MINNEAPOLIS — Hunters who come home without a deer perhaps can credit bad luck for their poor showing. Or too few skills. Or marginal effort.
It’s also possible that they didn’t shoot a deer because they stunk the place up.
The woods, that is.
Or at least that’s what the multi-million-dollar deer-hunting scent business would have you believe.
Perhaps it’s even true.
White-tailed deer, after all, have extremely good noses — better, even, than most people can imagine. Together with their ability to flee on fast legs, leap high fences and other obstacles, and in general make themselves nearly invisible by moving almost exclusively at night, deer count their scenting ability as a primary defense.
A hunter unaware of this often doesn’t see deer because his (or her) odor gives him away before visual contact can be made.
At which point an alerted deer tiptoes (or trots or runs) to safer areas.
That said: Can it really be true that deer hunters today must buy the wide array of available scent products just to bag a deer?
Maybe, maybe not.
Either way, here’s a snapshot of what’s available in the scent department:
• Odor “eliminators:” These come in spray bottles and are marketed under many names. Manufacturers say that when sprayed on clothes or boots, they eliminate human and other scent..
• Deer attractants: Marketed for many different purposes, these liquids can mimic — so the story goes — a doe in estrus or a buck in rut (the latter idea being to attract a dominant buck to fight, at which time the hunter instead shoots the incoming animal). Once sold only in small bottles, these products now also come in aerosol “bombs” and gels.
• Mock scrape attractants: These are relatively new on the market, and hunters are well advised to test them in areas deer frequent to determine effectiveness..
• Clothes-cleaning products: Right or wrong, I’m big into these. I buy scentless laundry detergent by a deer-product manufacturer.
• Shampoo and other personal products: These make sense to me, as well.