It makes sense to use scents
Tom Tatum not only talks the game, but the award-winning past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association is successful playing the game.
Tatum believes the earliest part of the season can and should be the most productive time to be in the woods for any bowhunter. Scouting during the preseason, but not too much scouting, is important because too many trips into a buck’s home territory are usually counterproductive.
At this late date the likelihood of putting deer on alert outweighs any last-minute information to be gained.
In many of his seminars, Tatum stresses that a lot of successful bowhunters have common sense as it relates to the proper use of scents. When scouting and hunting, he always wears a masking — or cover — scent.
Not that many years ago hunters had little choice other than purchasing national products through the mail or hoping those purchased at sporting goods stores came off shelves recently stocked.
Now there are many reputable lure and scent manufacturers located in Pennsylvania, including Heated Hunts located in Clarks Summit.
“I believe fox and raccoon scents are best, with fox being the choice if you’re staying on the ground; raccoon if you’re climbing into trees,” Tatum said. “No scent masks better than skunk, but a word of advice in that many years ago, before I knew better, I spent too many unsuccessful seasons using skunk to disguise my own odor.
“Deer snorted me and avoided me like, well, like they would avoid a real skunk. Today raccoon is my masking scent of choice, and many bowhunters I know also use scent removers or earth scents in tandem with or in place of masking scents.
“Always wear clean rubber boots because leather boots or cloth sneakers will track human odor all over the place. Rubber boots, especially those treated with scent removers or masking scents, will help your visits to the woods stay relatively undetected.”
If possible, wear clean, unscented clothes and never put scouting or hunting clothes into a dryer with scented sheets of staticguard, fabric softener or other such products.
Tatum washes his hunting clothes with baking powder, then stores them in a plastic bag with earth-scented wafers or other scent suppressing products in the weeks leading up to opening day.
During hunting season, hunters should avoid bathing or showering with scented soaps and using aftershave lotion or cologne. Tatum often reminds his bowhunting friends that smart bucks live and die by their nose and their job is to see that the latter happens.