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Discussion Starter #1
I was out the other day hunting a new area. I walked in and as soon as I got into the forest I immediately heard something huge running off in the distance. I hiked up a little hill and heard something moving, I shined the light on it and sure enough it was a deer (possibly the same one from when I entered) running off.

Not sure if this was the right thing to do or not, but I figured they pass through here, I still have about a little less then an hour until sunlight, and the wind has been in my face this whole time so why not, and I posted up right there ( I hunt from the ground by the way). I got in some cover between a few trees, sat down and waited about 15-30 mins when a little fawn came into sight.

I sat very still and within seconds it was joined by another, and another. Little by little they started moving in closer to me. My bag was about 10 yards in front of me, I set it under a fallen tree and some branches because its not camo, and for some reason the deer kept circling around me and working there way in toward the bag. When they got within 2-3 feet(of the bag), they started snorting like crazy (more of a loud sudden exhale). From what I read that means they sensed me, once or twice they even stomped there front foot at me, however they didn't seem too bothered or scared. Maybe they couldn't see me clearly, but they kept staring in my direction from time to time. When they were behind me the exhaling picked up alot, it almost even felt like they were over my shoulder (might have been, didn't move an inch so couldn't tell you).

So from this story I have a question, does the snorting mean they could see me? Does it maybe just mean they sensed something in the area was up? Or could it have been the result of what I'm about to say next:

So after a few minutes of torture (couldn't move an inch because there were deer at every angle) I hear something moving in toward us fast. It started barking, and I initially thought it was a coyote. It stopped about 10 yards out, with a deer about 5-6 yards on each side of it. He was staring right at me and yelping his little head off. Not going to lie, it scared the life out of me, and must have startled the deer at least a little bit because they started making there way off. When none of them (so I thought at the time anyway) could see me anymore I unbuttoned my knife. Didn't startle the fox, in fact he came bolting in toward me. I went to stand up a little bit (minimal movement) and he halted to a stop, looked for a second and bolted off in the same direction the deer went.

Asides from all that I had a pretty exhilarating day. During lunch I did a little scouting / still hunting instead of leaving for a few hours, and found alot of interesting things. A motorcycle half buried in a stream, I lifted a rock and about 5 baby snakes went scattering, that little fox and (unless he's the fastest thing on earth) a buddy of his circling me everywhere I went making appearances here and there, some tadpoles etc.. Also, the amount of sign I found was crazy. Tons of old rubs, scrapes, tracks almost everywhere the dirt was soft. There was droppings every 10-15 yards. This place really was excellent.

So with that story I have a few things I'd like to hear opinions on.

1- Should I have stood put (assuming so since all the does came back)
2- Should I not have gotten up for lunch since there was so much in the area
3- Would a fox have bit me? He sure seemed like he wanted too lol
4- There was a spot about 40 yards away from where I was originally sitting when all the deer came, with ridiculous amounts of sign. Even what looked like a fresh rub ( I know they usually don't around this time of year, but the tree was scraped up fresh, you could see red lining up and down it). Should I go back to there next time, or stay where I found them in the first place?
5- The question that was kind of the point of this post, when a deer exhales suddenly like that, what exactly does it mean? He knew something was up? Actually saw me but wasn't sure?

Also don't know if this changes anything, and I find it weird, but I feel like I should note the deer were coming from the direction I walked in from.
 

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Snorting usually means you're busted; but to what degree can vary. I had one snort at me the other morning right at my treestand. I snorted back and heard it turn and go but it didn't go far. It came back about 45 minutes later but was extremely cautious. It sounds like you're doing a pretty good job getting on the deer there I'd just keep hunting the sign. The rest of what you're describing is totally normal, they most likely smelled you via your bag and either knew you had been there or were nearby but they couldn't see you.

As far as lunch goes I believe lunch time is one of the most active times for deer it just doesn't get the same hype as dusk and dawn. Especially buck, I know a lot people that have shot most of their buck between 12 and 2. I can't seem to break the morning/evening ritual until the rut comes but if you're traveling a long way and don't get many days I'd bring lunch with.

And a fox will not bite you if it knows what you are, unless it's rabid. I heard of a guy getting bit by a coyote while calling for turkeys but the thing took off when it realized he wasn't a bird.

Neat story and glad to hear you're on the deer.
 

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1- Should I have stood put (assuming so since all the does came back) - If I'm hunting from the ground, I like to sit on my feet. If you can shot sitting, great, if not standing will probably be your best bet.

2- Should I not have gotten up for lunch since there was so much in the area- 11-2 is a good time to see Bucks moving around

3- Would a fox have bit me? He sure seemed like he wanted too lol-= No, unless its rabid. Must have been curious.

4- There was a spot about 40 yards away from where I was originally sitting when all the deer came, with ridiculous amounts of sign. Even what looked like a fresh rub ( I know they usually don't around this time of year, but the tree was scraped up fresh, you could see red lining up and down it). Should I go back to there next time, or stay where I found them in the first place?- If you can find adequate cover, go for it.
5- The question that was kind of the point of this post, when a deer exhales suddenly like that, what exactly does it mean? He knew something was up? Actually saw me but wasn't sure?- Generally the deer were sensing something was amiss. They smelled you most likely. When they stop their feet they leave scent on the ground from in between their hooves (interdigital gland). The amount of scent left from a stomp is different from them simply walking. This increased amount of scent is to alert the other deer who may encounter this area that there may be a predator or something to be afraid of.

The deer only smelled you and didnt see you. You mentioned your pack, do you spray it down? Where do you keep it? What are your current scent REDUCTION habits?
 

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My best piece of advice for you would be, let the area settle for several days and go back in there again but this time, be in a tree or second choice, a well concealed, brushed in ground blind.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I usually shower the last 2 or 3 days before hunting with only water, and the day before / morning of with no scent shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, and deodorant. I wear clothes that I washed in no scent on the way up, and the clothes I actually hunt in stay in a sealed garbage bag with my gear, and leaves, acorns, sticks etc.. (collected from wherever I hunt)
The clothes I wear while I hunt get washed (every 3-4 hunts) in a washer I already ran an empty wash or two in, followed by one last no scent detergent only load before I actually put clothes in. I also keep a thing of baking soda in the bag with my clothes.
The bag also gets washed this way, and stays in the garbage bag with my gear.

When I actually get there I change into my hunting stuff, spraying my clothes skin and bag before putting them on (which usually makes me shiver like a beast lol, this saturday it was only about 40 degrees when I got out).
I even spray my hands before and a couple times during doing laundry.
I also dry with earth scented (hunters specialties I believe) dryer sheets, and yes I clean the dryer out with field wipes and clean the trap.

If you meant where do I leave the bag while in the woods, I usually put it against a tree close by and cover it with branches and leaves so you can't see it. Come to think of it I had some sprays (not using them, haven't even opened yet) like buck and doe urine in the bag. Maybe that's what lured them over to it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks by the way. Wasn't sure about foxes (I've heard of coyotes getting vicious) and I figured there had to be something to them stomping there foot. I thought maybe they were trying to get me to jump
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I plan on going back in a week, I want to go earlier but I work mon-fri and I want to save my vaca days for the rut. I had a guy who I was supposed to pick a climber up from (intended on going during lunch as he was 10 mins away) but he couldn't meet that day. If I can't get it before next weekend, maybe I should just try to get there extra early and drag some stuff to the tree I'm sitting in to use as cover?
 

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My opinion is you are doing very well.You can do everything perfect and it simply won't work.All animals can smell,see or otherwise detect a presence.You didn't move for that you can be proud.Had they actually saw movement they would have streaked away from you.Keep at it your doing it right,just lose the deer scent.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks! I honestly am starting to feel more and more confident each time I go out . Can't wait until the rut
 

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2 other things to consider when eliminating scent. don't forget to spray down your equipment. wrist straps on bows, slings on rifle or crossbow, cloth watch bands, strap on headlamps etc. treat ever item you take into the field as you would hunting clothing. a lot of people go to great lengths to reduce / remove human and foreign odors yet they will leave gear in the house where they pick up odors. spray them down and keep them in bins outside. don't bring anything into the house that you don't have to. Also pay attention to your breath. some estimate that over half the odor a hunter puts into the air comes from their breath and yet it's probably one of the most overlooked areas of odor control. brush with an odor free toothpaste and use an odor free mouthwash. Hope this helps...
 

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Deer don't know what the inside of your house smells like, and heck, if the wife just made an apple pie you might even draw some deer in! The only chance you have of efficiently removing your scent or fooling a deer is to use one of those fancy ozone machines which to my knowledge aren't technically legal.
Might as well bring hydrogen peroxide with you and swish it every ten minutes to kill your breath.

IMO scent removal won't hurt you but at the same time is it really worth going through all of those extra steps and precautions and anxieties when a deer downwind is still going to smell you? It's not your clothes or gear, it's YOU they smell and no amount of spray will ever remove YOU from the equation. I used to do all of that but it got old, have not seen any impacts to my hunting since. Hunt the wind and don't over hunt an area as you will spraying a gallon of acorn/leaf spray over your body
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not 100% what you mean by that last sentence, do you mean don't use a cover scent or I'm adding to much odor to the area?
I definitely agree with you 100% based on what I've learned. I do the no scent routine thoroughly, but I do acknowledge that no matter what deer can and will still smell me. Someone mentioned something about a 2 sense rule that makes sense to me, basically a deer will smell,hear, OR see you and wont spook, but if 2 of those senses say predator there outta there.
Was the peroxide thing sarcasm btw? I feel like I should get a mouth spray, it does make sense
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did always brush with the no scent toothpaste, and I make sure my morning coffee is vanilla flavored lol.
I really should get a thing of mouthwash / mouth spray though. I have to find a minute to stop by the hunting store near me. (THE, hunting store, we literally only have 2 in all of Brooklyn that sell supplies, and one is extremely limited).

Also, I do spray down all my equipment before going into the woods. I usually line everything up outside the car thats coming in with me and spray the **** out of it. I probably will make a better effort next time w the bow though and actually wipe it down as well with field wipes. Never went to serious with plastic/ metal stuff because I figured it can't absorb odors like cloth can
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Random side note, I thought about something the other day.
Not only is our breath the most odor we let out, its probably the most movement we do (from our chests puffing in and out) and the most noise we make. When I had all the deer around me, I couldn't control my breathing for the life of me. They didn't notice, but I was almost sure my breath would give me up at the time
 

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I was being sarcastic about the peroxide every ten minutes, though it is a good scent-free mouthwash. What I meant to say in the last sentence is: hunting with the wind in your favor and not over-hunting a spot will do you as much or more good than spraying yourself down.

Deer are curious and not bothered by every single scent they smell. Human scent is something most deer are familiar with and associate with danger. They've never been in your car, your house, your garage etc. so all of these are new smells to them. As you saw, the deer were curious about your bag; they probably smelled you on the bag despite all of your rigorous attempts to rid your scent, and that's why they started alerting. I know a lot of guys believe in scent control and a lot don't so much but can't stop doing it. My only point here is don't overthink it; do what you think you should do but in the end the wind will dictate whether you're busted. I've gotten to the point where I think doing a halfway scent control job is a wasted effort and I don't have it in me to go to the extremes necessary to have an effect. So I just pay attention to the wind.

I also don't shoot nice buck every year but usually get my fair share of opportunities at slickheads and smaller buck but my main focus is meat in the freezer
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe I'll just bring a bottle of peroxide for before I walk in rather then the ddw mouthwash come to think of it.
I had some blue berries and trailmix in my bag by the way (not sure if that could have been what attracted them to it). I only bring snacks on days I don't plan on leaving for lunch, but I make sure its something deer would eat.

My focus is similar, but not JUST for the meat. I just want a successful trip, whether it be a doe, buck, whatever, but unfortunately I don't have any doe tags. I didn't realize the lottery started so early for them. I also am very interested in the meat, I'm a bit of a cook and dying to try venison, and making some venison recipes, but I won't until I take something myself. I feel like it'll be more rewarding that way whether or not I like the taste. Even if I don't, none will go to waste because I have a german shepherd who eats raw. Still undecided as to when I take something if I'm going to give him the antlers (we get them at the petstore there his favorite thing to chew on) or get a euromount. I'd love to have my first buck shoulder mounted but asides for me spending enough on hunting this year, it just wouldn't look right in an nyc apartment.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Shame I didn't apply sooner for them. I would have filled them by now. The doe stopped broadside so many times in front of me with there head behind trees. It was almost depressing
 

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Lots of good advice here. I will agree with shifty do as much or as little scent control as you would like. I used to do the whole dont get dressed until you get to the hunting area thing but that gets old real quick when there is snow on the ground and 14* real feel temps. I do some scent control but am not obsessive about it. I have not noticed a marked difference between when I did everything by the book scent wise and when I do what I feel like is enough. Do what you are comfortable with. Don't stress all these little things make sure you can relax and have fun the rest will fall together. Good luck sounds like you have a great area to hunt.
 

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Don't give the antlers to the dog! Think of all the time, effort, and memories that go in to those things. Save em, do a little mount kit; they're cheap and hands on. What good is a successful trip without meat and/or a trophy? Then you're just killing to kill and may as well just go in with a camera.
 
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