Back to the Basics by Mitch Strobl
In today’s hunting world, it is easy to get caught up in the “new and improved” equipment that will get you that big buck of the lifetime. Sure all of this stuff is great, and chances are if you use it correctly, it will be to your advantage in the woods. A few specific items that have taken over the industry are scent control clothing and accessories.
It is a well-known fact that deer, along with most of the big game animals that hunters target every year, have an outstanding sense of smell. Take the whitetail deer for example; an animal of prey by nature’s law, the deer has evolved an arsenal of abilities and behaviors to avoid predators. Deer have the ability to pick up the slightest movement, they can hear what seems to be dead silence, and they can pinpoint a sounds location with the flick of an ear. The deer’s most impressive weapon by far is its nose. The deer’s nose has about 40 times more receptors than does a human olfactory system. Researchers also believe that deer are approximately 4,000 times as sensitive to odors than people are. Taking those facts into consideration, it is no wonder why you see scent elimination supplies filling up the isles at your local outdoor store.
While these items will increase your chances of getting closer to that buck of a lifetime, you cannot count on them fool the deer’s nose alone. As the one in the woods already with the lower hand, it is to your benefit to use this equipment as a precautionary step. The fact of the matter is, you are in that bucks bedroom, he knows it better than you do, therefore you must do your homework before you go knocking on his door.
Take the time to find the wind direction, look into weather patterns for the day you want to hunt. Of course scouting is the most basic homework assignment you have, but even this step is not possible without knowing the wind direction. If you know the wind direction, you can find a spot on your plot where you would be least likely to get busted. It is all about going undetected, because once you let him know you are there, it is very likely he will relocate or at the least change his patterns, which is the very reason you are scouting, to figure out his routine.
Once season rolls around, and you have done your scouting, comes the time you have worked so very hard for. It is too easy to get cocky for the big day, you know all his favorite spots, and what he is doing and when he is doing it.
This is when paying attention to your wind and weather patterns is most crucial; this is when you put it all together. You use your scouting to your advantage, you use your equipment to your advantage, you use your practice to your advantage, and you use your luck, to your advantage. Despite all of this preparation, it still takes a great amount of focus to bring down Mr. big.
The moral of the story is, that sometimes it is most beneficial to return to the basics. Do your research, and you will find that deer hunting is not as hard as it is cracked up to be. If you play the wind, and you pay attention to your surroundings, and you obey the basic rules of predation, being still, patient, and observant, you are doing all that you need to do to bring home your trophy. I’m not knocking the propaganda whatsoever, I fully encourage you to invest in whatever accessories you feel are necessary. But remember that they do not make the hunter; the basics however, make the predator, which in turn is the hunter.