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How To/Pro-Tips

The Scent of Success

The proper use of deer-scent products can greatly help your hunting, but poor use leads to poor results. The first thing to do is to get rid of your own scent. Use unscented soaps and the various human scent-depressing products and cover scents on yourself.
Your clothes should not carry strange odors. Wash your hunting clothes regularly in unscented soap. New garments have a "new" smell and should be washed before going hunting. Keep yourself and your hunting clothes away from smoky areas (either tobacco or campfires). Keeping your hunting clothes in airtight plastic bags is a good idea. Some hunters also put native vegetation or a cover scent product in the bag with the clothes.
When using the lure scents - either food scents or sex scents - don't place them on you or too near your stand so that the deer's attention is drawn to you. Place them out around your hunting area, particularly in areas where you hope a buck will pause for a shot.

Getting Your Stands In Shape

Start early to get your hunting stands ready for the season. If you hunt from permanent stands, visit them now to make needed repairs. A tree swaying in the wind will loosen nails. Check for rotted timber. If your shooting lanes need trimming up, do it now and drag the cut brush out of the area.

The same goes for the semi-permanent ladder or tripod type stands. If you are going to move them, do it not and cut new shooting lanes. All of this activity creates considerable disturbance in your hunting area and you want it done and over with well before deer season.

For your portable stands check for rusted nuts and bolts at all critical support areas. If any are frozen by rust, using strong-smelling penetrating agents now allows the scent to dissipate before hunting season. The same goes for any lubricants that might be necessary to prevent the stand from creaking and squeaking while you are on it.

Getting To Your Stand

The best stand site in the world isn't worth much if you can't find it in the dark on opening day. After you have chosen your stand location or several locations, plan how to get there while causing the least disturbance possible.

Any brush you touch holds your scent and most non-rubber, stitched boots "seep" human scent. You leave a scent trail to and from your stand each time you use it. Consider clearing a path through the brush to your stand. This cuts down on your scent trail and you make less noise going in.
All rubber or rubber-bottomed pac boots are a bit hot, particularly early in the season, but they hold in human scent. Using foot pads or drag rags with either a cover scent or an appropriate lure scent is a good idea.

Mark your trails well. Nothing louses up your hunt like missing your stand site by a few feet in the dark and having to stumble around your hunting area looking for it.

Reading the Rubs

Rubs are the first form of true buck sign to appear and many hunters consider them the most important. It used to be thought bucks rubbed trees to rid themselves of velvet and to strengthen neck muscles for breeding battles. Bucks may do some "recreational" rubbing but this activity's more important focus is sign posting.

The buck's forehead contains subcutaneous glands that leave his personal signature on rubbed trees. What the buck is doing is posting his core area, general territory and travel corridors with his unique odor.
A buck's rubs are mostly intended for other bucks but does will also investigate them. The size of the rub is of limited value in determining his size. Small bucks seldom rub large trees, but bigger bucks will rub anything. Don't be fooled by a big rub on a really large tree. These are usually found where the territories of two or three bucks overlap and every buck in the area will drop by and rub.

The Rutting Moon

There are a lot of arguments about how the phase of the moon affects deer movement. Many deer hunters feel that a full moon allows more nocturnal activity and depresses deer movement the following day. The "dark" or new moon's lack of light forces deer to move less at night and more in the daylight hours.
Several scientific researchers who have studied this have no found conclusive proof that this is the case. However, from the hunters' point of view, a full moon may depress the normal early morning and late afternoon movement periods when most hunters are afield. It may provoke more midday deer movement when the hunters are loafing around camp and not out in the woods to observe the increased movement.
The greater light of the full moon can stimulate rutting activity. Serious hunters who stay out all day advise that when the peak of the rut and a full moon come at the same time, midday activity is considerably increased.

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