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Scent or the Lack Thereof

PhotoBy Braden Arp

-- One of my favorite television commercials has, "Forget the wind, just hunt," as its slogan. I was so intrigued by this message that I simply knew I must check out their product. I think everyone has had a crisp morning's hunt spoiled by the sounds of stomps and snorts of winding deer, only to see a glimpse of a monstrous backside that leaves you wondering what could have been.
I definitely had my share of those mornings and also had come to the realization that I had had my fill of missed chances. I was tired of being smelled, and I was tired of worrying about the wind. I was ready to forget the wind and just hunt, exactly as the manufacturer suggested. So I made my purchase and was ready to get back in the game. 

On the first morning, I reached my stand after a short walk and brief scuffle with the gnat clouds, which I think were victorious, to find my stand on the edge of a swampy mucky mess. Being a fan of what other hunters skip over, I headed up the tree. As I reached my post, I unpacked my jacket and put it on, along with my pants. The sweat instantly came rushing from every pore of my body but soon calmed back to a steady stream. I mean it was downright hot. I pulled my bow from the ground, settled in and got ready. Daylight was fast approaching.

I remember thinking several times that if anything came within miles of me that I was sure to be busted. I was deciding how to handle the morning sounds of sniffs and snorts that would surely come. However, I did have an advantage, which was the wind was carrying my scent, or lack thereof, directly away from where I expected to deer to travel. It was hot, but I was set up right. I still wasn't feeling too warm and fuzzy inside, but hey, forget the wind and just hunt, right?

It was around 8 a.m. when I took a long look down the creek because I heard some squirrels barking. To my surprise, I caught movement just on the edge of a cane break by the creek. It was a deer, and a large bodied deer at that. I zoned-in and the deer weaved back out of the cane break. The buck was 100 or so yards away and coming straight at me, slowly but surely.

Just when I thought I had defied the odds, the wind shifted. I had a nice buck on the left and a hard breeze from the right. It was horrific. The wind carried me straight to my trophy as if to serve my scent up on a silver platter saying, "Run, run for your life." At that moment, the deer raised its head directly into the wind and gathered every particle of scent into its nostrils.

"I'm had," I said to myself and self was beginning to agree with me. However, to my surprise the buck never spooked. He made about three more steps and repeated the process of smelling the air. Each time I thought he was surely pinning me down, the buck just kept coming. By now, he was within 80 yards and oblivious to my presence. One turn into the cane break, and the buck was gone. I let out a few soft social grunts and hoped for the best. The buck popped back out into the open and stood for what seemed like an eternity.
Now I had two problems. The wind was carrying me straight to a nice shooter buck, and the buck knew something was there from the sound. However, I had no choice but to go after him. I grunted again. The buck was 60 yards and closing, adamantly trying to pick up a scent.

Eventually, he was within range; long range but in range. I knew I had to shoot quickly or I would lose my chance, but I wasn't quick enough. He took one step in the cane break and walked another 10 or so yards leaving me with nothing. It would take one step to get an opening that I felt comfortable with, so I drew my bow. I held my draw for what seemed like minutes.

I can still remember my muscles tingling from exhaustion as well as being tapped into a livewire of excitement. All of a sudden, I saw a nose protrude from behind the tree, and I saw the buck start to move. The buck took three more steps and stopped, leaving me with a perfect broadside shot. I took it, and it was a good one. The Georgia 9-point buck ran 40 yards before giving up.
Stories and memories like these are always a little sweeter when you know that you have defied the odds for success. It's a great feeling to know that you have done all you can do and your equipment is doing what it is supposed to. I've hunted on countless occasions leaving straight from work, only to have an hour or so in the woods.
I can put my scent-blocking clothing over my work clothes and not have to worry about it. When I'm done, it goes directly back into a scent-proof bag and is ready to go for the next trip. It is just that simple! I remember the days of trying to harness a satellite feed for the latest in wind directions, but it has been so much more enjoyable to forget the wind and just hunt.

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