Hunting camp is a fragrant place. Sweaty hunters can really stink up the place. Throw in the campfire smoke, poor hygiene habits, cooking smells, and other stinkers and no deer or elk will come close.
Deer hunting is not as stinky as elk hunting. Deer are easier to pattern and an elevated hunter can get the drop on a wise buck. You still need to monitor the wind, use a cover scent, and maybe an attractant scent. The deer will often come to you. Any scent mistake can be addressed and overcome. Deer and elk have long nasal chambers that smell everything.
Keeping hunting gear in a scent free sealable tube helps. Washing with scentless soaps and cleaners helps. Moving slowly to the stand sight, so you don’t work up a sweat is important. Dragging a scent line covered in doe pee. Will help direct any buck that crosses your smelly path. If you are hunting near apple trees, step in apples. If you are near pines, wipe pine onto your boots. There are many scent tricks to help make you stink less. Never forget to monitor the wind direction. They also make scent bombs, ozonic descenters, and shopping carts of other products. With all these tricks, if you sit still, and don’t move, a buck may enter your circle of death. Keep in mind that a deer or elk can smell your bootsteps several hours after you passed through an area!
Weather also makes a difference. Humidity will change how far you can smell and how much the critters can smell back. On a wet day or during high humidity, the smell increases. There are more molecules in the denser air, and you can smell the deer, if you are downwind. This is a “good to know” tip.
So, Deer are one thing, Elk are completely different. All the scent precautions go out the window. Controlling your smell good enough to fool an elk is nearly impossible. Elk live in high places, during archery hunting. You need them to be close for a shot. In rifle season, they can be in the next watershed and may be able to take a long stink free shot. Not in archery season.
When hunting elk, hunt into the wind. You can smell like a perfumed call girl from a saloon after rolling on the beer-soaked floor. If the wind is right, you are golden. If the wind swirls, the elk will not miss the moment. You will be busted. The elk’s nose is the best nose in the forest. If you are not smelling them, they are smelling you!
Avoid obvious smelly connections in camp. Gasoline, fried bacon, cigarettes, and other smells are not natural smells in the deer and elks living rooms. Foul smelling companions can also intimidate fellow hunters. Having a shower in the camp is a great idea. A submersible, battery powered pump in a 5-gallon bucket of warm water will do the trick.
You may also just manage to get closer to a critter if you are less smelly!