Tips & Tactics

Evergreen Rubdown

Evergreen Rubdown

By Wesley J. Cagle

One of my personal favorite tips is something I’ve done for a long time, and it really works for tricking a deer’s nose.

I’m almost never winded, and have had countless deer walk within feet of me. It’s become a routine now.

All I do is take fresh pine needles — preferably from a young tree — and break them every few inches, then rub the clumps on the tops of my hands, refreshing continually during my hunt.

I take all the other necessary precautions by showering with scent-free soap and wearing scent-elimination clothing, as well as using unscented deodorant and washing my clothes in scent-killer detergent.

But if you’ll keep a small cluster of pine leaves handy and rub them on your hands from time to time, it will help mask orders that build throughout the hunt from perspiration. You’ll blend into the surroundings more, and the deer will have a much harder time smelling you.

– Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin

This pine needle tactic used by Wesley J. Cagle is something I’ve done for many years, and I really believe this extra little step works in keeping human scent masked.

It’s so simple yet effective that I’m surprised no one has submitted this tip before!

One of the first things I do when I arrive at my hunting land is snap off a brushy branch of pine needles and get to rubbing. My hunting buddies say they know I’ve been hunting a lot when there are no reachable pine leaves around the parking area.

But I take Wesley’s advice a lot further. In addition to my hands, I make sure to wipe down my backpack, rifle strap and other easily overlooked gear. I even like to attach a few pine leaves to the webbing of my backpack.

Make sure to put on gloves before handling the evergreen leaves. There is enough sap, even in the needles and small branches, to gum up your hands. That can be an annoyance all hunt long.

Really get in there! Make sure the residue from the pine leaves is permeating whatever you are rubbing down. It will take some elbow grease and friction to get it started. You’ll begin to smell the wonderful fresh scent as the residues are released.

This might sound a little crude, but some places on the human body emit more odors than others. Give your fanny area a little extra attention. If it’s hot, make sure to scrub your armpit areas. And don’t forget your hat.

There are some regions of the country where pine trees don’t grow, but usually some sort of evergreen is readily available. I’ve heard of bear hunters using fir limbs in Canada, deer hunters using cedar in the Midwest and bowhunters in the Desert Southwest using a sage rub in antelope country.

If I’m using this trick along with scent-eliminating clothing, cover scents and scent-killer products, I know I’m doing everything I can do in the odor-masking department to stay undetected, and my confidence soars.

– Photo Courtesy Wesley Cagle

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Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd