Making sense of scents
Of course, one thing you do not want to do is spill or otherwise send the odor through your house as one of my friends and hunting partners did a few years ago. It seems that he came from a morning of hunting and tossed his wet hunting vest in the dryer while he went to take a shower. Unbeknownst to him the cap on his bottle of doe urine was not on tight, and proceeded to spill in the dryer while his central heating system carried the odor throughout the house!
We know that bowhunters are among the most serious of hunters who pay attention to all details, including their scents (or lack of them). Deer have a keen sense of smell and are quickly alarmed at human odor. This is one reason that most bowhunters use tree stands to get high enough so that any human odor is dissipated away from the deer. Since bowhunters typically want to get within 15 or 20 yards of their quarry, scent is vital to their success.
It is important to start as scent-free as possible. Bowhunters shower with unscented soap and wash their hunting clothes in special soap that does not leave any unnatural odors. Their clothing is typically hung in a special garment bag and stored in the garage to avoid getting household odors. Avoid things like smoking or pumping gas when heading to your hunting spot.
There are a lot of different opinions about the use of “cover scent” which is sprayed on to mask lingering human odor. My friend Bill Hollister is a former DEC wildlife biologist and serious hunter with over 100 bucks to his credit, so his words bear some weight. His advice was that cover scents were no substitute for removing human odor or failure to pay attention to wind direction. His experience showed that they helped some of the time, but they should be something natural to the area (e.g. pine scent).
Finally there is the matter of attractant scents (doe urine). There are a couple ways to use them but the one thing you do not want to do is put it on your clothing. When a buck is approaching your stand the last thing that you want him to do is sniff around and focus on you perched up in your tree stand.
My friends and hunting partners like Terry Yardley or Bob Washbon have had success by using a pad saturated with attractant scent and dragging it behind them on a cord when they head to their tree stands. This leaves a scent trail that a buck crossing it will often follow to the area of their stands.
Another common use of this attractant is to saturate cotton balls and place them in a pill bottle or an old 35 mm film container. Keep it capped tightly until you get to your spot and then using a clothespin or wire, clip to a branch a short distance from your stand. Remember that you want the buck to focus his attention on that, not on you, so location is important.
Of course scouting, stand placement, wind direction and many other factors enter into the picture. Scents are not a magic potion that guarantees success. But carefully and properly used, they might be the thing that makes the difference in your success.
Salmon River Fishing Derby: The annual Salmon River Fishing Derby will be held this weekend. The derby runs today through Sunday in conjunction with the annual Salmon River Festival in Pulaski.
The tournament offers a grand prize, 100 percent payout for the largest king salmon caught over the three-day event. There will be daily weigh-ins and thousands of dollars in smaller prizes awarded for various additional categories.
All derby participants must be pre-registered. Registration and a weigh in station will be located at the Ringgold Firemen’s Dunbar Field at the end of Lewis Street, just off Route 13 in Pulaski.
Visitors will find additional family-friendly attractions, entertainment, food and vendors located at the South Park on Route 11 in Pulaski as part of the 13th annual Salmon River Festival. Be sure to stop at the Lake Ontario Outdoors tent. The tournament features an impressive list of sponsors such as head-liners Lake Ontario Outdoors Magazine and All Seasons Sports.
The Salmon River International Sportfishing Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the event. The NYS DEC Salmon River Fish Hatchery on county Route 22 in Altmar will also be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. For rules and weigh-ins, visit the derby Web site at:
Non-typical buck not a new record: News from the north country earlier this week reveals that a Watertown area bowhunter’s 22 point non-typical buck is not a new state record. Investigation by the B & C scorer showed that the massive racked buck that scored 220 (state record is 210) was actually shot on a game farm and is not eligible for the record book. The DEC charged him with filing a false statement and further investigation is pending.
Columbus Day weekend youth deer hunt: Remember that junior hunters ages 14-15 will be able to hunt deer during a special youth firearms deer season over Columbus Day Weekend, October 6 through October 8.
The youth deer hunt will take place Columbus Day weekend in both the Northern Zone and Southern Zone. Junior hunters (ages 14-15) with a big game hunting license will be eligible to take one deer of either sex with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult. Junior hunters may use a Deer Management Permit or Deer Management Assistance Program tag for an antlerless deer or, during the youth firearms season only, they may use their regular season tag to take a deer of either sex.
Some had concerns about safety with youths using firearms (under parental supervision) while bowhunters are dressed in camouflage. However most bow hunting is on private land so everyone should know if others are using the same area. And there cannot be others “driving deer” since that is considered hunting and is illegal for those not holding the valid bowhunting stamp. The youngster must be under direct supervision of the parent or guardian.
The biggest reason that many do not publicly say is they are concerned that the parent may succumb to temptation and take the gun and shoot a big buck if it appears. Certainly it is possible but it is doubtful that most parents would ruin a kid’s moment by doing so. The reality is that many of the members of NYB seem to think that they are the only ones that should have a chance at a big buck, as if their lengthy season isn’t advantage enough.