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Joined: 05/15/2010
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Scent Control While Elk Hunting

Being long time MS, Al, and GA whitetail hunters we are very aware of the importance of scent control. I have been scented by lead does from 200 yds, even after the obligatory bath in scent suppression soap and washing the clothes in the same. While we were in CO for the 2008 season we that the mule deer we encountered were significantly less caring about our scent and presence than what we had experienced with whitetails in our part of the country. Honestly, the muleys stood around like cattle, letting us get out of the truck taking pictures in situations where whitetails would have been only given a brief glimpse of their tails as we slowed down.

We have read that elk are very dependent on what their noses tell them and accept that as all wild , however we can't help but wonder if they are in reality more like the mule deer or truly are as sensitive as the whitetails we are familiar with. To those with experiences of both whitetail and elk hunting how would you compare the two, are elk as sensitive as whitetail?

Recently I have started using a spray of vanilla flavoring as more of a cover and calming scent. Figure as long as I am breathing where is no way to eliminate the output of my smell so I might be better off just trying make it less offensive and many whitetail hunters swear by the vanilla. My question is, do any of you have any experience or thoughts about how elk might respond to vanilla scent?

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

I do not know anything in the way of whitetails, but as for elk, the saying goes. They can hear you three times, see you twice, but only smell you once and they are gone. Duh

As for the vanilla I would be more concerned about the bears here in Colorado especially smelling like an ice cream treat. Evil!

ecubackpacker's picture
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting
elkkill06 wrote:
As for the vanilla I would be more concerned about the bears here in Colorado especially smelling like an ice cream treat. Evil!

Laugh

Yea, you don't want to become part of the bear scat.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

A couple of years ago on a scouting trip while hiking up a trail I spied a couple of cow elk ahead of us moving in our direction. I motioned for my partner to get down and we both laid down on fairly sparse ground although I did have a small dead log partially obscuring me. The cows grazed towards from about 200 yards to point blank range the lead cow almost stepping on me. She was so close I could have reached out to touch her. I had laid motionless until she was right on me and gently swung my 243's rifle barrel (always carry a rifle for safety even if not hunting) so she'd see motion and stop. She did stop bewildered took a snort and then bolted about fifty yards away to stop and look at us. Cool experience and the deciding factor was the very gently blowing breeze was coming from her to us and she never smelled us until right on top of us. I was in regularly laundered clothes and regular deoderant no scent killers of any kind. Even though when hunting, mainly when predator hunting coyotes, I use scent killers that experience taught me the main thing is play the wind. Also, from seeing the whitetail shows on TV I think it's more important there because guys are hunting from tree stands or blinds and basically waiting for deer to come from any direction by them and really need to kill their scent. Out here in the west you're either spotting and stalking from a long distance where you can plan your stalk with the wind in your favor or if calling a bull in still getting in a position where the wind is in their favor. If the wind is blowing from them to you they generally won't smell you until their on top of you. However, if it's the other way around they can smell you hundreds of yards if not more away if a stiff wind is blowing from you to them.

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Joined: 05/15/2010
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

Had not thought about attracting the bears. Thanks for the heads up on that.

tim
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

scent control seems more important on the method of hunting versus the animal. ie sitting in a tree stand versus glassing from a vantage point and than stalking with the wind in your favor.

I would also use a cover up scent that is in the area. you might want a sage brush cover up or a pine smell.

tim

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Joined: 12/11/2009
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

Coming from Illinois and prime whitetail country, this question also lingered in my mind until I found my self uphill from a herd of elk one morning when the wind was still blowind down the mountain. Let me tell you, a herd of elk make a lot of noise running away after smelling your scent!

"I do not know anything in the way of whitetails, but as for elk, the saying goes. They can hear you three times, see you twice, but only smell you once and they are gone."

I believe this statement! The terrain is so steep in the area I hunt, that scent control is not an option. Too much sweating getting where you need to be! Use the wind and forget scent control!

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Joined: 04/25/2009
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

The first time I went to CO to elk hunt I tried to be as scent free as possible, and being a hard core deer hunter from WI I have done everything you could imagine to be scent free. It took me one morning to realize that hiking up and down the mountians there would be no chance to be scent free. I dont waste time any more with scent free showers and soaps when I am elk hunting, once in a while I will use cover scents. Your only chance in the mountians is to play the wind, if you don't you will hear a lot of trees busting while they are runing away.

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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Re: Scent Control While Elk Hunting

One other thing to remember regarding the behavior of the mule deer you encountered which seemed to have no fear. Driving up to our hunting area we pass many does and smaller bucks who you can get within a few yards of with no prob. As you said they seem to have no direct fear of human presence. Many of these small but legal bucks don't survive the hunting season and if they do get more wary as they survive more years. Even on the trail hiking up and into our prime area we hunt it's not uncommon to run into does along the way seemingly careless to human presence (this is early muzzleloader season I'm talking about). They are very conditioned to human presence and feel pretty safe being around all the summer hikers and campers and not being shot at. This does change after a few rifle seasons go by.

But, you generally never see big, bruiser, monster, bucks behaving in this manner. I've watched really nice bucks during muzzleloader season from three four hundred yards off that either saw me, smelled me, or heard me, pinpoint me and never let me get one yard closer. Them really big bucks are more like whitetails I reckon then not. Sneaky as hell. However, I have seen em dumber then a post during the rut when I didn't have a license and could only watch and drool much like they were.

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