The Stink Buck

The bucks, for their part, secrete their own strong hormones to help induce the females to ovulate. Researchers have long understood the effects of male odors on hormone levels in females, and have found that the length and timing of the menstrual cycles are markedly influenced by odors produced by males. This is why big bucks will always enter the field upwind of the doe herd. Not only does this promote estrous, but also the buck can visually detect even the slightest sign of sexual arousal his scent might be causing in the doe.

An effective hunting tactic during the rut is to place your stand seventy-five to one hundred yards upwind of the does’ feeding area. This should put you right on top of the buck. Deer are on much more attuned to the subtle language of scent than humans are. Five inches of a deer’s nose is devoted to smell, while less than one inch of a human’s nose is capable of smelling anything. Scent is how deer speak to each other. Misunderstandings are impossible when no words are spoken.

Getting into Rhythum

In trying to control our world, we tend to exclude ourselves
from nature. Of course, humanity exists only as part of nature.
Too often, hunters try to take charge of something that is not his
or hers to take charge of. Success in the field is often determined
by a hunter’s ability to lose his or her ego, and get in step with
natural rhythms.

All of nature is like a web. It is impossible to touch one
part without the vibration being felt elsewhere. A man walking
through the forest creates a great disturbance. I always feel two
sizes too big for my skin whenever I move through the woods.

Most of the deer will be aware of the hunter’s presence and
scurry off long before he sees them. What deer a human does
see are usually bounding off with tails flagging. Getting into
rhythm is a matter of letting go.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Whizzing in the Woods

When I first started hunting out of tree stands, I went to great lengths to control my scent and to remain undetected by deer. I wore rubber boots, gloves, and placed my stands high in the tree to avoid detection.

For several years I would pack plastic gallon jugs up into my stands and use them when nature called to avoid spreading the scent of my urine around the tree. At the time, it was common belief among hunters that human urine was offensive to deer. Then one morning I felt the urge to relieve myself of several cups of the nuclear strength coffee I had drank earlier. I failed to notice there was a small hole in the bottom of my plastic jug. Soon I was peeing in the jug and the jug was peeing down my leg, over my boot, and onto the ground. It was a mess and I was disgusted. I threw the jug as far as I could, which only splashed more pee on me.

I was sure my hunt was ruined. I tied my bowl to a rope and lowered it to the ground. The bow no sooner hit the end of the rope when I heard brush crunching over my shoulder. It was three does and a 140 inch buck. I was helpless. My bow was dangling 18 feet below me from a string. All four deer stopped once they smelled urine, but instead of running they all began to sniff it. Then they took turns sniffing the plastic jug The three does bedded down and the buck stretched out and deposited his own urine next to my leaking (pun intended) jug.

I decided there and then that I was going to quit peeing into plastic jugs. When nature called I would just go ahead and whiz right off the end of the stand. That was some 20 years ago and since that time I have never seen a deer spook at the scent of human urine. In fact, they seem to be very comfortable with the smell, no matter what you’ve eaten or drank. On several occasions I’ve had deer bed down right on top of my urine.

Recent research indicates that deer cannot distinguish between human urine and deer urine.

Last year, Mike Canales killed what is possibly a new New York State record while hunting over a scrape line in which he had peed in every few days for weeks.

I’m not saying deer are attracted to human urine. I don’t believe that for a minute. But I will say the scent of human urine does not spook deer.

Mike had two things were going for him:

1) The possibility that dear cannot tell the difference between human urine and deer urine.

2) Mike was spreading small amounts of his own residual scent around his stand on a regular basis.

Therefore, the deer had become accustomed to Mike’s presence and no longer considered small amounts of his oder as a threat. We will talk more about reverse scent control in a future blog.

But for the time being, is it okay to pee around your tree stand? Absolutely. In my experience and the experience of hundreds of other successful hunters, human urine does not detract deer.