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At what distance do we stink?

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At what distance do we stink?

Postby Lefty » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 1]

Im certianly not going to rely on my scent-freeness :shock: I know that doesnt really exist. but what can we get by with. My expierience has been limited with elk , however scent reduction seems to work. I know when I have hunted clean with all the scent free stuff I have gotten under 100 yards from fox and coyotes straight down wind.
I have had deer and elk within arms leagth when in a blind: when I have gone the extreme in clean
I have been trapped in a herd of over 150 deer as they milled around; some just yards away ( safety in numbers and ignore my odor?)
Hunting alone mid day after getting hot and sweaty Ive believe I wasnt detected buy elk 600 yards down wind but was busted by coyotes with them.
Ive been busted on a wind switch at 40 yards when "clean" by two cows out of a herd of 50, they all moved off and rebedded relitvly close

I have generalized coyote reactions to human smell to my elk hunting. I have had young of the year coyotes not react to me when clean less than 25 yards and fox walk right up to me that had to smell me; I attributed those situations to young and dumb animals, however I wasnt a concern to them.

So how close? or far? do can we really get to elk when smelly or clean.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby Swede » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 2]

It varies on how far elk can smell us when they are down wind. I have no idea about the maximum range they can pick up our scent, but they will bust out of a meadow when they are over 200 yars away, under the right conditions. I too use scent control, but I don't use it to try to approach elk from up wind. I use it to keep the level of my odor down, and to minimize to amount I have near where I am hunting.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby Freebird134 » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 3]

I've also read that the weather matters. I think drier air dries out animals noses, and makes them less efficient. In moister air, the nose is better at picking up scents.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby Broken arrow » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 4]

I really don't think there is an answer. My daughter and I had a rut crazied buck completely ignore us even though the wind was blowing directly to him. Other times I've had deer freak at my entry path 3 hours after I got to my stand. I suppose that would go for any critter.
Let me add that my biggest buck followed the same path I did an hour after I walked in and I had a coyote cut my trail 6 hours after I got on stand and bust out like he had seen a ghost! Every day, time of year, and critter is different
I was duck hunting one time shooting calling and had 3 does stand 50 yds away in a heavily hunted public area and pay me no attention but as soon as you could hear a truck coming down the gravel they would squat and not move till it passed. Very smart deer!
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby elkaholic » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 5]

Freebird134 wrote:I've also read that the weather matters. I think drier air dries out animals noses, and makes them less efficient. In moister air, the nose is better at picking up scents.


When hunting with bird dogs they trail better in the cooler morning hours. Once warm the birds trails are hard to pick up. One thing that we can't see are the wind currents. 30 ft from our location the wind may be blowing at a 90 degree angle from us. So it may appear that the animal is tolerating your "smell", when they are not even in our scent cone. Especially in the mountains the currents are always changing.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby Fullabull » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 6]

I would say as long as there is a breeze that can cary your stink from you to their nose,,,,they can smell you. So it all depends on where your stink carries in the wind or thermals. Wish I could smell like that......maybe not ;)
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby elkmtngear » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 7]

I agree with most, there are a lot of factors in play here (wind direction, swirling wind, thermals, temperature). I really do not see how you can put a number on it.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby ElkNut1 » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 8]

The bottom line is do not ever test it! When wind is good proceed onward! If you're in a standoff & near the herd with good wind & they do not know you are there then be patient! If wind starts swirling & it will give you away shortly then get aggressive fast if at all possible! I never hunt elk thinking what can I get away with regarding the wind! It must be played in your favor period! There will be times it will swirl or dash across the back of your neck towards the elk in an instant without notice, if you are under a 100yds you could be in trouble, if further out there's a good chance it will not get to them!! But never go into the elkwoods thinking you can push the envelope because you take extra precautions!. This is one of the biggest reasons we do not do anything special, we know we can not afford to push our luck, we play the wind religiously!

When talking about distances one needs to take into consideration the elevation you are at & the elk are at! If flat ground, they can pick up your scent a good 1/2 mile off, not all the time as wind can swirl. In steeper terrain where elk are well below you 100's of yards or more then there's little worry at those distances as the thermals will generally rise in those distances.

When setting trail cameras over water I've noticed on several occasions that I have elk milling around within 40 minutes of me being there & walking all around the area & setting a camera! It shows me that your scent in the area does not last very long, I'll bet around 30 minutes or so? After that it just dissipates. When elk hunting & the wind turns unpredictable, back off! Come back later or another day, do not force it unless it's the last day of your hunt & you have little to lose!

As an example, my son & I (bowelkdown) dogged this vocal herd, we were silent yet followed them by their bugling aprox 1 1/2 mile, we got under them on a rainy windy morning trying to figure what to do next. They had reached their bedding area but had no clue we were 50-60- yards right under them on the other side of a huge alder thicket. Out of nowhere the wind starting to give us up , it had not reached the elk yet but we knew our time was limited & something had to happen fast! My son setup & I got back 10-15 yds or so & screamed a challenge as hot & heavy as I could, the bull was courting his cows & we could hear him giving tending glugs up above us. This really triggered this herd bull into action & he flew into us fast! He stopped 8 yds from me & 14yds from my son, just as I was drawing my longbow Paul II slid a cedar shaft right into his heart! This was successful because of fast action as we were just about to be given up by the wind!!

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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby LckyTylr » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 9]

Paul, have you and Paul Jr always been traditional hunters or did you hunt with compounds for a while? When did you make the switch and for what reason?

Still hunting traditional . . . . . . ?

Sorry for the threadjack.

How far do we stink, I think we stink a lot further than you would ever imagine. As others have mentioned, wind current might lead you to believe that your scent is going directly to an animal, but thermals only a few feet away from you that you can't detect could be diverting your scent in an entirely different direction. Further, with every obstacle, every bush or tree or alternating thermal direction, your scent is being dissipated. I would think that on a flat with a very slow and unilateral current, your scent will be detectable by an elk at more than a few hundred yards. Now put fairly dense timber on that flat and throw in a few alternating thermals and you might be able to go undetected at 60 or 70 yards (unlikely).
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby Lefty » 07 08, 2012 •  [Post 10]

Freebird134 wrote:I've also read that the weather matters. I think drier air dries out animals noses, and makes them less efficient. In moister air, the nose is better at picking up scents.

I think the dry heat of the day has been giving me forgiveness. Where is the Duh or Homer Simson Smilie
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby easeup » 07 11, 2012 •  [Post 11]

it can be a long way off.
just a few years back on a crisp Sept morning I had just sprayed down with a big name market scent neutralizing spray( quick lesson coming on that). I was walking uphill to start my hunt and the light was just bright enough to see my pins good. Now the wind was wrong for the way I was walking but I thought I knew where some elk would be. Well I spotted a herd of about 20 coming quarter to me from downwind. lets just say that they were about 350yds out and they caught my sent. you would have thought I had opened fire with a 300wm on them they turned and ran so fast.
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby elkmtngear » 07 11, 2012 •  [Post 12]

easeup wrote:it can be a long way off.
just a few years back on a crisp Sept morning I had just sprayed down with a big name market scent neutralizing spray( quick lesson coming on that). I was walking uphill to start my hunt and the light was just bright enough to see my pins good. Now the wind was wrong for the way I was walking but I thought I knew where some elk would be. Well I spotted a herd of about 20 coming quarter to me from downwind. lets just say that they were about 350yds out and they caught my sent. you would have thought I had opened fire with a 300wm on them they turned and ran so fast.


That's where knowing the terrain can really pay off. In our "regular" areas, we always know which direction to approach a particular drainage to keep from blowing the elk out, depending on the time of day and conditions. On some days, we may re-route our approach by an extra half mile or so.

I'll be going into a new area this year, so, it's back to school for me. :?
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby T/H » 07 13, 2012 •  [Post 13]

alot of guys will just say dont bother with the scent sprays just play the wind. wind in your face and all is good right? well i'm going against conventional wisdom and using it. especially since we are constantly battling swirling winds. alot of times its the pine from the forest i am hunting in or in some cases i use spray. depends on if i'm hunting from a base camp or a bivy style hunt. my belief is this and it is jmho but........if i can fool that elks nose into his brain thinking i am 200 yards away when i am only 30 guess what? i win because i just increased my odds of making a kill. if i can increase my odds by 5% its worth it to me. i need all the help i can get. :)

edit; i do hunt with the wind in my face when i can
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Re: At what distance do we stink?

Postby ElkNut1 » 07 14, 2012 •  [Post 14]

T/H, not sure how you've come to that type of conclusion in your thinking! It really doesn't matter if you are 10' or 1/4 mile away, when elk get a whiff of a foreign smell in their areas they go into high alert, & that's not good! (grin) Thinking they will think you are further away because you don't feel your scent is not that strong is a low odds of success way to hunt elk. You do not want them winding you, period! When winds swirl because of time of day or unpredictable overcast weather, get out! You will do more harm than good bud! If they catch scent of you or anything on your person that doesn't belong there it is over my friend!

You must understand that the many of us that hunt the wind exclusively to the best of our abilities without scent control products do this because most of us have elk hunted with & without them for many years, the results in many cases does not differ much at all so we choose not to waste our money on them! If it helps you & others feel more confident in yourself then by all means use it, but do not use it as a crutch thinking you can get away with the wind busting you even a little bit! If you do, you will lose nearly every encounter with elk you come across! Staying scent free as possible is only a fraction of getting to elk or having them come to you, play the wind to your advantage!

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