Scent elimination is good all year-round

On social media, I often see newer turkey hunters being hazed by the elders of the sport, suggesting they not forget to use their scent elimination spray and attractant sprays for turkeys. Anyone even slightly familiar with the sport knows that turkeys cannot smell and that this is bogus information, but there are some pros to putting effort into your scent control year round.

I was once seated on a ridge top on a mid-morning hunt, and I’d already covered a lot of ground. It was a hot day and I had been sweating quite a bit. A turkey had gobbled and was headed my way when a few deer had walked by. Fortunately they didn’t spook the turkey, but they continued working their way toward the other side of the ridge. The turkey finally made its way into sight distance, and that’s when the largest of the deer, who had made their way down wind, perked her head up and began snorting at me.

The gig was up, the turkey was gone, and it was all because the deer had outed me.

As is the case in this story, anyone who’s been gobbler hunting for any period of time has often had this happen to them. Whitetail deer darting through the woods, snorting in alarm, or simply just hanging around in the wrong place and being spooked can quickly dash any hopes of a successful turkey hunt.

So what can be done?

Using a scent elimination spray, or simply the same tactics you use to prepare your clothing and gear prior to heading to the deer woods are always a great start. Where the trouble tends to lie, especially for me, is midseason, when I lose interest in the same approach I’ve taken in the weeks leading up to the season. We’ve all been there, when we decide to toss our camo clothing in with our regular laundry with a pod of “fresh scent” laundry detergent to save time and a little bit of the expensive bottle of scent-free detergent we use for our deer hunting gear.

After all, turkeys can’t smell.

When that happens, I tend to take advantage of the spring foliage as a means of camouflage and scent control. A few pine boughs placed around me, or a fresh snip or two of honeysuckle does great in terms of not disclosing my location to the resident deer herd.

Is scent control necessary for turkeys? Absolutely not. Does it help to eliminate one more possible factor that could ruin a turkey hunt in a brief moment? Yes it does.

Hunt hard, hunt safe and shoot straight, friends.


John Knouse writes about the outdoors for The Sentinel.


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