There’s virtually no lengths a hunter won’t go to in order to fool a whitetail’s incredible nose. I’ve heard of guys dousing themselves with deer urine or rolling around in the dirt before a hunt — rituals they swear by, with big bucks hanging on the wall to back it up. To non-hunters it might seem like borderline insanity, but to anyone who has spent time in a deer stand, it’s just business as usual.
Everyone has their own routines to reduce their scent and lessen the odds of being detected by a deer. Take Warren Womack for example, a 73-year-old hunter from East Feliciana Parish who has religiously used baking soda — a natural odor neutralizer —to help him harvest many of the 378 deer he’s killed since he began recording detailed information about his hunts in the 1970s. To him, reducing scent is the number one factor in being a successful deer hunter.
“When I first started hunting I didn’t have a knowledge base to find out stuff like we do today,” Womack said. “We didn’t have the internet or videos to watch. So the deer taught me what scent control was all about.”
Through his observations as a bowhunter in the 1960s, Womack figured out that a deer would use its sense of smell to avoid humans. He figured something needed to be done to eliminate his odor, and started using baking soda to wash his clothes and rub on his body. Back then, science didn’t have much to say on the biology of a deer’s nose. And still today, we don’t know specific details about how their noses work. But researchers have gathered enough to understand it’s an incredibly complex — and powerful — biological system.
A powerful sense of smell
While you may have heard that a whitetail’s nose is anywhere from 500 to 1,000 times stronger than a