No human can fully understand what a deer actually smells, or a fox, hunting hound or whatever. And more often than you might think, it costs us game. If you don't want that to happen, there are two ways to go, and one is to reduce your scent as much as possible.
For example, you might thoroughly shower with a deodorizing scent, and keep your hunting togs in a plastic bag well sprayed with something like pine scent, cedar, apple or other scents, all available at any serious sporting goods store. Then, next morning when you head for your favorite hunting area, wear ordinary clothes and don't put on hunting clothing until you reach your location, this to reduce sweating in your clothes all the way there. Even then you'll sweat some when you walk in to your hunting ground, but there'll at least be less scent.
Many hunters like to wear rubber boots because they hold in odor, but remember you'll be putting those boots on with sweaty hands. At least, when you arrive at your parking spot, spray the boots with something and don't forget to do the soles, too. That'll help. If you wear leather boots, do the same. If possible, approach your tree stand with the wind in your face, and if not possible, at least do your absolute best to avoid brushing against tree limbs, bushes, etc. It all sounds like a lot of trouble, and it'll be even more trouble if you climb a ladder into your stand using bare hands, so wear gloves to get up there.
Is there an alternative to all this effort? Sure, just don't let them smell you. Pay attention to wind direction going in and you can smoke cigars, chew tobacco, not bathe for a month, and wear filthy, smelly clothes and they'll never know you're there. It goes without saying that you should have scouted out your area well and know where deer are bedding down, where they're moving to feed, where serious trails are located with fresh tracks, then place your tree or ground stand (more than one?) in the proper place and approach it from the right direction.
The best tactic of all is to use a ground stand rather than one in a tree. Do that and you can place yourself correctly no matter the wind direction. Which is why a crossbow will usually beat a longbow for hunting these days. Hunt on the ground with the latter and you've got to move pulling the string, and you've got to be standing or at least kneeling. They'll see you most times and flee. With a crossbow you can sit in a fallen trees limbs or even lay flat on a ground sheet behind a few inches of foliage and simply pull the trigger when one passes. Whatever your choice, wind direction will make the difference. Be sure you use it to your advantage, not the deers.
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Hooks & bullets
• If you had a choice between spending your working life in an office or in Ohio's woods and streams, which would you choose? Eleven cadets, two women among them, considered the choice an easy one and have begun their training at the 29th Ohio Wildlife Officer Training Academy. The 11 cadets were chosen from a pool of more than 500 applicants and will train for six months before becoming state wildlife officers. Their training will include law enforcement procedures, wildlife and fisheries management, communications, hunter safety and more. For information on how you too can become a state wildlife officer, visit wildohio.gov.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be accepting new grant applications for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) until Nov. 15. Local government entities like villages, counties, park districts and cities, may now apply for up to $500,000 for the acquisition,development and rehabilitation of public outdoor recreational areas. To download a grant application or learn more, go to realestate.ohiodnr.gov/outdoor-recreation-facility-grants.
• Local anglers who like to fish salt water occasionally will be happy to hear that NOAA Fisheries has denied an Exempted Fishing Permit that would have allowed longline vessels into the East Florida Coast Pelagic Longline Closed Area. Longlines are huge "trotlines" that catch everything from sailfish and swordfish to sharks. They can destroy a great fishery in a short time and denying them access will allow saltwater anglers to enjoy catching (and releasing) hard fighting sailfish for years to come.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.