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Old 11-26-2012, 01:37 PM
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Default How far can deer smell...

...human odor and then become alert or vacate the area. A feral hog can smell you out to about 700 yds or so. Just curious about your personal field observations with older deer say 4+?
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:16 PM
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That's tough. I've had deer downwind at all ranges not smell me at times, but I know I've had deer wind me from at least 3 or 400 yards across a field before.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:23 PM
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Had a doe wind me at 450 yds in a cut bean field last week. Took off like she'd been shot.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:07 PM
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Had a doe wind me at 450 yds in a cut bean field last week. Took off like she'd been shot.

Had you taken your weekly shower?
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:20 PM
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I've had deer wind me at 200, but I've never seen them wind me from further. I practice scent control, but if they are still looking for you they will find you if your scent stream is hitting them. I hear guys tell me all the time that they have deer down wind and they don't get busted, well that can be explained by a couple things, 1 your scent stream is flowing above them, this normally happens in the mornings when the thermals are carrying your scent up. 2 they feel they are in a safe area and are not concentrating on detecting scent. This happens a lot after deer have moved out into an open field and feel comfortable feeding. 3 you don't know which direction the wind is blowing or you're not familiar with the wind currents in the terrain you are in.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:37 PM
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Had you taken your weekly shower?

Funny you ask, it had probably been 3 days. I tend to miss my daily showers when I have hunters. I was out mainly to watch a field and wasn't expecting anything to be behind me.

This doe was strolling across the cut beans and stopped on a dime.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:47 PM
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I really think it depends on the day.

Learned that after watching bird dogs some days point birds from 20-30 yards on good days. While the same dogs would have real problems on the hotter, drier days. They would have to be right on top the birds to find them.

I am sure its the say way for deer.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:20 PM
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I don't think there is a physical limit you can point at. I think it all depends on conditions. Thats like asking how far can you see...

I read that polar bears can smell a seal from 30 miles away
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:11 PM
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The one that blows me away is one drop of blood in the ocean can be detected by a shark at over a mile. I've heard the polar bear 30 miles as well...amazing. I would bet they can detect the smell for as far as the scent carries and that's going to be based on temps , terrain and wind. Wouldn't be surprised if on flat ground in the right temp and wind it's a mile+ , but that doesn't mean they know where you are, just you're somewhere. I believe they can tell if you're close vs far though. I've been busted at 200 yrds and not been busted as one has walked a circle around the tree I was in. Younger the dumber.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:54 PM
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I was wondering how they can bed so close to my house down wind looks like it would keep them awake and spooked but it doesnt. May be they are watching me instead!
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:26 PM
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How far can a deer smell?

I smelled one last week about 50 yards away.

G
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:57 PM
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I once read that it can alarm deer for one half of a forty in the woods and up to a full forty in the open. A forty equals 1320 feet. So let's say 220 yards in the woods and 440 yards in the open.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letemgrow View Post
I really think it depends on the day.

Learned that after watching bird dogs some days point birds from 20-30 yards on good days. While the same dogs would have real problems on the hotter, drier days. They would have to be right on top the birds to find them.

I am sure its the say way for deer.

This is what I have always found. In low humidity sent doesn't travel as far.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lone cedar farm View Post
I was wondering how they can bed so close to my house down wind looks like it would keep them awake and spooked but it doesnt. May be they are watching me instead!

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer! I figure best case scenario would be 400-500 yards. Around here there would be some elevation change or landscape change that would effect it past that. Weather would play a huge role, ie BP,humidity, temp. Time of day is critical as well. Thermals rise in the mornings and fall in the evenings. I think wind speed would effect it. On the salt flats out west, they may smell you at 1000 yards or further. Too many variables to answer the question. It would be like trying to answer, How far can this 2 way radio be heard?
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letemgrow View Post
I really think it depends on the day.

Learned that after watching bird dogs some days point birds from 20-30 yards on good days. While the same dogs would have real problems on the hotter, drier days. They would have to be right on top the birds to find them.

I am sure its the say way for deer.

Agree. I used to think the best time to prep and hang tree stands was on a rainy day until I realized those are the days that dogs trail or point the best. It's the dry windy days that are tough for dogs. It must be the same for deer.

Asking how far a deer can smell you really can't be answered. Different folks have differing levels of "odor" that change throughout the day, week, or year. Diet, hygiene, lifestyle and health effect how much someone "stinks".

Then there is the question of how an individual deer reacts to different levels of human odor. One minute a deer may accept it and the next minute panic.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:34 PM
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All great answers! We probably alert more deer than we realize.

So the next question?

How do we use what we just discussed to design sanctuaries and destination food plots secure for the older age classes (more wary?) of deer? Do we need a 'scent buffer'?

I can smell bacon cooking from over a mile....that is sheer torture while sitting a stand with SSE wind! Bacon and donut fettish here!
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lone cedar farm View Post
I was wondering how they can bed so close to my house down wind

I think this has a lot to do with it. If the deer are used to smelling humans in an area without it causing harm, they don't worry about it nearly as much as smelling human in an area where it isn't normally present.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgallow View Post
...human odor and then become alert or vacate the area. A feral hog can smell you out to about 700 yds or so. Just curious about your personal field observations with older deer say 4+?

Can older deer smell better? I have deer walk down wind and right under my stand all the time. They have been 31/2 and younger. Do mature bucks take off and younger ones just do not care?
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:45 PM
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Can older deer smell better? I have deer walk down wind and right under my stand all the time. They have been 31/2 and younger. Do mature bucks take off and younger ones just do not care?

No older deer can't smell better but they are better at deciphering what their nose is telling them.
And I contend that the vast majority of the deer that hunters THINK are downwind really aren't downwind. Wind is often doing something different that we think it's doing.
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Last edited by Tap : 11-27-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:54 PM
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If I'm clean, it seems I'm undetected at 150-200 yards most of the time.

In these mountains the wind swirls, so it can be tricky. In the morning when the sun hits the slopes, scent moves uphill.

I can recall a couple times when I sat at one location for over an hour and when I let loose a fart, deer 150 yards downwind of me alarmed. That seems to indicate that my scent was safe at that distance as long as I didn't "break wind".

Earlier this month, I followed a doe along a plateau for a couple hundred yards staying in the brush downwind of her, hoping a buck would join in. I had a gas attack and figured I was safe. After 2 minutes or so my scent swirled upwind and alarmed her, causing her to run almost directly at me until she realized that was a poor idea. The swirl can fool them as well as us.
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