Contributors to this thread:
I hunted 3 evenings this past week and got busted on each sit (all different stands). In years past I don't remember getting winded this much. All 3 times, the wind switched and the deer came from my backside. I hang my cloths out a month before season and then pack in big Zip-Lock bags with scent waffers. I wash before every hunt with HS soap and spray down when I get to the woods. I always walk in with a light shirt on and then put on a cover layer when I get settled in my tree. Last night, I borrowed my buddies Ozonics and after the doe passed my shooting lane (it was too dark to shoot), she went down wind and blew 2-3 times before leaving the area.
My two thoughts are #1-I am doing something different and getting winded more #2 there are more deer on the farm giving me more chances of getting winded.
Any thoughts or am I over thinking this? I do play the wind and will not go into a stand if it is a bad wind, but all 3 nights, the deer circled me and busted me. Any advice is appreciated.
PS-I'm guessing I am over thinking this like everything else I think about. lol
"but all 3 nights, the deer circled me and busted me." As a WT hunter from the East, 2 things come to mind. 1. Are other people hunting the farm? 2. Thermals....doesn't just apply to mtn hunting. Regardless of the wind direction, the last hour....1/2 hour...thermals can take over. If deer are moving late, adjust your stand to take into account the change.
If they are circling then they either know something is there or it is a travel pattern. Most likely because they know something is there.
If it is just the wind making trouble for you don't worry about it. It happens. We get as clean as possible to give an illusion that a potential threat is far off and to come and go without making a highway of stink . I presume you are breathing ? Either only inhale or get a charcoal filter (chem mask). Otherwise hunt the morning when thermals are more upward. Look at the terrain features , maybe it is a sink for stink . Best of luck . Think a little hunt a lot.
Maybe it is coincidence, maybe it is your approach to the stand, and just maybe you stink and are getting busted but I do not think so.
Give it a week, cut down overall footprint, and let the October lull work for you.
Additionally, you didn’t state the size of farm or distance between the stands.
Remember that I stated up front that I did not think that it was scent alone. These deer should not be circling to pick up your scent unless they know that you are there.
Have to agree...if they are circling, something is making them do so.
You know, I hear about the experience you're having often and it puzzles me, because it might take me 3 YEARS or more of hunting to get winded 3 times.
So assuming that you're keeping your scent signiature down and your playing the wind, etc., I can only come up with two things.
1. You are moving......even a small amout.....in your stand. Deer that are "on alert" don't need much to send them into "defcon 5". You may also be silhouetted in those stands and combined with movement that's a killer.
2. Now this is a theory of mine. I DO believe that people have varying amounts of "stink" (and I DON'T mean that you don't bathe or take other precautions) and the ones who do bust more deer. I talk to hunters that get busted almost every time they hunt and like I said if I get busted (within eyesight/hearing of deer obviously) once or twice a season that's a lot. What to do? I really don't know, as it probably has to do with internal chemistry. I would only add that I DO take chlorophyll capsules during hunting season. That may or may not have any bearing, but it can't hurt.
To me it's as simple as you are picking the wrong stand for the night. You have to stay downwind of the deer or you're screwed. No amount of scent control on your part will work if you are upwind of the deer.
Don't let the ozonics fanboys see this...
On another note, you indicated the wind switched, thus I assume you stayed in the stand you picked for another wind. This may be the likely culprit. Having said that, I'm a bit confused because later you said the deer just circled you?
Evening treestand hunts can be the worst for getting winded because the cooling temps at dusk pull your scent down to the ground, and the lighter, switching breezes spread it in all directions. At the same time, I have some evening stands that are "scent-proof" partly because of the topography and partly because of the travel patterns of deer in those spots. Then I have other evening stands that are just the opposite, where nearly every deer approaching, no matter the direction of travel, and no matter the wind direction, will eventually scent me. My suggestion is to keep trying different stand locations until you figure out the ones that work best for evening hunts. By the way a deer snorting at you at dusk doesn't mean she scented you. More often than not, you got spotted up a tree after becoming skylined...they can see you much more easily as the woods darkens near dusk.
I have had similar events on an area I hunt between two hills. After getting busted a few times I tried spraying the tree down with earth scent to mix with my own and climbed a little higher. It worked on some occasions but on certain nights the deer were on full alert usually right after a rain. I only hunt that area now after we have had a dry spell.
Scent wafers in with your clothes is not helping. Just the opposite.
This is exactly why I don't hunt ANY of my good stands until temps drop into the 40s at night. I believe your scent is multiplied significantly during these early hunts. Plus, stagnant winds are the best at letting your scent remain in the area. I just avoid hunting until good brisk winds, temp drops or it's a stand that there's almost no chance of them getting behind me. Just my opinion.
Franzen... "ozonics fanboys". LOL
If the wind blows your scent towards a deer, it will smell you.
'Scent control', ozonics, hecs suit, or tinfoil hat will not change that fact.
Sometimes the deer win, sometimes we win..
I keep things simple..
I just can't believe that the Ozonics did not cover all of your scent! (Sarcastic comment)
It is obvious the deer are on to your presence if the same things has happened each sit and the deer are circling "looking for you". Sometimes you find a great location to ambush a deer but unsteady winds make the location unhuntable. This might be such a location. Efforts to minimize your scent are helpful but you will never be 100% scent-free in spite of what some products may suggest.
"Scent wafers in with your clothes is not helping. Just the opposite. ": grizzlyadam I had a guide's wife to tell me 'that HS fall blend smells nice on you' when they picked me up for the evening hunt in Texas one time. they said the clients that don't use the scent killer sprays have better luck on their ranch.
A couple of practices (assuming you are sitting in the "right" stands for the conditions):
-Before climbing into a treestand, we stomp (5 seconds) around in a muddy waterhole....incredible natural cover scent.
-Nose Jammer....body wash and spray only in "ify" conditions..ie..the wind marginally switched, I'll break it out and spray down. You've heard it before but NJ works.
Hope this helps,
Interested to know if these are new stands (meaning you hung new sets) or old ones that are tried and true? I have a little pod on my binocular strap that I can pull wind floaters out of. Check the wind numerous times with them if it is a new stand. You might be surprised how the wind actually shifts due to the terrain. If it's old stands those locations may be ingrained in the deer if hey are hunted a lot. Just a couple of thoughts.
Thanks for the great advice so far. I need to clarify a few things. As far as the 3 deer circling me, they were on their natural travel routes that led them to my scent steam. None of them were looking for me. I only saw one of them. The locations I was hunting all 3 nights were 1/4 from each other and I believe were different deer. We are the only ones hunting the farm but there is a lot of activity with the farmers and other people in the area.
After reading the great posts and thinking about the 3 situations, I have a thought on all of them.
Night 1, was a quick hunt and the forecast called for a SW wind, 45 minutes before dark it turned S and that's where I got winded.
Night 2, called for a NW wind but this spot has a been a tough spot for us with winds swirling. The doe was SW of me and she busted me as she was going to a green field to feed.
Night 3, we were set up perfect and would have had a shot if the deer was there 5 minutes earlier. Because of the light conditions, the deer continued on her trail which looped to our down wind side.
I agree that we can't beat their noses but I want to do my best to control what I can. My wife sat those same nights and saw 11 deer one night and 4 the next with some being 15 yards away and did not get winded because she was in a good spot with the wind.
My last thought on being busted more is the fact that there are more deer on this land than ever. I have seen deer each sit which did not happen in past years. More deer=more chances of the old doe busting me I guess.
All of the above, AND I had another possible answer......
The farm that I bowhunt is 500 acres and there's 10 of us that hunt it. There's a lot of good spots and the better ones have several stands in the vacinity. I used to have a stand at one of these points where woods, creek bottom and crop field all meet. The deer, when they entered the woods in this corner, would immediatey look UP into the trees, because thats where they detected hunters and/or where shot it. I pulled my stand from that corner and started hunting it on the ground and had better luck that way. This MAY be part of the problem you're having.
Are you wearing rubber boots when you walk in, or leather? You can be leaving a scent trail on the ground.....and that might be what's getting them antsy.
Otherwise, as a Colorado mountain hunter, welcome to getting busted by fickle winds. Happens here all the time.
Fickle winds WILL get you, but in the mountain west it's more of an issue because game there isn't used to being in such close contact with humans all year. In a typical midwestern whitetail woodlot deer LIVE within a 1/4 mile or so of people all year. If they became alarmed whenever they smelled people they'd run themselves to death in short order. What they've adapted to IMO is to associate human scent IN CONTEXT of where/when/how they detect it. That's why for the hunting that I do I try and REDUCE my scent signature (you can NEVER eliminate it), so that the deer may think you're 200 yards away when in fact you may be 50. Out west they'll run to the next zip code if they scent you at 200 yards.
My first thought was,it isn't the scent that is getting you busted and in fact, it may not be you, they are spooking from. Now, add to that, you cannot be odor free. If a deer or any animal, gets in the right place, no matter what you do or what you use, they will smell you. Here is my advice, and it is worth exactly what I charge. Quit worrying about it and just go hunt. They can't all bust you unless you are not sitting still enough.
Same thing happened to me last week. I had 20 deer come into my food plot with a perfect SW wind. 19 of them came in the way they always do, but my top buck decided to scent check the downwind edge first and hit my scent then slowly moved off. And a couple of years ago I had an giant Alpha-doe that was a major PIA. She would always scent check downwind of the bait because she had busted me just one time in the past. From that day forward, that bitch would circle 100 yards downwind every single time she approached that bait. She would get me, then blow and stomp and ruin the hunt for an hour. She became my number one target because it went on for 3 years. I never killed her, she likely died of old age.
So my guess is you have some deer that have wised up to you and they are doing what deer do.
My suggestion is to see if you can find that downwind spot where they are busting you and set up along that route. Make sure you brush in that stand so it's well concealed. Then hunt there.
And I agree with most of the comments above. You can set up a shower at the base of your stand, lather up with all that scent free stuff and pull out freshly cleaned laundry from an airtight bag, spray it all down with that scent-killer stuff, and the deer will still smell you if they get downwind of you. There is no way to defeat human odor unless you stopped breathing and climbed into a bubble. So don't sweat it. This is what makes bowhunting so much fun. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
wow, ozonics doesn't work in a stand. damn I was all in on getting one. :) I agree with Embry, early season is a tough time to hunt in warm conditions, everything favors the deer this time of year. Thermals are a killer with swirling winds. I would be strict about hunting edges where I knew deer can't get downwind of me and also consider going higher with your stands. If I get above 20 feet I get winded far less often even on swirling windy days.
If there is an open area to one side of your stand, and any appreciable breeze, your scent will be drifting toward that opening - sometimes even if the prevailing wind is blowing across that open area straight at you.
Every spot is different, but there are always back-eddies in the air flow where scent gets wrapped around in ways that you likely would not expect unless you’re thinking about areas of higher/lower pressure...
If you have a particular trail that is causing you to get winded, block the trail. The deer will quit using it.
What are you eating and what are you doing to control breathe scent? I can smell garlic on my wife for 2 days after she eats it. Imagine what that smells like to a deer. Eat bland foods, brush your teeth a lot and eat apples on stand. That my help a little bit.
I have a friend that gets busted more than the rest of us do. Most of his problem is that he can't hear a thing. He's been in bands his entire life. The deer get in on him before he see's them and then makes abrupt movements once he does see them. I also know of people that smoke in their tree and kill more than their fair share.
I wear rubber boots. None of the deer have hit my walking trail. They all hit my scent drifting down wind.
I think it is safe to say that we can all agree on one thing. Mean old does are good at doing their job, keeping the herd growing. If they were stupid, we would not be hunting them anymore!!
I will keep an eye on the wind and do a better job hunting the right spots and hoping they stay on the right trails.
WHAT KIND OF scent wafers are you using? i have had deer spook from the earth scent. not every time but enough not to use it anymore
I just tossed the earth scent wafers in the other day. In the past I have used them to make my cloths have a cover scent. Maybe I will remove them from the bag and add some dry leaves.
Pat: You're dead on about the alpha does. They can make big bucks look like amateurs when it comes to being hard to approach. This area I hunt had an alpha that I SWEAR had a tracking device attached to me. She'd come to a field edge 100+ yards upwind from where I was huddled down in the brush and look straight at me and go on alert. I was tempted to bring a rifle and get rid of her before she contaminated the gene pool!
Try some ever calm, wipe it on your boots as you walk in and rub it on your blind etc... Also you can try some nose jammer, it works and a heck of a lot cheaper and safer than ozonics.
Smoke your clothes & gear. Hickory chips & beekeeper belows. Not your mask though.
Don't over analyze your stand you picked it for a reason and you are seeing deer from it.
I hunt steep hill country with deep hollow's and thickets. I don't pay any attention to the wind in this environment . If I did I would never get into a stand.
Deer get jittery all the time from who knows what ?
If you are well concealed and clean , be patient. Good luck.
Maybe cuz earth scent isn't supposed to be found up in a tree lol. Gotta try the bird or squirrel scent!
I don't know how much or often you've moved your stands but it doesn't take long for some deer to key in on your stand sites. Also what time are you entering the woods and any chance you are disturbing the deer?
I had a doe bust me 2 different times, moved my stand and watched her stop and look up in the tree I had been in. Needless to say the wasp boss took care of that issue.
"I had a doe bust me 2 different times, moved my stand and watched her stop and look up in the tree I had been in."
I've seen this too, and many times it's the does that are the ones doing it. They edjumacate REAL well!
"Night 3, we were set up perfect and would have had a shot if the deer was there 5 minutes earlier. Because of the light conditions, the deer continued on her trail which looped to our down wind side"
My question is why are you sitting in a stand where the wind is blowing downwind of the trail? So basically any deer following that trail will smell you when it passes you correct? I'd move that stand to the downwind side.
Some people do sit stands like this. They basically hope the deer approaches upwind and anything downwind just won't show. But it's educating them and and in time you'll see less deer. Good luck!
I feel like last 2 years i have been getting busted much more often than ever in the past. Kind of like you i said what the heck is going on? What is different in past two years ? A few things i am checking out- the strap on my trufire release is huge padded thing and i sweat all summer shooting 3D and had two elk hunting trips in it. Same for bino harness and at least some of the clothing i wear deer hunting, 2 elk hunting trips are like a lifetime of stink. All the clothes are washed in scentfree multiple times but I cant help but think if some level of stink exists in something that i cant pick up on. I bought a new backpack last year thinking using it for putting up stands maybe too sweaty, but didn't see any difference in busts.
First night out here in NY last week was more of the same, I got busted by a doe at 50 yards, not even straight downwind. So, last night i switched it up and tried some new stuff: 1) No pack at all, bow, rangefinder, safety harness, water bottle, wind checker was it. 2) I didn't wear anything at all that had ever been out west elk hunting. I actually wore a pair of faded camo cotton cargo pants that have to 15 years old and not worn in 5 years. 3) That wind checker was one of the Cirrus vapor wind indicators that are pretty new. More on that below. The end result is i had a 7 pointer 60 yards straight downwind (verified) for about 20 minutes, it smelled the air a few times when it first came out, when about its business, fed, made a rub etc and never busted. I had a small doe downwind a little later and a little farther, 100 yards that never busted. I don't know that I fully solved anything, but at least a better outing that i have been having for the most part so progress.
Wind indicator. This thing lets out a little vapor to show you which way the wind is going. I know this can be done many ways, i like gadgets so thought to try. The unit is big and expensive for what it really is, but i did learn some stuff in my first use. I must have puffed this thing over 200 times for afternoon sit. With a weather.com Westerly wind prediction, I went to a spot that is at the bottom of a little valley, with fields on both hilltops and woods down the slopes, CRP at the very bottom where i was. around 4:00 was pretty breezy, straight East (not West!) in my spot. that would stick for 10 minutes, then I had SW for 10 min, at some point it was coming straight from the North. In between gusts, the wind was out of the west and much slower as predicted. I was surprised multiple times i felt the wind on the side my face, and the vapor went straight down the tree, not to the side at all. A few other times it seemed to go straight up to the sky. I guess I never really thought about it, just imagined the wind almost always being across your body at an angle to the ground but that wasn't always the case. I would say last night the almost straight upwards or downwards wind was not the norm, but did happen multiple times. By 5:30 the wind had calmed down quite a bit and every check after that was very slow wind out of the west as predicted.
The wind changed direction and a deer smelled you where it was walking? Sounds like hunting wild whitetails. You can't control everything. If you can, that's not the kind of hunting I'm interested in.
You take your best guess, monitor the situation and hunt accordingly. Deer will bust you, it happens. A guy can get so paranoid about being busted that you sit in locations where you are sure not to get busted, but see and can shoot far fewer animals. There is a magical place on a graph where risk and reward are maximized. I believe most of the time that spot will include getting busted sometimes. I set up a stand every time out though, so deer do not become accustomed to me sitting the same trees.
Deer absolutely do get used to "checking" to see if stands are occupied. If they bust hunters in stands enough, they learn to look at stands and if anything is different... Also, deer learn from other deer so they may not know whey they are looking at that blind or stand, but they will look at it just because other deer looked.
We have large numbers of gun hunters in the area of my farm, so you get all those guys sitting in trees wearing orange, smoking cigs and eating Subway sandwiches with extra onion, garlic, and peppers. It doesn't take deer long to figure out whatever that thing is, occasionally there's a bad thing sitting up on top of it and we better be wary.
I remember once watching deer walk down a fenceline and there was an old derelict wooden stand on the line that hadn't been used for a couple of years. When the deer got to the point where they could clearly see that stand, they all looked at it as they passed by clearly turning their heads. My guess is they looked because they had always seen other deer look for years. They didn't "know" why, they just knew that whatever that thing was it was something to be wary of.
hey winsconsinteacher, any change of luck? do anything different?
I didnt getting busted this weekend that i know of but had steady good wind both sits.
I was able to hunt Thursday after work and bailed out of my stand with 1 hour left due to bad winds so I didn't get busted on stand. Friday night, I had a doe down wind at 35 yards that had no clue I was there. I did have my buddies Ozonics and I used Ever Calm on my boots walking in. She walked over my trail and never looked up. Saturday morning, I had a small buck bed down 25 yards away and never knew I was there for 3 hours. Lastly, on Sunday, I hunted a stand with good wind and was able to shoot a doe at 8 yards. She had another doe with her and that one got nervous. I think she saw movement and could smell our trail in to the tree.
I'm spraying down more and really watching the wind as I sit in the tree. I have a small bag of milkweed pods and float them out every few minutes to see the wind.
I need to buy some scent free soap tonight to wash my cloths from dragging my doe out the other night. I really worked up a sweat.
Hunt from the ground and you won't have an issue.
My question would be how did you set up the ozonics unit. Most people I have talked with that have trouble have no idea how to place it !
I put it about 12-18" above my head and as the wind switched, I moved it so it was blowing with the wind.
Did you angle it down to wash your sent. This is how it was explained to me the recommended setup is over your head spraying out over and away from you towards the downwind. The swivel arm allows you to place it directly over you and then swing and angle it down 30 degrees. Just pretend it's a shower head with a fine mist spraying out. It's washing your scent that has come off of your body. If you can smell it's just like setting up the shower head upwind. You'll get wet!
Never trust an east wind in Wisconsin. Seems like mid-October is notorious for them. Typically, the wind will switch a number of times when out of the east.