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It’s an aspect of hunting that is often overlooked. Scent is one of the most important considerations for those out in the field wishing to avoid detection. Regarding it as trivial will only set you up for failure.

Whitetail deer were biologically designed to detect smell better than most animals. They have more olfactory receptors in their noses than dogs, giving them a sense of smell 1/3rd greater than that of canines. Entering the woods without preparing for this beforehand will more than likely ruin your chances of successfully coming home with any type of trophy. With that said, take the following steps in order to best mask your scent before taking the stand.

Step #1: Prepare at home

Attempting to hide your scent after already reaching your hunting spot is pointless. Once you are out in the field, deer have the opportunity to smell your presence almost immediately. Start attempting to mask your scent at home. Shower with fragrance-free soap, and make sure there are no hidden smells sticking to your clothes or gear.

Step #2: Use odor-remover spray

Spray down all of your gear (clothing, bow, arrows, backpack) before heading out with odor-removing spray. Even if you keep all of these items stored during the time in between hunts, there’s a good chance they will pick up some sort of scent regardless. Having them stored in your car, for example, exposes them to any odors within it.

Step #3: Dress carefully

Be aware of the type of gear you’re wearing and where you’ve worn it. Keeping your clothing stored before a hunt is crucial to prevent any lingering odors from attaching themselves. Once everything is squared away, don’t dress until you’ve reached the field. There are several possibilities that can occur in between the moment you leave for the hunt, and reaching the field. Stopping to get food, gas, or general supplies exposes you to a vast range of odors that will be picked up very quickly by your intended targets.

If you haven’t already done so, paying more attention to your scent when hunting can spell the difference between success and failure. Always be one step ahead of your target. Preventing deer from detecting your presence at all via smell can allow you get much closer (an important tactic especially in bowhunting), which can greatly increase your odds of walking away victorious.