Scent: How It Carries

  

Sponsored by: Buck Stop Scents

By: Brian Johansen

All of the deer’s five senses are important to its survival, but by far the most important is its sense of smell. Deer’s ability to smell is 100 times greater than humans. A deer will pick up scent that a human cannot even detect.

The whitetail, in particular, has few predators, man being his number one, and the species is very keen to our human odor. All the information and research done on wildlife has yet to establish the exact specific distinction of their sense of smell, yet we do know the species can determine not only the sex and breedability, but the age, size and diet of any given scent source.

Their avoidance of certain areas and trails proves this. We can only further study the importance of natural products through nature study, not in chemical mixtures and scientific laboratories.

Deer are always monitoring the air for particles of scent. Many factors affect scent and how it travels. Most important are wind, temperature and moisture. A warm, moist, still atmosphere enhances a deer’s ability to pick up scent molecules.

Both rain and falling snow carry the molecules of scent to the earth and dilutes them. Light mist and heavy fog block scent from carrying great distances. High humidity, between 50-70%, is ideal for scenting puposes and will make deer very nervous. Because more scent is carried to them, they become double alert.

Low humidity, between 10-20%, works against deer because the nasal passages have a tendency to dry out and it hampers their ability to pick up the scent molecules.

High temperatures cause air convection, and the rising thermals carry the scent molecules upward before they can reach a deer.

Extremely low temperatures also handicap a deer because the scent molecules are pushed downward.

Air movements play a big role in the deer’s ability to use its sense of smell. Ideal scenting conditions mean a humidity of 20-80%, with temperatures of 40-60°F, coupled with breezes up to 5 MPH. Under these conditions, a deer will detect danger a half a mile or more away.

To other articles by Brian Johansen.

Brian Johansen is the president of Buck Stop. Visit the Buck Stop web site at buckstopscents.com.