By Larry Dablemont
I think if it stays cool, I may go out and bow-hunt on the backside of my place, along the oak-hickory ridge where acorns are dropping. I am going to be sitting in a tree-stand hunting whitetail deer. I'll be sitting there in my tree stand, wondering why I didn't go fishing instead. Bass fishing is often very good while I sit in a tree-stand hunting deer, and I'll get back and one of my friends will tell me about catching a lunker or two and all I'll be able to talk about seeing is a mangy old coyote or a blue-jay screaming at a fox squirrel.
The thing that makes bass fishing so much easier than deer hunting is scent. A bass doesn't care how a spinner-bait smells. A wild turkey couldn't smell a midsummer outhouse if he roosted on it. A turkey doesn't need to smell, he can see a bee on blossom 100 yards away. Wild turkeys can also hear extremely well and see extremely well but they can’t smell a thing. Deer mate according to scent stimulation and sight has nothing to do with it. A deer can hear well and if the wind is right, he can tell you what kind of cheese you have on your sandwich from a quarter mile away.
And that is the problem for me. I have mastered everything that has to do with the outdoors except the art of using scent. I'm afraid every big buck in the woods can smell me and they act accordingly. It isn't that I'm not familiar with all the tricks. I soak a pair of rubber boots with deer scent before I go into the woods. I get athletes-feet a lot that way. I tried the natural method to no avail. One of my hunting shirts is still buried out there, under the leaves in my woods, because I was trying to give it an earthy smell and now I can't find it.
This scent thing befuddles me, I think, because I can't smell a thing myself. I've got eyes like a hawk, and I can hear great. I can hear people talking about how bad I smell during the deer season from 15 or 20 feet away. I try to learn from hunters who have had success.
Two decades ago an acquaintance of mine invented and marketed a scent which was carried by bubbles on air currents. When I first heard of him sitting in a tree stand blowing bubbles from a bottle and a bubble wand, I near about rolled on the floor I laughed so hard. And then he killed a buck a week or so into the bow season that had antlers like the handlebars on a Harley-Davidson.
I've got to do something, but I don't know what. I used the last of those bubbles years ago. A few years ago I carried a bottle of “doe-in-heat” urine in my pocket and the lid came off. For a while there I didn’t have any friends that would let me come to their house until after Christmas because the scent of a “doe-in-heat” stays with you even better than Dial soap.
One veteran old bow hunter says I should switch to the scent of corn. He says that he puts several piles of corn around his tree stand and the scent of the corn draws deer like nothing else. You have to keep replenishing it because the deer keep eating it, but it works better than anything else. That might be considered baiting but it wouldn't be if you were just depending on the scent of the corn to draw the deer and not the corn itself. An uncle of mine years back came up with a liquid deer attractant made from corn and then drank all of it before deer season. But it didn’t really have the right smell to make a deer think it was a pile of corn waiting somewhere. Now if putting out something good to eat is taking an unfair advantage of a deer, what the heck do you call putting out the scent of a “ready-to-mate doe?” A buck isn’t going to choose corn over a doe even if he is starving! I wouldn’t. How many men do you know who would rather smell a steak dinner than "Evening in Paris" perfume?
I'll let you know if I see any deer. Or you might ask me about it if you see me somewhere. If you smell someone in the sporting goods department who looks like he could use a shave and a good bath, and there are leaves hanging from his faded old hunting shirt, that's probably me.