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Scent Control and Deer Hunting
  WeHuntSC.com - Clint Patterson with 8 point buck harvested in early 2010 season
  Me and the post-hunt pic

As you know, we?ve been working a lot on the Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey over the course of the past year.  Most of the time when we?re out working we are talking about deer hunting and optimistically dreaming up scenarios where huge bucks come into the food plots or into shooting lanes and how we would position ourselves, etc.  I?m sure you may have had similar experiences.  Many times when Adam and I have been out working and having these conversations he kept bringing up the subject of scent control.  I have known your scent was important, but I?ve never really thought about it, or taken it to, the level at which Adam does.  What level is that you may ask? the level of spraying down when going to check game cams, washing your clothes in odor reducing detergent, taking showers with scent free soap, looking up which direction the wind is blowing before hunting, etc.  Initially to me, that was a bit much, but hey?everyone has their own style of hunting.

This season we?ve been using the McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag as well as Atsko?s products to work with our scent management.  This is a regular routine for Adam, but for me it?s a whole new ball game, so I figured why not try it out and see what happens.  So, as you know from previous blog entries, I?ve been using the McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle bag to fuse earth and pine scent into my hunting gear.  I mean I?ve been putting everything in the bag?my clothes, m boots, my smaller bag, even my Thermacell, and this past week I also stuck my video camera?s tripod in there too!  Literally everything in the bag smells like dirt now.  So I?ve got my hunting gear taken care of and smelling just right. 

I?ve also started testing out and using some of Atsko?s scent reduction products.  Atsko has a 4-pack (the same one that someone is going to win this year) of scent reduction/UV killer products.  I put the N-O-Odor soap in my shower and put the N-O-Odor spray right beside my McKenzie bag.  I was eager to test all this out because in this early season heat, anything I can do to reduce my scent is beneficial since I sweat a lot and it?s been very humid.


Ok?jump back in time to one week ago?

A week ago (when we put down lime and seed) I also went out and put some corn out at an area where we?ve had an old stand forever, but that hasn?t been getting hunted out of much lately.  We have a feeder out there that hasn?t been working for a while too (you?ll see it in the video).  Since I had some time, I took a game camera out and tied it up on a tree and put some corn out in front of it.  I didn?t know what to expect or even know if any deer were in the area, but I figured I?d try it out.  I put it out and really just forgot about it.

When I came back home this past Friday, I went out to check the game camera.  I put a new chip in and brought the chip that was in the game camera back to the house.  Looking at the chip I could see that deer had been in there all hours of the day and night.  In one week I had 268 pics on it. That answered the question as to whether there were any deer moving in that location.  There were a lot of does on the camera, a small 4 point, a small 6 point, and every once in a while an 8-point came through and paused for the camera and ate some corn.  I guess I had the game camera really close or something because the majority of the pics were close-ups like these:

WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic
WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic
WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic WeHuntSC.com - Game Cam Pic


With so much activity going on in that location, I figured I?d go and sit there the next morning to see what would happen. 


   WeHuntSC.com - McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag
  The McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag

I knew I was going to go sit in this stand on Saturday morning and I was thinking about my scent-game-plan.  I let my McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle run all day Friday and all night Friday night while I was at the game and even while I slept.  After the game (Eagles dominated Chesterfield again!) I came home and took a shower and used Atsko?s odor eliminating soap.  I planned to use it that night and also in the morning.  And yes, when you use it?you can?t smell anything.  I sat the odor eliminating scent spray near my McKenzie bag to spray my shorts (the shorts that I wore under the camo) and socks down.

So the game plan was this?take showers using odor eliminating soap, put on regular underclothes (shorts & socks) and spray them down with the scent eliminating spray, and then wear the camo and take gear that had been getting scented all day and night with the earth/pine scent.  This would hopefully reduce any human scent and/or bacteria that deer smell that may have been on me and then cover-scented my gear with a natural smell.  Doing all of this really felt extreme and out-of-the-ordinary for me, but again? I?m just giving all this scent management stuff a whirl.

I executed all scent management steps and set out to the stand.  This stand is a very small, old, wooden stand located in a thick forest area.  Due to this scenario; I didn?t take the tripod, but was set to MacGyver a way to video or either get busted by a deer moving around trying to video.  It was going to be so tight in the stand that I wouldn?t have room for the tripod.  I knew this would hurt me in some way, but I just wasn?t sure how.

WeHuntSC.com - Atsko Scent Elimination Products   
Atsko Scent Elimination/U-V Killer 4-Pack  
Though I didn?t want to be, I was very loud on the way in.  It has been so dry these past few weeks that something crackled and crunched with every step I took.  I finally made it to the stand and climbed up (skipping the broken step on the way) and got situated.  I had my Thermacell strapped to one of the wooden braces on my left and was mosquito free.  It turned out that the stand is leaning to the right.  Luckily, this stand is leaning at just the right angle for the video camera to steady on it and be looking right over the corn pile.  I slowly chambered a shell, made sure the safety was on, and took some deep breathes to try to slow my heart rate some to help me cool off.  The moon was full and some of the trees were casting shadows.  It was early and I just sat there in silence as some beads of sweat rolled down my forehead. 

I sat for a little while and my vision was slowly getting better as the sun was starting to rise.  Shortly thereafter I heard something moving behind me in the woods.  If you?ve hunted before then you know the sound of a squirrel running through the leaves?they?re loud and go in spurts.  This sound wasn?t like that, but rather was a slow pace and sounded like a deer rummaging through the forest floor as it walked.  Due to the high activity of game cam pics, I felt sure it was a deer.  This sound started out behind me?what would be 6 o?clock on the clock-face and it was extremely close.  I was frozen in my stand and wasn?t budging.  I knew that however many deer were back there were close and that any movement would leave me busted and hearing deer blowing at me as they ran away.  My heart beat was escalating with every step that the deer took.  It got closer and closer and was coming up my left side.  I was looking to the left in my peripheral vision as much as possible, but didn?t see anything initially.  I didn?t want to turn my head and just kept looking to the left.  I looked until my eyes started hurting from straining them so much looking so hard trying to find what was making this sound.  I?m sure this may have happened to you before as well. 

It was still a little dark and tough to focus clearly. Then I finally saw movement and it was about 10 yards away from me!  It was heading toward the corn pile.  I wasn?t moving for anything as the deer walked right beside me, but my heart started pounding because I saw antlers!  The trail I walked into the stand had me coming into the stand in the same path that this deer was walking toward?i.e. his path was going to intersect the path I took and he would be smelling right where I walked as he crossed my path.  I knew I did all this scent stuff, but I also knew I was sweating some.  I really didn?t know what to think. 

   WeHuntSC.com - Deer Walk Diagram
  Diagram illustrating the path the deer walked

As the deer passed around my left side he went behind some brush.  If I was going to turn the camera on with any structure in between us, that moment was the time to do it.  I reached over and cut the camera on and it started recording.  Keep in mind that, due to size constraints, I didn?t bring the tripod and the camera was not secured to the stand, but rather just sitting on top of the side of a 2 x 4.  I was nervous that I would knock it off, but I had to get it turned on.  After I got the camera turned on I moved my gun a little, cut the safety off, and got my body in position.  The deer kept walking and I could hear him getting closer to the corn as he moved.  Finally he popped out at the corn pile and was broad-sided, giving me the perfect shot. 

Something neat happened when the deer got over to the camera.  Obviously the camera sensed movement and starting taking some pics.  I was looking through my scope and also looking through the camera at the same time.  I was going back and forth with my eyes again from the scope to the camera.  Out of my right eye I saw a really bright light flash, but I didn?t see it out of my left.  From what I could tell, the video camera picked up on the infrared flash, but my naked eye obviously was unable to and apparently the deer?s eye couldn?t pick up on it either.  This may be common knowledge, but when it happened to me in the stand it kind of startled me at first because my initial reaction was that the deer would be spooked.  You?ll easily see the camera flashing in the video.

As it got lighter I watched this buck eating corn for what seemed like forever.  I mean I had the best case scenario from the moment that he arrived at the corn pile.  I let him go for a few minutes without pulling the trigger.  I wanted to make sure that this buck was not a 6 pointer because I?m trying to let the deer get to a decent size in this area.  I looked and looked and finally counted 8 points, but even then I still debated not shooting this deer.  I could tell he had a good sized body, but I just went back and forth in my mind about letting him walk and shooting him.  Then I finally decided to shoot.  (This is why you see me let him eat the corn for a while and not take the shot until late)  The deer was eating corn and I had the perfect angle, but at the moment I decided to shoot he kind of gave me a quarter shot.  I waited a few seconds and he raised his head up quickly and his body tensed up.  I thought he sensed danger and was about to bolt?so I took the shot.  When I took the shot I knew I hit the deer because his back legs jumped up in the air.  The bad news was that when I pulled the trigger the camera fell off the ledge of the stand ? the good news is that it fell back in the stand rather than out of the stand!  I caught it in my lap.   I heard the deer go down about 20 yards away so I didn?t think it would be a tough deer to trail.

I always sit in the stand after I make a shot just to calm down some and gather myself.  I want to give the deer time to die and also want to make sure that I get my safety back on my gun and that I don?t get in a hurry and leave anything or hurt myself somehow.  On this specific day all my hunting buddies were not around and were out of town or were working.  So I put the call in to my parent?s house and told them that I shot a deer and that I was going to start dragging.  They said they would come out to help.

WeHuntSC.com - Deer on the tail gate pic

After a couple of minutes I got out of the stand and walked over to the corn pile and shot some post game footage.  I walked a little bit and then saw the deer lying down about 20 yards away.  I knew I had made a good shot.  I went over and started dragging.  My parents showed up not too long after I had started dragging the deer.  My dad has been having some trouble with his knees lately and just walking the terrain of the land was killing him?so what does any good mother do?that?s right?my mom helped me drag the deer out of the woods!  Talk about unconditional love.  So to the people around Pageland reading this?if you see my mom tell her that you heard she?s dragging deer out of the woods in her slip-ons!  I felt bad as one time she fell down when we were pulling the deer across a dried up creek, but she soldiered up right on through it and kept pulling.  We had to stop 2 ? 3 times, but soon enough we had the deer to the edge of the woods.  My mama has always told me ?They don?t make them like me anymore? and after last Saturday I have to say that I definitely believe her!

That was how the story of the hunt went.  Reflecting back on the hunt, I have to tell you that I really think the measures I took of scent control played a big part in my success.  The reason is because that deer started out behind me and came full circle all the way around me at a very close range and even walked across the path that I walked in on.  The deer ended up in front of me and was clueless that I was even in the woods.  If I would have smelled then he would have winded me a couple times over and fled the scene, but you already know how the story went.  Needless to say, I?ll be covering my scent and paying more attention to it in all my upcoming hunts.  Maybe the deer was dumb or couldn?t smell, but you have to "dance with the one that brung ya" right??? So I?ll keep focusing on my scent and see how the rest of the season goes.  Maybe Adam?s scent management techniques aren?t too extreme after all!

After all this I got all my scent control products together and took some pics with the deer.  The deer ended up being 8 points, 155lbs.  He?s not a monster, but he was a decent buck.

WeHuntSC.com - Clint Patterson with 8 point buck harvested in early 2010 deer hunting season

Here?s the video of the hunt?sorry the camera fell, but we don?t have a camera-arm sponsor yet?lol!  So next time I?ll take some rubber-bands or start saving my money up for a camera-arm.  Also, you?ll notice that my video edits aren?t great?but I?m a web guy?not a video guru so this will have to suffice.

Be sure to bump the resolution up a little in the bottom right-hand corner of the video where it says "360p"

Something else neat occurred to me later that morning?when I was hunting the camera was flashing right?  I sat there and thought to myself? that pic will have the deer in it and also have me in it (if it could see that far out).  So I journeyed back out to the stand again to get the chip (that had only been out there for one day) again and see what the pic looked like.  I was surprised to have over 80 pics just from the past 24 hours.  Those deer were out there all night long again!  That 8 point was there in the middle of the day on Friday and there were even deer at the corn pile at 5:45 am?the same time when I started walking to the stand.  I probably scared them off on my way in.  Anyway, I found the pic of the deer at the corn-pile right before I shot and you can see me in the background, but it?s kind of blurry.  You can make out my head, the gun barrel, and the dark area where the camera is.  Check out the pic

WeHuntSC.com - Reverse Game Cam Pic

So I sweated a lot dragging the deer and even got some blood on my camo and what did I do?that?s right? I put them in the washing machine and washed them with Atsko?s odor eliminating detergent.  I dried them and then stuck them right back in the McKenzie bag.  I think the stars aligned just right for me on this day or something.  I?ve only been in the woods hunting 2 weekends and have harvested 2 deer.  This season has been a success whether or not I get any more deer this year?and I?m just fine with that, but I?ll still be out trying to videotape!  If you made it this far, thanks for reading all this.



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