Hi, this week we are going to discuss the whitetails main senses, and look at what sense really IS most valuable to deer, at keeping you from success, so stay tuned.
Now before we start I want to clarify that this is NOT what sense is more superhuman, but MORE VALUABLE.. and we need to look at the science, what it really says, not what we've been told or maybe have thought we've experienced (that may not be based on reality sometimes). So, let's dive in!
Sight: I am going to dismiss this right off the bat.. Why? Well first science is showing this is a confirmation sense for the other two, especially hearing. It needs to be tripped most the time to stand out and get them to bust or blow out. I experience this many times, where I am standing in a wide open field, etc., and had deer almost run over top of me just because I was not moving. Basically, just don’t move, don’t wear blue, white, yellow, or grays/whites and where something to break up your form and you’re set. Heck, black and red plaid used to be the camouflage of choice, so don’t worry about “detail” or which brand you have. Deer cannot see detail, that’s just to make you feel like you’re more camouflaged, when you really, are not. We’ve all had times where deer look right at us and as long as we are obeying these rules we’re fine.
Smell: University of Mississippi found they can smell 500-1000 times better than humans (like dogs). This is a broad range, so there is a lot left to learn, but they can very easily pick up our scent.
They also found scent eliminating sprays do work pretty well on 65 tested people: worked by greatly reducing the levels of 29 key compounds, either by killing bacteria, binding to the chemicals, or converting them into less volatile compounds. In my experience deer smell where you walked/brushed against grass, and change direction/get spooky. Also, they directly smell you/wind you, snort and are gone! But there are limits to this sense, that a lot of guys think is king.. it is drastically limited. It is limited to what you recently touched with skin, or cloth (not properly treated), before a rain, or a small AREA downwind of you (MOST THE TIME). This is key, only a small percentage of your 360 huntable area around you.. I'd say 20-30 degrees max. On top of this, there is a myth to dispell..
Myth: they always smell you when downwind… NOT TRUE. I’ve had many times, many, where deer have been directly downwind and not smelled me. They don’t always smell you when downwind
Example: This year I shot a buck on public land, that was downwind of me several times/long periods during his approach.. Did not smell me (not using ozone).
Hearing: Whitetail deer have large pinnae, the outer ear that allows it togather more sound. Not super human as far as loudness goes, but definitely good and wired to pick up slight sounds we make..360 degrees..
They hear best at 8000Hz, the area that best picks up hunter noises (leaves, sticks, etc.) Deer also hear ultrasonic, or over 2 - 3 times higher pitch than we can! Therefore, can pick up frequencies/noises we make, that we cannot hear. Sounds can travel thousands of yards based on our testing, as well.
Soo…. What’s most valuble? First, they all work together and are vital to whitetail. And, well honestly its hard to say, but I'd put sight at #3 due to the facts above. Of the remaining two, they both are senses we need to get past and manage, but I will say this. Hearing, being..
Hearing - 360 degree valuable radius
Scent ~ 20 to 30 degree or so?
And.. hearing many times being harder to cover up or manage, is definitely in my opinion that hearing is AS important, or MORE important to deer in the big overall picture. What do you think? Its also definitely something we need to think about a lot, to take our hunting and stealth to the next level! I invite you to follow us on youtube, and social media via the links on the side of our page, and also join our newsletter for more great insights and offers!