Hunting Tips

8 Scents Giving you Away in the Woods

All deer hunters know about scents. It amazes me how many hunters know but don’t take it to heart. Sure, some are things that you may not think of, but others are just out of laziness.

If you find yourself saying “why don’t I ever see deer” while out hunting, look through the list below. I bet your forgetting about one of these scents that are giving you away.

Scents That Are Giving You Away

Clothes

Let’s start with the most obvious, you hunting clothes. Believe it or not, I know guys that throw their bibs in the washer using the detergent the wife gets from the store! I know it smells fresh but you don’t want that smell in the woods. The scent from regular detergent lasts for a very long time. Just don’t use it.

I know others that just don’t wash their clothes but yearly. Sure, your not introducing any scents from detergent but you are introducing your sweat, body odor and even gun powder and decaying blood.

Make sure to wash your hunting clothes using a scent free detergent. It’s even better if you hand wash them keeping everything out of the washer machine.

Soap and Shampoo

Everyone showers and it is a good idea to do so before hitting the woods. You need to get rid of the smell of life. But, how are you showering is the question. Using that smelly soap and shampoo? It is recommended to get some sent free soap and shampoo to use. One bar of scent free soap and a bottle of scent free shampoo should last you the whole hunting season. Spend the $7, its worth it.

Deodorant

Yes, it is a smart idea to wear deodorant while hunting, its the type that is important. You don’t want to smell like football player showing after a game. Keep the sport stick in the cabinet. Go with the scent free deodorant picked up from the hunting section at Walmart.

Your Shave Cream or Bead Oil

Guys grow beards during hunting season for a reason. If you need to shave (work?), use your scent free soap and shave in the shower. You do not want that cool shave cream smell on you while hunting. It is an easily forgotten step that many forget about.

If you have a beard or grow it out during hunting season, don’t forget about beard oil. If you want to brush your beard so you look good for your buddies, more power to you, but stay away from the oil during the season.

Your Boots

Do you wear your work boots out in the field? How old are your hunting boots? Just like shoes, boots hold odor and your wife is not the only one that can smell them. Deer have very good noses and can smell your rank feet through your boots. It is recommended to use odor control powder, even if they are new.

During the rut, I also add a couple drops of doe urine by putting about two drops on the back of my boots near the sole. Yes, deer can separate the two smells of the doe urine and you but during the rut, they are more interested in her and not you.

I will also say that many people will tell  you not to put doe scent on any part of you, so do it at your own risk. Below is a video of why you shouldn’t. It’s funny but also dangerous.

Your Cigarette or Chewing Tobacco

I was one of these guys when I was younger. Just don’t smoke nor dip/chew while hunting. I know the crave, I know its hard but just don’t. Deer can smell dip/chew just as much as cigarette smoke.

I stopped dipping a long time back but still enjoy cigars every once in a while. I always have one in the truck to enjoy on the way to check in my kill.

Your Car

Yes, even your car has a smell! Even if you don’t smoke, your car has smells. Think about what happens in your car/truck… Food, drinks, leather seats, cleaning products, etc. Always have some scent block in your vehicle to spray yourself down after getting out and before hitting the woods.

 Your Gun

Not such an issue with compound or crossbows (or even with your crossbow accessories),but guns are scent crazy. Whenever you discharge your firearm, you smell your shot. Traces of that old gunpowder stays in your chamber and barrel. If you do things right, you clean your gun every time you discharge it. When you clean your gun, your using powerful chemicals and oils to do so. I clean guns smells good to us but is a dead giveaway to deer.

This is the hardest scent to get around and hide. Your best bet is to clean your gun and let it sit before hitting the woods. Your pretty much stuck with this scent but you can do what you can.

Conclusion

Above are a handful of scents that some people don’t think about. The biggest thing to remember is to think it through. Remember, deer can smell better than dogs and they know what scents to expect in the woods. If/when they smell something out of place, they will take the log way around and that is a fact. So set your self up for successful deer hunt and think about your scent.

Bowhunting: Crossbow vs Compound Bow

When it comes to bowhunting, most hunters have a preference on what they like to use. Some swear by compound bows only with the thoughts that compound bows gives more of a challenge than crossbows. Today, we are going to go over crossbows vs compound bows and why one may be a better fit for you over the other. So let’s get started…

State Laws

Depending on what state you live/hunt in, there may be laws that help you with this decision. For example, up to only a few years ago, you could only use a crossbow during gun season in Indiana. Since a crossbow has a trigger, they were considered a firearm. Then the law was changed to you could only use a crossbow during the second half of the bow season. Today, you can now use crossbows during all seasons.

Before deciding to move to a crossbow, you will want to make sure what the laws are in your own state.

Per state rules as of February 26, 2018 are listed below. The below list is only intended as a quick first glance at if considering a crossbow may be worth the purchase. You should check your current state DNR site for full rules.

State’s crossbows legal deer hunting seasons

  • ALASKA: In bow only areas only, where gun/bow are both in season, bow season for the handicapped hunters (with Exemption Form)
  • ALABAMA: Can use during all of deer season
  • ARKANSAS: Only during archery season
  • ARIZONA: All season for handicapped hunters that have permit. Open to all in firearms season
  • CALIFORNIA: Open to everyone during gun season. Approved use for someone with physical disabilities though there is a process to be approved
  • COLORADO: Can use crossbows during gun season. Handicapped can use during bow season.
  • CONNECTICUT: Can be used during all of archery season
  • DELAWARE: Can be used during all of deer season
  • FLORIDA: Can be used during all seasons
  • GEORGIA: Can be used during all seasons
  • HAWAII: Can only be used by permitted disability hunters
  • IOWA: Only people over 70 all season, anyone during late muzzle loader season
  • IDAHO: Only during hunting season marked “any-weapon”. People that are handicapped may obtain a permit for all season
  • ILLINOIS: Can be used during all of bow season
  • INDIANA: Can be used during all of bow season
  • KANSAS: Can be used during all of bow season
  • KENTUCKY: During Modern Gun Season. 65 and older can use between first Saturday of September through the third Monday in January.
  • LOUISIANA: During archery season
  • MASSACHUSETTS: By permitted handicapped people only
  • MARYLAND: During bow season
  • MAINE: Must have crossbow permit, go through crossbow training
  • MICHIGAN: During any gun season
  • MINNESOTA: During gun season or a permitted handicapped person
  • MISSOURI: During bow season
  • MISSISSIPPI: During all of bow season
  • MONTANA: During gun season
  • NORTH CAROLINA: During bow season
  • NORTH DAKOTA: Must have disability crossbow permit
  • NEBRASKA: During bow season
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: During gun season and permitted handicapped people. Must have crossbow permit
  • NEW JERSEY: During bow season
  • NEW MEXICO: Gun season for everyone, bow season for certified handicapped people
  • NEVADA: Legal in “Any Legal Weapon” season only
  • New York: You will want to check current regulations here
  • Ohio: During bow season
  • OKLAHOMA: During bow season
  • OREGON: Not legal at all, sorry
  • PENNSYLVANIA: During bow season
  • RHODE ISLAND: During bow season but requires bow classes
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: During bow season
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: Handicapped people only during bow season
  • TENNESSEE: During all seasons
  • TEXAS: During bow season besides the county of Grayson
  • UTAH: Any legal deer hunting season
  • VIRGINIA: During bow and gun season but requires a crossbow licence during bow season
  • VERMONT: Legal for 50+ people. Only with disability permit if 49 or uner
  • WASHINGTON: Only legal for people with qualifying disabilities. Requires submission from Doctor
  •  WISCONSIN: Only during gun season. Requires crossbow permit
  • WEST VIRGINIA: During bow season besides McDowell County, Mingo County, and Wyoming County
  • WYOMING: During bow season

Compound Bow vs Crossbow

crossbow

Credit: Dwight Stone

Crossbow

Hunting with a crossbow is similar to hunting with a rifle but not the same. It is more challenging to hunt with a crossbow then a rifle but not a challenging as with a compound bow.

A crossbow would be a good fit for someone that may not be up to pulling back 75+ pounds, someone who might be physically challenged, or someone that gets cold/stiff easy when sitting in a deer stand all day. I’m one of those people. It may also just be more convenient to use a crossbow if you have never used a compound before but want to tale advantage of bow season (in some states). I always say, the best hunting happens before the guns start going off.

Here are a couple advantages of using a crossbow over a compound:

  • Will be locked and loaded when the time comes
  • Easier to get into a good shooting position
  • Not needing to stand and draw
  • Further shot distance
  • More accurate

Credit: john skewes

Compound bow

Compound bows are the most widely known bows used for deer hunting. They take a lot a lot of practice, patience and strength to use.

Many people prefer compound bows for a couple of reasons. Firstly, people say that it about the hardest way to hunt today. So if your looking for accomplishment, this can go down as a pro. Compounds take a lot of skill to use. Think about how much work goes into using one.

Some people want the challenge of using a compound bow, I know I love it. It takes a lot of practice shooting from different positions including different height levels. If you already bow hunt, I’m sure you know that. Shooting from an elevated position (tree stand) shoots different than making our shot at ground level. We have all had that miss from the tree because you over shot… If you are thinking about buying a compound bow, I suggest reading our article titled 3 Best Bang For Your Buck Compound Bows of 2018.

Here are a couple pros for using a compound bow:

  • Nothing makes you feel prouder than dropping a buck using a compound bow
  • Harder hunt equals more of an accomplishment
  • You need to be skilled being mindful of every move you make

Conclusion

Whichever choice you make, you will need to prepare and get to know your tools. Each requires you to set them up personalized to your style. You will want to practice as much as possible and shoot from as many angles/heights as possible.

Sources: Images used under Creative Commons. Images have not been changed.