combination of the two.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

The best whitetail buck I have seen in Eastern Washinton walked out into a logging road 20 yards in front of my parked pickup. I had stopped to relieve myself at the roadside and got back in the truck and nodded off in the midafternoon sun. I thought I might just "take 5" while stopped enroute to my afternoon stand.I awoke to see him standing in the middle of the road looking at me sitting in the truck with the engine running. Since Washington requires that firearms be completely unloaded in a vehicle, I had no real chance at a quick shot. I tried to load my rifle and get out of the truck, but he caught my movement getting my rifle ready and hit the timber. Apparently the urine and running engine of a big shiny truck with the daytime running headlights on didn't concern him too much.If I could figure out deer behavior, I could become as wealthy as Bill Gates!

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from Jim wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I think the dumb ones must have spent too much time playing video games...

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from George wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have read that deer are able to taste as well as smell the scent in the air. Apparently when their lip quivers while their nose is actively in the air. Ever wonder why a bear will flex its lips when posturing for intimatdation?According to a long forgotten hunting commentator; same deal.

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from Chris H wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

A few years ago I had a nice 8pt follow my trail to within about 25 yards from the tree I was in then walk 50 yards below me and right out into the clear cut I was hunting. I watched him walk all the way and as soon as he stepped into the clear cut, I dropped him. Sometimes they just don't make good sense.

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from Andrew wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

i shot a 7 point buck in a corn field and the next day my uncle sat in the same stand and saw 2 does and a spike buck come right in and start feeding right around my deers gut pile and were stinky me had sweated gutting my deer, (it was quite warm)and drove my big polluting truck right out into the field and he still watched them for like a half hour before they just walked away.

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from alabamahunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I shot a a small spike a few years ago and ten minutes late two does came in and fed right around the dead deers body.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My next door neighbor actually shot a six pointer with his pants down in the middle of dropping a load. I have shot deer and stayed on stand and noticed a dead deer on the ground doesn't seem to bother the others. I think WA Mtnhunter has it figured out. The big bucks are just a little smarter than average and a little warier. They will sneak up and lie down 150 yards from your stand and blow at the other deer when they wander too close. This has happened to me several times. If they weren't so smart it wouldn't be so fun...

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from Whitetail Buck wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

All you hunters stink,and once and a while me my brothers just mess-up and don't see you stinking up the woods!

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from rdk wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

At least 5 times a hunting season my family has deer walk right past places where we "relieved" ourselves not 2 hours ago.Unless already spooky, they just don't care about scent.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Deer are like women. I've never been able to figure them out and probably never will. Both will change the rules to suit their whims @ the time.Jim

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from Mark wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

On this note it’ll be very curious as to how the deer will evolve and act once the reg change takes effect in three Upstate New York counties this Fall. Rifles will be allowed for the first time for what must be 80-years. It’ll be a new game to these deer.

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from Steve C wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

If anything, hunting has taught me that animals don't always follow the "rules" we outdoorsmen assign to them.Ducks will blacken the sky on blue-bird days, large fish will bite right next to the dock after you've made enough noise to wake the dead, and deer don't always head to the next county when they get a wiff of civilization.I'm sure we all have stories. My personal favorite was the 1981 opening day for deer in Virginia. I was sitting on my stool with my back to a tree when a buck walked up behind me. I couldn't move without being seen. The deer stopped as is passed me - later measured at 17 feet away - and put it's nose to the ground before looking right at me. There in front of it was a wrapper from a Slim Jim. There were several more minutes of smelling and intense looks before the buck went on it's merry way. After being so thoroughly busted, I didn't even think about shooting it.

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from elkman wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

You got me. I've never been able to figure it out. I still wash myself and my clothes with the products of the scent free industry racket. But after a few days without a shower last year while elk hunting, I stalked up on a trophy muley, I didn't have a tag for deer, so I was just doing it for my own entertainment, but I was able to get within 40 feet of him, he was straight down wind. I could feel the air blowing directly from me to him, and although minor movements caught his attention, he would stare right at me but couldn't see me. I wasn't wearing any camouflage either, so I wonder about the need for it too. He even swayed his head to each side, trying to look around me, but never seemed to see me right in front of him. I thought deer could recognize facial structure, and I believe he was looking me right in the eye. He never smelled me and never saw me. He eventually got full from grazing and wondered off into the woods, never having known I was there.My buddied joked that he must have been a retarded deer.Later that month when I was deer hunting with a buck tag, I saw several does that didn't care that I was moving freely and making noise within 20 yards of them. They would look at me, but then just go back to grazing.Either they knew that I only had an antlered tag or it must be the CWD.

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from TDHoward wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I truly believe it's what they get used to. If deer live in an area with high human useage, they get used to human odors and will not be bothered. If they live in an area with very little human interference, then the human odor will result in whitetails flying.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I think the careless ones end up wrapped in white paper while young and tender. The more careful ones have great racks and are a little harder to harvest before they die of old age.

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from Chad Love wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I've long since given up on trying figure out how a deer will react to human scent. The only thing I know for sure is that there are no absolutes. The last two deer I've shot have both been straight downwind of me (one at 12 yards during bow season) and neither one seemed terribly alarmed by the large, stinky manblob they surely could detect just upwind of them.And then there are the deer that bolt at the first faint whiff of anything out of the ordinary, the "how the hell did he know I was here?" incidents.Who knows? I think deer are as individualistic as any other mammal. There are smart ones, dumb ones, careless ones and careful ones.

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from Blue Ox wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I saw a small doe eating the stomach contents from a gut pile I left last season. She muched away for a good fifteen minutes, then walked away cool as could be. The wolves took the rest not five minutes later.

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from Rc Helleberg wrote 6 years 32 weeks ago

Dave,do you or any of the others who read your great blog, have any experience with the new 6.8 Remington round. I'm thinking of getting another new barrel for my TC contender frame and this seems like a good round---anyone have any experience or good loads for this round? Thanks

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 36 weeks ago

Think happy thoughts while on stand and send an effluvium of inviting pheromones downwind. With that and RockyMtnHunters slingshot idea I'm going to make Milo Hanson look like a wannabe...

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from Shawn wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I believe the answer you are looking for may be pheromones. I understand that not a lot of research has gone in to it but supposedly all animals, at least those who perspire, emit different chemicals depending on their mental, emotional and physical state. I for one believe the "lesser evolved animals" still use this primitive "odor" communication system quite effectively. That would explain why they wont let you get within a mile when you are trying to kill them, but take the kids and go sightseeing they may run you off the trail! Animals know the difference in these pheromones and use their information, instead of just your odor, to decide how to best deal with your presence. Keep this in mind when you go into the woods and adjust your tactics accordingly. Now go sneak up on something!

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I spend a lot of time at the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area. 20,810 acres of Tennessee hills. They have a pretty nice gun range and for two years there was a doe that lived there. People used to feed it and pet it and it would wander out on the range while a half dozen yahoos were blasting away. More than once I have seen the range go cold while someone walked out and literally pushed the deer into the woods...

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from Clay Cooper wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Fort Chaffee Arkansas, is the only place I have hunted that deer will walk up to the tree your in and look straight up at you even if you didn't move or make a sound!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Picture this;BUBA is in his tree stand.A big 8 point buck comes up behind him.BUBA had beans for lunch and lets one rip!My question is this,Does the buck take it as another buck call?Or smells it and run?

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from dillonaero 134d wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

dave where do you hunt in SC i have hunted with pete and sandra simmons for several years. just wanted to know where you went. buck run, bostics, or some where else?

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from Andrew wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I had a pretty good one this year. I picked up my first muzzle loader this summer and took it up to my parent's farm to figure it out. I was shooting all afternoon with both my smoke pole and my 06. I was walking back and forth across a back field all afternoon between the 50 yrd and 100 targets. The last shot of the day I moved the target back to 200 yards just out of curiosity to see what my .50 would do. As I was trying to prop up the target a nice sized buck with its felt nubbies on was standing at the tree line to the left of the target. It squared up to me and stood stone still. I didn't want to spook it so I just kept doing what I was doing. I got the target to stand firm against the wind and the deer was still there. I turned around and comfortably ambled back two hundred yards up the middle of the field to my seat. When I turned around I saw that the deer had actually come out to the center of the field. I waited for what seemed like a day and a half. After a while I was just done with it all and wanted to get my last shots in and by that time (I kid not) that deer had walked directly behind my target and turned broadside staring at me. I couldn't even shoot at the target because I would have hit him for sure! Of course, this is the only time I have been in the woods out of season witout a camera in the last four years. No one believed me. Even if they did, I could never describe the crazy odds that must have had to line up that day.Oh yeah, Wisconsin deer are just crazy. They jump at their own shadows yet walk through people's windows.

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from Sam wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Last season I shot my first deer. The buck dropped where he was. I went over and proceeded to drag him across the field to where I was sitting when I had shot him. I got him across the field which was only 60 yards across. As I was catching my breath I looked up to see a doe standing not more than 10 feet from where I had dropped the buck. I stood there smoking a cigarette and watched her, she looked directly at me as I stood there smoking. Then she casually walked off. Later I realized she only walked off about 20 yards into a thickett. I would have never expected a deer to come into that area after the report of my rifle, the sound of me dragging a buck across the field, and me standing there smoking. Proves that you can never tell with wildlife. Guess thats why they call it Wildlife.

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

It all Depends

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from Smith Dewlen wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

OK. Here is my story from years past.About 45 years ago i worked for a summer at a logging camp in Northern Michigan. The cook was a small older guy of about 80/90 pounds. The greatest pastime by many of the loggers was goosing 'Cookie' ashe bent over the cooking fire. Cookie would give them a cussing and warn them that he wpould one day give them a good smack with the large cast iron skillet.One day upon returning to camp we saw a deer hanging up. No firearms were allowed in camp and 'Cookie' would not say anything on the subject of the deer.I checked it out and found the skull to be mushy. Cookie finally confided in me what happened. The doe had goosed him as he lifted the skillet and he swung around hitting her in the head.Afte I let the others know what happened and they felt the skull, Cookie was safe from further goosing.

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from Russell wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

FARTING GEORGE BUSH DOLL Not only does he fart, he sings and shakes too! Standing over 8" tall, pull the Commander in Chiefs finger and he'll shake,

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

As interesting as all these stories seem to be, I have to say.The first few years I hunted I saw some deer and never used carbon based scent eliminators.Last year, I went the whole nine yards;I washed my clothes in the detergent, used the soap & deodorant, and even sprayed my clothes once I was entering the woods with cover scent - I NEVER SAW SO MANY DEER! The stuff works.I will use it all again this year for sure. The packs where you get the detergent, deodorant, soap and cover scent are only like $15 anyway.

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from G Miller wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Several years ago I was hunting from a tree stand when a yearling buck came poking along. He was very calm until his nose came to a small limb I had tossed away from the base of the tree the day before. When he sniffed the limb he went three feet straight up in the air and nearly broke his neck leaving the area!

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from elkman wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

That seems to have happened more than once.

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Mark W. wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I was cooking hotdogs for my kids at our camphouse one summer. I looked up and coming up the road from the pond was a doe. I told my kids to go get their camers and take a picture of the doe. My kids were about 5 and 8 at the time. The went running down the road waving their little cameras and hollering at the doe. I figured for sure she would turn tail and head off into the brush.I was amazed as she stood there and let my kids get about 10 feet from her and take pictures!!! She stayed there for a good five minutes before she wandered off down the road!

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from Roger Curry wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I had a shot of the lifetime when a huge 18 point deer was walking 100 yards straight towards me. I was waiting for him to turn sideways. Just as he did, two beagle farm dogs stopped with 50' of him. The deer threw his nose into the air and made a big wide circle, ducking under several small hanging branches. My scoped rifle would not pick up his frantic run. I swung left for a clearing and waited. When he passed through I fired 5 times with my 7.62 X 39. My brother hunting about 300 yds from me said the deer must have been running 80 mph and he didn't even get time to raise his rifle. No more scopes for me.

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from Zermoid wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Oh and followup to last post.I was wearing full camo and a Blaze Orange Vest and Hat, carrying a Shotgun, and walking down an old logging road when I ran into this Doe feeding about 50 yards away, so just for fun I decided to see how close I could get to her, I only moved when her head was down and would freeze if she looked up, I was standing upright and so close I could hear her breathing! Was a really strange experience. After standing about 6-8 FEET away from her for several minutes I decided to get back to hunting, I spoke to her and waved my hand to shoo her away, she still kept feeding! Was really weird, she didn't care if I was there or not. So I flailed both arms in the air (also the shotgun) and yelled GIT! She slowly looks up at me, turns and WALKS into the brush! Kind of like "if you insist" type of reaction.Was a surreal experiance.

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from Zermoid wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I'll never figure it out either, one day I can walk up to a deer in a wide open space (this was during Small Game season) and stand almost at arm's length from a feeding deer and other days they catch a glimpse of you from over 100 yds away and bolt off at top speed.Makes no sense.

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My wife and I were skinning a buck in our garage with the door open; some blood was running out the door. About 15 does wandered over and watched us from about 20 feet away. We still talk about that day with great amazement.

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from Ozrk Hillbilly wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Just before I get to my stand, I find a big cow pie to step in! Yep, it works! Just remember to emove your boots before getting back in to ride!

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have a buddy who has more big bucks on his wall than anyone I know.His secret must be cigarettes, because he smoke them constantly while on stand.Maybe he should come up some little plastic cigarette smoke wafers to pin on your hat. He'd probably make a fortune.Jim

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from Bow/Gun Hunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

5 years ago late afternoon on opening day of firearms season I took a 9 pt. buck that came straight to me. I had the wind at my back (he was walking into the wind). I had cooked about twenty pounds of chicken wings at lunch time for the guys at camp. I could smell the odor of oil and wings on me, so I'm certain the buck could too. To top it off I was smoking a cigarette as the deer amble in to my position! NEVER even thought I'd see a deer that afternoon! Ya never know.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Some days everything works and some days the deer know you're there before you do...

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from scott wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have been confirmed in why I've never spent any money nor will I upon scent control stuff or cover scents. Bah, Humbug on all of it. Just use your talent at marking the wind and be reasonably clean. Although I don't think the deer would care whether they're shot by an unclean or clean hunter...Good luck to everyone this year!

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from Matt wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Do the words "natural selection" mean anything?

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from Tommy wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

After reading all this stuff I think I will try hollering for them to ''come on'' from now on.

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from Sam Helton wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My father and I like to eat apples as a snack while in our stands. In many instances we have had several deer, mostly does, come up around our trees and eat the cores that we have just eaten off of, and thrown down to the ground, 10 mins before. You'd figure they'd smell us all over it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

How true, David. The best way to get a deer is to spend time in the woods where the deer are!Using every sensible means to trick the deer's senses certainly helps

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from David wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

After reading everyones response to this topic I can agree with them all. My Brothers and I have had similar encouters with deer also, some that we still do not understand how and why.I would like to share a saying that my brothers and I have and is used just about everyday at deer camp as we all tell our past and present hunting stories."It all Depends"

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from Darrold Sisler wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have believed for a long time that it takes 2 of the 3 major senses to trigger fright. Either hearing you plus seeing you, or smelling and seeing, or any combination of the two.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

The best whitetail buck I have seen in Eastern Washinton walked out into a logging road 20 yards in front of my parked pickup. I had stopped to relieve myself at the roadside and got back in the truck and nodded off in the midafternoon sun. I thought I might just "take 5" while stopped enroute to my afternoon stand.I awoke to see him standing in the middle of the road looking at me sitting in the truck with the engine running. Since Washington requires that firearms be completely unloaded in a vehicle, I had no real chance at a quick shot. I tried to load my rifle and get out of the truck, but he caught my movement getting my rifle ready and hit the timber. Apparently the urine and running engine of a big shiny truck with the daytime running headlights on didn't concern him too much.If I could figure out deer behavior, I could become as wealthy as Bill Gates!

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from Jim wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I think the dumb ones must have spent too much time playing video games...

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from George wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I have read that deer are able to taste as well as smell the scent in the air. Apparently when their lip quivers while their nose is actively in the air. Ever wonder why a bear will flex its lips when posturing for intimatdation?According to a long forgotten hunting commentator; same deal.

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from Chris H wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

A few years ago I had a nice 8pt follow my trail to within about 25 yards from the tree I was in then walk 50 yards below me and right out into the clear cut I was hunting. I watched him walk all the way and as soon as he stepped into the clear cut, I dropped him. Sometimes they just don't make good sense.

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from Andrew wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

i shot a 7 point buck in a corn field and the next day my uncle sat in the same stand and saw 2 does and a spike buck come right in and start feeding right around my deers gut pile and were stinky me had sweated gutting my deer, (it was quite warm)and drove my big polluting truck right out into the field and he still watched them for like a half hour before they just walked away.

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from alabamahunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I shot a a small spike a few years ago and ten minutes late two does came in and fed right around the dead deers body.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

My next door neighbor actually shot a six pointer with his pants down in the middle of dropping a load. I have shot deer and stayed on stand and noticed a dead deer on the ground doesn't seem to bother the others. I think WA Mtnhunter has it figured out. The big bucks are just a little smarter than average and a little warier. They will sneak up and lie down 150 yards from your stand and blow at the other deer when they wander too close. This has happened to me several times. If they weren't so smart it wouldn't be so fun...

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from Whitetail Buck wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

All you hunters stink,and once and a while me my brothers just mess-up and don't see you stinking up the woods!

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from rdk wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

At least 5 times a hunting season my family has deer walk right past places where we "relieved" ourselves not 2 hours ago.Unless already spooky, they just don't care about scent.

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from jstreet wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

Deer are like women. I've never been able to figure them out and probably never will. Both will change the rules to suit their whims @ the time.Jim

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from Mark wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

On this note it’ll be very curious as to how the deer will evolve and act once the reg change takes effect in three Upstate New York counties this Fall. Rifles will be allowed for the first time for what must be 80-years. It’ll be a new game to these deer.

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from Steve C wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

If anything, hunting has taught me that animals don't always follow the "rules" we outdoorsmen assign to them.Ducks will blacken the sky on blue-bird days, large fish will bite right next to the dock after you've made enough noise to wake the dead, and deer don't always head to the next county when they get a wiff of civilization.I'm sure we all have stories. My personal favorite was the 1981 opening day for deer in Virginia. I was sitting on my stool with my back to a tree when a buck walked up behind me. I couldn't move without being seen. The deer stopped as is passed me - later measured at 17 feet away - and put it's nose to the ground before looking right at me. There in front of it was a wrapper from a Slim Jim. There were several more minutes of smelling and intense looks before the buck went on it's merry way. After being so thoroughly busted, I didn't even think about shooting it.

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from elkman wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

You got me. I've never been able to figure it out. I still wash myself and my clothes with the products of the scent free industry racket. But after a few days without a shower last year while elk hunting, I stalked up on a trophy muley, I didn't have a tag for deer, so I was just doing it for my own entertainment, but I was able to get within 40 feet of him, he was straight down wind. I could feel the air blowing directly from me to him, and although minor movements caught his attention, he would stare right at me but couldn't see me. I wasn't wearing any camouflage either, so I wonder about the need for it too. He even swayed his head to each side, trying to look around me, but never seemed to see me right in front of him. I thought deer could recognize facial structure, and I believe he was looking me right in the eye. He never smelled me and never saw me. He eventually got full from grazing and wondered off into the woods, never having known I was there.My buddied joked that he must have been a retarded deer.Later that month when I was deer hunting with a buck tag, I saw several does that didn't care that I was moving freely and making noise within 20 yards of them. They would look at me, but then just go back to grazing.Either they knew that I only had an antlered tag or it must be the CWD.

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from TDHoward wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I truly believe it's what they get used to. If deer live in an area with high human useage, they get used to human odors and will not be bothered. If they live in an area with very little human interference, then the human odor will result in whitetails flying.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I think the careless ones end up wrapped in white paper while young and tender. The more careful ones have great racks and are a little harder to harvest before they die of old age.

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from Chad Love wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I've long since given up on trying figure out how a deer will react to human scent. The only thing I know for sure is that there are no absolutes. The last two deer I've shot have both been straight downwind of me (one at 12 yards during bow season) and neither one seemed terribly alarmed by the large, stinky manblob they surely could detect just upwind of them.And then there are the deer that bolt at the first faint whiff of anything out of the ordinary, the "how the hell did he know I was here?" incidents.Who knows? I think deer are as individualistic as any other mammal. There are smart ones, dumb ones, careless ones and careful ones.

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from Blue Ox wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I saw a small doe eating the stomach contents from a gut pile I left last season. She muched away for a good fifteen minutes, then walked away cool as could be. The wolves took the rest not five minutes later.

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