A Deer's Acute Sense of Smell

A Deer’s Acute Sense of Smell

Story and photography by Bob Zaiglin

Hunters should understand how important it is to remain as scent-free as possible as whitetails employ their olfactory system in a variety of ways.

Texas sportsmen spend countless hours in the field learning as much as possible about their favorite big-game animal — the whitetail deer. Some spend their time ensconced in that favorite tree stand or within the confines of an elevated box blind reviewing the racks developed over the summer. Others will visit those isolated stock tanks hoping to catch a glimpse of those wraiths that seldom venture into the open outside of getting a drink.
Their objective is the same and that is to locate a trophy caliber buck to hunt. But in their attempt to locate that particular deer, an invisible trail of their presence lingers in the field, detected by the deer they hope to leave undisturbed, and that’s human scent.
The whitetail deer’s acute sense of smell is well known amongst hunters, thus wind direction is always on their minds. But even though hunters attempt to utilize wind direction to their advantage, they still leave scent trails where they walk that relinquish their presence to their prey.

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