It makes sense to use scents

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - WILDLIFE - DOYLE DI­ETZ Com­men­tary Doyle Di­etz is a free­lance out­doors writer. He can be reached at wildlife@timessham­

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.

Archer y dates Statewide Sept. 30 to Nov. 11.

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