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Thread: Wood smoke as a cover scent

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Wood smoke as a cover scent

    Iím sure I have posted about this before and wrote an article for Varmint hunters magazine years ago but I had an incident yesterday that reconfirmed it and thought I would share.

    Daylight finds me setting in a brush thicket watching a well used trail about 20 yds away. The full moon is still up not going to set for a couple hours. While the temp was not bitter cold my soda froze on the ground beside me.
    Being the sissie that I am I built me a fire. Something I nearly always do whether itís cold or not. The fire I build is very small. It would easily fit in your hat but it lets me warm my hands and covers my scent.

    Right after the moon set I saw a small 8 pt buck meandering down the trail from my right. He had nowhere to go and wasnít in any hurry to get there. He wasnít a shooter for me even if I had a buck tag which I donít.

    Eventually he got far enough left to hit my smoke which was laying right on the ground. You can bet that my scent was right there with it. He never raised his head or showed any sign of alarm. He just meandered along about his business.
    I have seen similar situations many times and am firmly convinced a small fire is better than anything you can buy to cover your scent.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bdicki's Avatar
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    I met a farmer in the woods that used diesel fuel as a cover scent. He was dressed in a brown Carhart jacket.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy ikarus1's Avatar
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    I just tend my fireplace before I go hunting and it seems to descent or cover my scent well enough. I've had deer downwind of me at 35yds several times this season

  4. #4
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Don't know about smoke from a fire but I had a small buck about 15 yds down wind from me this year when I had a cigarette lit . He paused for about a half second and kept on walking .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Looks like the posts so far, bear out that it may help, and doesn't seem to hinder. I agree with that.


    It may matter where folks are in their & the deer environment and what is "natural" for them to smell. Although I have lived & hunted in other places, I have lived in rural S.E. MN for some time, where we have plenty of woods as well as farm fields. So most of my experiences for deer hunting are here. The deer smell things & associate them with either danger, or of no concern. In regard to wood smoke, if folks burn woodburner stoves for heat in the Winter, so the smell wafts thru the air, and other than during deer hunting season(after it is usually too late for them to associate the smoke with danger, they just associate "man" with danger then.) they pay it no mind since it is not dangerous to them, then they just consider it a natural smell on occasion. No different than many other smells they encounter. Although, if the deer are not associated with a smell, they are likely to be more concerned about danger from what it may bring & so if they live in an area where some smell like wood smoke is not common, then they would likely be a bit concerned about that uncommon smell. Think in areas that have little human population & the smell of smoke may be less, unless it is a wildfire that brings danger.

    Anyway... It has worked for me in the past here in this area of S.E. MN.. I have had fires & smoke has gotten on my clothes. As well, I have used cedar & pine boughs rubbed on my clothes or put into a plastic garbage bags with my clothes overnight. I have even rubbed damp soft dirt on my clothes since the smell of earth is natural to them. All things that are common to my area.

    I have been a "still" or "stalk" hunter for deer most of my life & even though keeping downwind is important, using a cover scent that the deer are used to smelling is helpful on occasion for those times when the wind goes to them. Most deer I have shot were within 40-50 yards or less, and I was on the ground just like they were. I rarely have used an elevated or tree stand. It is my thinking that is helps & doesn't hurt one bit. Besides, I like the smell of all I have mentioned.

    Some farmers I know hang their hunting clothes out in the barn by the cows or pigs, since the deer are used to that smell in their area. One I know, Old Man Zimmerman, told me when he was running his dairy herd, he stood near his manure spreader, in the field , but parked next to the woods & pond or sat on some stacked bales next to it, when deer hunting, and had success.

    This opinion is based on "my" experiences & is my opinion after many years of successful hunting. Others may disagree, but they were not with me for me to demonstrate that what I say has worked for "me".
    We have eaten natures bounty for many years.
    Last edited by JBinMN; 12-27-2018 at 01:28 PM. Reason: Fixed a misspelled word.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    I have read that native Americans used smoke as a cover scent, but don’t know how true it is. IMHO the best cover scent is a wind blowing your scent away from your quarry.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    We had an old-timer here who would burn sandalwood incense as a coves and attractant. I've never tried it. But he said deer would follow that right to him. He almost always filled his tag every year.

  8. #8
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    As JBinMN said I have seen smoke work well as a cover scent If is a normal scent in their area > Around here many use wood stoves as winter backup heat so smoke works very well
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

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  9. #9
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    I knew an old time hunter that did just that, make a small smudge fire in his blind for cover scent. Must have worked since he got a deer, or more, from that blind every year. He just made the smudge, smoky material, in an old galvanized pail and put the fire out every evening.Robert

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master



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    One of my dad's hunting buddies smoked a pipe. I preferred cherry flavored tobacco. His tree stand was about 500 yards from mine. If the wind was right I could smell it when he lit up. When I was down wind I could watch how the deer reacted. When the deer smelled it they never spooked and some would get curious and follow it up.

  11. #11
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    My hunting cabin is located on the side of gully and depending on wind and weather sometimes the smoke settles in a layer along the sides of the gully, I've shot a couple deer when the smoke was like that and never gave it much thought. I will be paying more attention now!
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master and Dean of Balls




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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin101 View Post
    My hunting cabin is located on the side of gully and depending on wind and weather sometimes the smoke settles in a layer along the sides of the gully, I've shot a couple deer when the smoke was like that and never gave it much thought. I will be paying more attention now!
    just out of curiosity, where do you hunt? other than the adirondacks, I'm usually in Pavillion or Hemlock.
    Quote Originally Posted by Theodore Roosevelt
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Something not mentioned: Cover scents are fine, but it makes sense to be clean also.
    Just as we can smell someone who needs a bath, and just puts on cologne, a deer probably can detect BO also,
    and move away from the distinct 'human' smell.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.


    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Better than BO but I will try and stay upwind or use a very heavy cover sent like Skunk!!

    As skunk smells like fresh coffee to me I use that. [yep several in my family feel the same on the scent]

    Where I live smoke from heating a home is very common.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdicki View Post
    I met a farmer in the woods that used diesel fuel as a cover scent. He was dressed in a brown Carhart jacket.
    My brother says hi.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    Don't get caught doing that in Alabama. You can have smoke scent on your clothes, but the regs say it's illegal to hunt with the aid of smoke or fire, whether man-made or natural.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ


    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Scent rises due to body heat.
    Having sat and watched mule deer - both upwind and downwind - I have discovered that a deer either is unfazed by human scent at 10 yards or less when they are down wind, or the scent has risen due to body heat, or the scent has been diluted enough by the breeze. Deer spook at unusual sound and unexpected movement long before they are near enough to catch your scent.
    Most deer have not been in contact with humans enough to recognize the scent of a human as something to be afraid of.
    Deer do spook from white fabric, blue fabric, and the sound of metal on metal.
    And bucks will walk right past a lure with doe in heat without checking it - tracks in the snow tell all.
    Go now and pour yourself a hot one...

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master



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    Greetings
    What do deer like to eat... one thing is apples at least where ever I have lived.
    Been using apples well over 20 years now in corn country. Half rotten work very well to get a good smear on my outside layer but especially my boots.
    I have been tracked by corn crunchers. Have had them walk up to my stand and lick the juice off the climbing pegs.
    This feller this year crossed my trail 75 yards away from where I was sitting in a tree with a bow. As soon as he hit my walk in trail he stopped, smelled both directions and slowly ambled along following my steps. Came to 20 yards and licked the spot on the 2 foot thick log I stepped onto to get across to get to my tree. That is where he turned broadside. During the whole 5 minutes I watched him he kept looking back over his shoulders so I thought he was watching another buck behind. So I let him go.
    Stuck this same bean eater 4 days later.
    His rack had been broken off early on so just had the 3 spikes sticking out. Good eater !!

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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Seems to me cover scents are bogus. Be aware of which way the wind blows, and hunt accordingly.
    Good luck.
    luvtn

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Where I hunt, and most anywhere I’ve hunted my entire life the wind would be one way and two minutes later the exact opposite. Ive heard the term ( hunt the wind ) for years but have always found it to be impossible where I was at the time.
    Perhaps in a different area it may be different.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

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