Unlike those dumb ads about the [your area] mom and her ONE WEIRD TRICK that dentists hate, these actually work…
If you’re like me, you devour hunting blogs and magazines like bacon-wrapped shrimp on an all-you-can-eat-buffet…and if you’re like me, you don’t kill anywhere near as many deer as you’d like each hunting season. It’s not that those articles are wrong–most of them are more or less on-point and have plenty of solid science behind them–it’s that some of them aren’t really written by people who kill a lot of deer. (That’s because the people who kill a lot of deer are outside scouting, planting food plots, and hunting all year long, not sitting behind a keyboard like a Chairborne Ranger.) That’s why I’m turning today’s column over to quote the advice of actual lifelong hunters who fill their tags every season, with four seriously weird but remarkably effective tricks. DEER HATE THEM.
1. Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar.
We’ve talked before about how remarkably acute a deer’s sense of smell is. The fact that wild animals are terrified of fire is also pretty well-known. So why on earth do all my friends who smoke cigars in the blind keep filling their tailgates?
“I don’t know, but I think it’s just that the smell of a cigar is so pungent and unlike burning wood that it covers up any human scent. I’ve killed more deer with a cigar hanging out of my mouth than I’d care to tell my doctor about. I do know that whitetails are curious, and they like to come check anomalies out, as long as they feel safe.”
2. Find a scrape and…assert your dominance.
Bucks make scrapes to let the whole forest know who’s King of the Woods. They scrape away leaf litter and such, then get every single smelly gland they have wiped around in there…then they top it off by peeing on it. Of course, as a human being you don’t have tarsal glands, but when it comes to that last bit, well, urine luck! Some hunters swear by making a pit stop right there on top of Bambi’s. But why?
“Because it pisses them off, ha ha. And an angry buck is a reckless buck. And a reckless buck is about to be my trophy.”
3. Turn your deer blind into an elevator.
In addition to having pretty darn good eyesight and terrific senses of smell, deer also have outstanding hearing. So why on Earth would a hunter play elevator music–nondescript instrumentals meant to cover the wheezing of gears and the grinding of pulleys–in their deer stand or blind?
“Again, deer are curious. They don’t associate that sound with anything human; I think they figure it might be some new and interesting bird to look at. I’ve had them come strolling right up, long past the point at which they should have spooked, just to see what that noise is. You just have to be careful to make sure you don’t use anything that has vocal tracks, and that it’s not too fast or loud.”
4. Take a crap in the woods.
“Now Trace, this is just getting silly,” you might say, and I’d agree with you. After all, deer absolutely do seem to react very negatively to the smell of human ordure. They act like my ex-wife when I forgot to empty a can of Febreze in the bathroom after my morning constitutional, in fact. So why, why oh why, do so many hunters swear that you can’t shoot a deer until after you have crapped in the woods at least once in the season?
“Because my grandpappy told me that, and so I do it, and every year I fill my tags. Prove me wrong.”
So there you have it! Do you have any weird tricks or hunting superstitions that you swear by? Tell us in the comments!
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