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Old 09-29-2017, 11:09 AM   #1
flyby
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Default Scent control explained- long read

I'm no scientist or expert, but this is info I've gleaned over the past 10 years through reading and experience as a K9 Handler with tracking dogs that are also trained in other odor discrimination specialties, so take it for what it's worth.

Picture this. You are standing in the middle of your yard with no wind. Your body temperature is +/- 98.7 degrees and it's 60 degrees outside. Heat is emanating from your body, so it rises. Your body is shedding thousands of microscopic skin cells per minute. Those skin cells also rise until the temperature stabilizes, then begin to fall. That is the human odor dogs (and deer and pigs) can detect. Add a little wind and the odor drifts before it settles. The odor dissipates with time, and is spread further with wind, reducing how strong the odor is.

Now think about this. You know what it smells like when you walk outside right after your lawn has been mowed? If I walk across your yard your dog smells that same odor. It's called ground disturbance. When you walk across the ground you are crushing and damaging vegetation and moving dirt that allows odors beneath the surface to escape.

Now, imagine walking across a concrete parking lot. The only odor a dog can detect is the human odor, there is no ground disturbance.

From my reading and experience what I have found is that when a person walks across a field, the odor a dog can detect is 95% ground disturbance, 5% human odor. Human odor is much more difficult for a dog to consistently track. This can easily be shown with K9 tracking as many dogs that are outstanding trackers on vegetation are completely lost on concrete and cannot track.

How does this relate to hunting? Glad you asked. :-)

If you put on an astronauts suit with self contained breathing apparatus and walked to your blind, my dog could easily track you for several hours due to ground disturbance odor. When you walk to your blind there will ALWAYS be odor that can disturb the wildlife. Whether or not it does will greatly depend on their experience with odor. Does wearing rubber boots help reduce human odor? I think so, but it does not effect ground disturbance odor.

I think the key is knowing a little about odor and how it is spread. You can reduce your odor with clothing, scent free soap, etc, but short of a rubber suit with self contained breathing apparatus, you cannot eliminate it. Reduce what you can, and always hunt the wind.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:09 AM   #2
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Time to pack up and go shower with scent free soap!
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:19 AM   #3
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Good info. So even if freshly sprayed rubber boots totally eliminated leaving human odor, (not likely) a deer that crosses where you have walked knows "something" has passed by due to ground disturbance. I guess a jumpy, pressured deer won't stay around to find out what it was that walked through. I've always thought if there was a camera on our set ups - zoomed in from above - we would be shocked at how many deer come in just out of sight, sense our presence then leave. We get back to camp and say "nothing was moving this morning!"

Last edited by jerp; 09-29-2017 at 11:24 AM..
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by flyby View Post
I'm no scientist or expert, but this is info I've gleaned over the past 10 years through reading and experience as a K9 Handler with tracking dogs that are also trained in other odor discrimination specialties, so take it for what it's worth.

Picture this. You are standing in the middle of your yard with no wind. Your body temperature is +/- 98.7 degrees and it's 60 degrees outside. Heat is emanating from your body, so it rises. Your body is shedding thousands of microscopic skin cells per minute. Those skin cells also rise until the temperature stabilizes, then begin to fall. That is the human odor dogs (and deer and pigs) can detect. Add a little wind and the odor drifts before it settles. The odor dissipates with time, and is spread further with wind, reducing how strong the odor is.

Now think about this. You know what it smells like when you walk outside right after your lawn has been mowed? If I walk across your yard your dog smells that same odor. It's called ground disturbance. When you walk across the ground you are crushing and damaging vegetation and moving dirt that allows odors beneath the surface to escape.

Now, imagine walking across a concrete parking lot. The only odor a dog can detect is the human odor, there is no ground disturbance.

From my reading and experience what I have found is that when a person walks across a field, the odor a dog can detect is 95% ground disturbance, 5% human odor. Human odor is much more difficult for a dog to consistently track. This can easily be shown with K9 tracking as many dogs that are outstanding trackers on vegetation are completely lost on concrete and cannot track.

How does this relate to hunting? Glad you asked. :-)

If you put on an astronauts suit with self contained breathing apparatus and walked to your blind, my dog could easily track you for several hours due to ground disturbance odor. When you walk to your blind there will ALWAYS be odor that can disturb the wildlife. Whether or not it does will greatly depend on their experience with odor. Does wearing rubber boots help reduce human odor? I think so, but it does not effect ground disturbance odor.

I think the key is knowing a little about odor and how it is spread. You can reduce your odor with clothing, scent free soap, etc, but short of a rubber suit with self contained breathing apparatus, you cannot eliminate it. Reduce what you can, and always hunt the wind.
Great write up and appreciated
because I don't have as many days to hunt as I did in the past I don't have time to worry about the wind so I cover my scent with something that appears they like ( vanilla ) and sometimes (strawberry). I know it does not cover it 100% but I have learned that its 100% better than trusting the shifting winds in the oak patch I typically sit in. Your write up makes a ton of sense and I never thought about ground disturbance aspect of a track job
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:22 AM   #5
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interesting read thanks for the info
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #6
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Good info. So even if freshly sprayed rubber boots totally eliminated leaving human odor, (not likely) a deer that crosses where you have walked knows "something" has passed by due to ground disturbance.
Correct, but don't forget there is human odor there also, just not as strong as the ground disturbance.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:29 AM   #7
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One more quick bit of info. Odor dissipates faster in the sunlight. The UV rays help to kill it off. I have heard "claims" that a few bloodhounds can track human odor up to 24 hours. If that is true, those dogs are few and far between. With most LE dogs anything more than a couple of hours is really pushing the limit.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for explaining. How does a deer know the ground disturbance came from me and not another deer, a racoon, one of the million hogs on the lease or Sasquatch?
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:37 AM   #9
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Thanks for explaining. How does a deer know the ground disturbance came from me and not another deer, a racoon, one of the million hogs on the lease or Sasquatch?
I was wondering this too, since we have a lot of Sasquatches where I hunt
Do humans give off a different ground disturbance odor?
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:37 AM   #10
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That's good stuff, Troy.

Something I've wondered about, and maybe you can shed some light from K9 experiece -- is there any merit to the idea of scent overload for a dog (or hog, deer) by using a strong cover scent such as skunk essence?

Humans will get scent overload. Like when you go shopping for Christmas gift perfume and after a few sniffs everything smells the same and then you can't smell anything else for a while. Or get a whiff of a rotting animal - your sense of smell is overwhelmed and history for a while.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:40 AM   #11
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I agree with what you said which is why I will go out of my way to walk though some cow poop. In addition to taking all scent prevention and control measures I can.

Best of luck to all those ready to knock an arrow tomorrow. I have a mgt. 9 and or doe on tap myself.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:41 AM   #12
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Interesting read..

Next on my hunting gadgets list. A helicopter to drop me in my blind..
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:41 AM   #13
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So how does moisture like rain or heavy dew effect ground disturbance. Does the dog then track more of the human scent than ground disturbance?
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:49 AM   #14
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I believe that a lot of what you say is true, but I don't know about the two hours. My JRT has found several hogs the next morning after we shot them from say 10:00 until midnight. (We don't track big hogs in the dark when we're not sure of shot placement) Of course, hopefully, the perp you're tracking doesn't smell as bad as a hog.

I'll add one more thing to the info you've given about disturbance. Deer have interdigital glands between their "toes" that will leave a different scent when they are scared and "blow out". Another deer can smell that much later and leave the vicinity. I've personally witnessed that.

We know so much more about deer and their habits than we did twenty years ago, and yet we have just scratched the surface.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:51 AM   #15
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Thanks for explaining. How does a deer know the ground disturbance came from me and not another deer, a racoon, one of the million hogs on the lease or Sasquatch?
Good question that I don't know the answer to. I would guess my size 9 feet will cause alot more ground disturbance than a raccoon. Again, add in the natural odor to the ground disturbance (stinky coon or pig) and that may tell the deer all is well.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:55 AM   #16
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That's good stuff, Troy.

Something I've wondered about, and maybe you can shed some light from K9 experiece -- is there any merit to the idea of scent overload for a dog (or hog, deer) by using a strong cover scent such as skunk essence?
From experience I would say no, but no scientific data to back that. On a long track you will hear the K9 occasionally blow out their nose, I have read that is clearing the nasal passages.

Here's another example of a K9's smell versus us. When you walk in the house and your wife is cooking spaghetti, what do you smell? You smell spaghetti. A dog doesn't. A dog smells, pasta, tomato's, garlic, etc. This can be demonstrated by hiding narcotics in a can of coffee grounds, or submerged in oil, or covered in dryer sheets or laundry soap. The dog will still be able to find the dope.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:55 AM   #17
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:59 AM   #18
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So how does moisture like rain or heavy dew effect ground disturbance. Does the dog then track more of the human scent than ground disturbance?
Environmental conditions greatly effect odor. Cool, moist weather holds odor for much longer periods of time than hot, dry weather. Human odor versus ground disturbance depends on the dog. Bloodhounds are trained to track almost exclusively human odor, not so much in LE. A true human odor tracking dog can differentiate between people on a track even if others walk across the track. That takes tons of training along with the right handler and dog. Most in LE don't have the luxury of doing tracking 20-30 hours a week or more.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:05 PM   #19
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I believe that a lot of what you say is true, but I don't know about the two hours. My JRT has found several hogs the next morning after we shot them from say 10:00 until midnight. (We don't track big hogs in the dark when we're not sure of shot placement) Of course, hopefully, the perp you're tracking doesn't smell as bad as a hog.

Don't doubt this at all. I was referring to LE dogs in a residential environment. Cars driving down the road, people out walking their dogs, kids getting out of school, all effect the odor that has been left. I do a lot of tracking and have no doubt my dog could follow a track 4-6 hours or more after it was left in a rural, undisturbed environment. Another thing to consider is, did the dog track or did the dog air scent? If I'm 100-150 yds away from a person and downwind my dog will drag me to them. No telling how far he can smell an old hog.

I'll add one more thing to the info you've given about disturbance. Deer have interdigital glands between their "toes" that will leave a different scent when they are scared and "blow out". Another deer can smell that much later and leave the vicinity. I've personally witnessed that.

Again, don't doubt that. People are the same. When I do a training track and just have someone go walk an area the dog can track. When you're on the trail of a suspect that just wrecked out and is running from a stolen car you see a HUGE difference in the dog. Adrenaline and hormones get the dog excited!!!

We know so much more about deer and their habits than we did twenty years ago, and yet we have just scratched the surface.
Good points.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:08 PM   #20
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HAHA!! Still ground disturbance and human odor, but nice try!!!
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:14 PM   #21
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This can be demonstrated by hiding narcotics in a can of coffee grounds
You're telling me that Axl Foley lied to us all?
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:18 PM   #22
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When you have an extra right foot you leave extra stink.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:18 PM   #23
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You're telling me that Axl Foley lied to us all?
Don't know who he is.

Long time no see, brother!! Call me sometime.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:22 PM   #24
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Guys check out Scent Thief. I've been using this stuff the last two seasons. Legit. And when I say legit there's nothing that comes close. I've always went off the deep end on scent control measures. This product has cut a lot of my prep in half. Unbelievable how well it works.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:23 PM   #25
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Don't know who he is.



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Long time no see, brother!! Call me sometime.
Will do.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:24 PM   #26
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Sweet! I needed a project today.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:24 PM   #27
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One more thing to think about is what is referred to as a scent cone. Picture an inverted funnel that goes away from you and with the wind. As the wind blows past you it carries your odor downwind. With a light wind you will have a wider cone, but the odor is spread further out, so the odor dissipates in a shorter distance. With a stronger wind it keeps the scent cone narrower for a longer distance.

When searching an area for a person with no known track you start out downwind and zig zag into the wind. The scent cone can be "seen" by watching the dog. The dog will suddenly start pulling across the scent cone until he loses the odor, then will double back into the scent cone, until he leaves it again, and so on. You will see the back and forth of the dog get narrower and narrower as he gets closer to the source of the odor.

The point of this is that in light wind your odor disperses to a larger area downwind. If you have trails coming in behind you or to the sides there is more chance you will be busted in a light wind than in a heavy wind.

Last edited by flyby; 09-29-2017 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:45 PM   #28
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I believe that a lot of what you say is true, but I don't know about the two hours. My JRT has found several hogs the next morning after we shot them from say 10:00 until midnight. (We don't track big hogs in the dark when we're not sure of shot placement) Of course, hopefully, the perp you're tracking doesn't smell as bad as a hog.
The cone Flyby is speaking of has a lot to do with this. Longer the animal or human stays in one place the better the cone will be. Nothing like see a dog run frantic back and forth lines till he/she catches wind of the target. Watching the dogs body language is sometimes more fun than catching the bad guy.

Probably the same reason handlers recommend leaving doors closed while you wait for a dog to come search for narcotics.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:50 PM   #29
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Do you think the rainy weather all week at our place will mitigate the ground disturbance aspect?
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:09 PM   #30
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Interesting read..

Next on my hunting gadgets list. A helicopter to drop me in my blind..
I was thinking of a large drone...
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Oh yeah, callout challenge issued.

My bet is on the dog.


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My money is on the dog too Mike!! I'll cover a hunert...
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Do you think the rainy weather all week at our place will mitigate the ground disturbance aspect?
Bet not. You would still be disturbing the ground walking on it.

And I always have used the ole "step in cow pies" trick. Witnessed many bucks come right up same trail and didn't seem to spook.
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:12 PM   #31
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I was thinking of a large drone...

My money is on the dog too Mike!! I'll cover a hunert...

Bet not. You would still be disturbing the ground walking on it.

And I always have used the ole "step in cow pies" trick. Witnessed many bucks come right up same trail and didn't seem to spook.

Now THAT would be a large drone

As for the cow pie. I care not to say what I tried to get close to a herd of elk once
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Old 09-29-2017, 01:26 PM   #32
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Do you think the rainy weather all week at our place will mitigate the ground disturbance aspect?
It will probably let them smell it better. Anybody who has ever bird hunted behind dogs will tell you that cold air, with low humidity is tough on a dog's smeller. High humidity makes them smell better. That's why an elk or a deer will run their tongues into each nostril when trying to smell something they've only seen or heard. Animals might deny eyes or ears, but they won't deny their nose.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:08 PM   #33
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Awesome info. Thanks
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:34 PM   #34
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Scent elimination sprays tested against a drug sniffing dog. Dog won every time, and says that a deer has 100 million more nose receptors than a dog. Don't think I'm buying anymore scent elimination sprays.

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articl...g-sniffing-dog
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:37 PM   #35
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Do you think the rainy weather all week at our place will mitigate the ground disturbance aspect?
No, it will enhance it. Cool, moist conditions preserve odor longer.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:53 PM   #36
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Very interesting read for sure. What I would like to know is how much human scent gets down to ground level, and at what range, if say you are 25 feet in a tree? With a light breeze blowing (less than 10) if a deer comes in downwind of me within 25-30 yards, is my scent even making it down that low at that close of range?
Alot of environmental things come in to play in this scenario. In the evening as it cools off cool air forces odor down faster. Also, if you have a thick dense tree downwind that forces the air to swirl, which can force it up and down.

Easiest way to picture these movements is throw a handful of flower in a slow moving creek. It spreads in a cone as it goes downstream. Now in a fast moving creek, same, but in a denser and narrower one. Now in a creek with rocks or a log downstream. Obstruction causes swirls. Now try to picture that in 3 dimensions instead of 2.
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:13 PM   #37
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Very interesting read for sure. What I would like to know is how much human scent gets down to ground level, and at what range, if say you are 25 feet in a tree? With a light breeze blowing (less than 10) if a deer comes in downwind of me within 25-30 yards, is my scent even making it down that low at that close of range?


I usually use my puff bottle to attempt to find this out. Iím sure the powder is a lot heavier than human scent in the wind, but I can tell you one thing, when I send some powder into the wind at 25í up, I can watch it floating in the wind a pretty good ways and it stays up pretty high.


Skinny
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:37 PM   #38
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:14 PM   #39
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When you have an extra right foot you leave extra stink.
The is too funny! How does he wear shoes?? never-mind, the picture explains that!
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:26 PM   #40
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I've been happy with dead down wind. It doesn't work 100% but I know it works. I keep a bottle in my work truck to spray down after decomp scenes.

If I didn't have 2 gallons of try this theif stuff

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Old 09-29-2017, 05:57 PM   #41
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I'm no scientist or expert, but this is info I've gleaned over the past 10 years through reading and experience as a K9 Handler with tracking dogs that are also trained in other odor discrimination specialties, so take it for what it's worth.

Picture this. You are standing in the middle of your yard with no wind. Your body temperature is +/- 98.7 degrees and it's 60 degrees outside. Heat is emanating from your body, so it rises. Your body is shedding thousands of microscopic skin cells per minute. Those skin cells also rise until the temperature stabilizes, then begin to fall. That is the human odor dogs (and deer and pigs) can detect. Add a little wind and the odor drifts before it settles. The odor dissipates with time, and is spread further with wind, reducing how strong the odor is.

Now think about this. You know what it smells like when you walk outside right after your lawn has been mowed? If I walk across your yard your dog smells that same odor. It's called ground disturbance. When you walk across the ground you are crushing and damaging vegetation and moving dirt that allows odors beneath the surface to escape.

Now, imagine walking across a concrete parking lot. The only odor a dog can detect is the human odor, there is no ground disturbance.

From my reading and experience what I have found is that when a person walks across a field, the odor a dog can detect is 95% ground disturbance, 5% human odor. Human odor is much more difficult for a dog to consistently track. This can easily be shown with K9 tracking as many dogs that are outstanding trackers on vegetation are completely lost on concrete and cannot track.

How does this relate to hunting? Glad you asked. :-)

If you put on an astronauts suit with self contained breathing apparatus and walked to your blind, my dog could easily track you for several hours due to ground disturbance odor. When you walk to your blind there will ALWAYS be odor that can disturb the wildlife. Whether or not it does will greatly depend on their experience with odor. Does wearing rubber boots help reduce human odor? I think so, but it does not effect ground disturbance odor.

I think the key is knowing a little about odor and how it is spread. You can reduce your odor with clothing, scent free soap, etc, but short of a rubber suit with self contained breathing apparatus, you cannot eliminate it. Reduce what you can, and always hunt the wind.
Finally someone admitting that a human cannot be scent free....that is a sales pitch.

Good info. You didn't however say anything about breath odor, odor emanating from arm pits, crotches, etc. Not to mention every orifice that a human has including your ear canal, yes you ear canal, ear wax STINKS! It is an impossibility to completely eliminate odor. Control it? Yes, that is a possibility.

Enjoyed the read by the way
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:08 PM   #42
Skinny
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Finally someone admitting that a human cannot be scent free....that is a sales pitch.



Good info. You didn't however say anything about breath odor, odor emanating from arm pits, crotches, etc. Not to mention every orifice that a human has including your ear canal, yes you ear canal, ear wax STINKS! It is an impossibility to completely eliminate odor. Control it? Yes, that is a possibility.



Enjoyed the read by the way


For sure! And all of your crap in the blind with you that holds different human odors. Backpack. Bow. That stinky release strap. Your phone!!!! It all reeks of human scent.




Skinny
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:12 PM   #43
Low Fence
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I've been happy with dead down wind. It doesn't work 100% but I know it works. I keep a bottle in my work truck to spray down after decomp scenes.

If I didn't have 2 gallons of try this theif stuff

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From all my experiences ddw is hands down the worst I've used. It has a smell I can detect.
99/100 animals I've watched cross my path, with dozens of products alerted "something ". Some still crossed some didn't. Stand entryiswhere most fail and never even know it
Cool read
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:28 PM   #44
yazoomon
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Interesting read guys, BUT I would not bet against the dog.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:56 PM   #45
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Thanks for the very informative post flyby!! I have a couple of questions:

1) do you suppose blood tracking dogs pick up not only on the blood odor but also the particular scent that bleeding deer is laying down?? I ask because abviously some deer stop bleeding yet the blood tracking dogs continue on the trail... At some point you would think other deer have crossed the injured deer's trail yet the dog remains on the wounded deer's trail..

2) in your opinion, how much does a handler influence an Leo K-9 tracking dog?? I work with BP and the majority of our work is tracking groups. We are in serious need of tracking k-9 teams. Most of our k-9s just don't seem to stay on trails or show interest for that matter...
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:07 PM   #46
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Thanks for the very informative post flyby!! I have a couple of questions:

1) do you suppose blood tracking dogs pick up not only on the blood odor but also the particular scent that bleeding deer is laying down?? I ask because abviously some deer stop bleeding yet the blood tracking dogs continue on the trail... At some point you would think other deer have crossed the injured deer's trail yet the dog remains on the wounded deer's trail..

2) in your opinion, how much does a handler influence an Leo K-9 tracking dog?? I work with BP and the majority of our work is tracking groups. We are in serious need of tracking k-9 teams. Most of our k-9s just don't seem to stay on trails or show interest for that matter...
1. Yes, blood, ground disturbance, and deer odor. An injured deer will put out different odors than a healthy one, just like a person that is putting out "fear scent" or having an adrenaline dump.

2. Handler is the most important part of a K9 tracking team. Tracking training is an art. Training takes alot of time, and usually involves having additional help. Many handlers don't enjoy tracking due to the time involved and not truly understanding tracking. I love tracking, but it requires dedication and time. You have to be able to read the dog, know when he is on or off, and be able to get the dog back on track when he loses it. It really is a team effort and requires alot of time and dedication by the handler and dog. I love watching a good dog track more than about anything.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:06 AM   #47
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I started using skunk scent over 50 years ago. Bob Ramsey, the man who popularized rattling told me about it. I eventually went to the 2 part stuff and it works as well. I could go on and on with stories about how I've witnessed it work. Several on here that have hunted with me started using it after seeing how well it works. I think that most times it will completely cover human scent. Many times I will see deer crossing down wind and stop, do a little more smelling as it looks like they caught some thing. Eventually, they will go on across your scent stream, no problems.

Years ago I had my welding shop in Leander and had lots of law enforcement guys that would stop by to hang. The shop had a second floor over the office and 8' out from the back wall. There was crap stacked every where up there. The dog guys liked to hide drugs up there and work their dogs to find it. It was cool to watch. We put a multi drug baggy in a card board box and closed up the flaps with skunk scent in the box with it. None of the dogs ever hit on it. You could see some, just like the deer, stop at the box for a second or two and then go on. They caught some thing but not enough to make a real hit on it.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:15 AM   #48
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Talking about the scent stream, in the early years of my bow hunting, I used a few strands of marabou feathers to test my scent stream. I would turn them loose to drift with the breeze. Those feathers taught me a lot about scent streams and breezes. It showed me that very little breeze goes through a cedar tree. That feather would not hang up in a cedar tree, it would either climb over it or go around it, climbing as it went. I always try to have a cedar tree just down wind of where I hunt just because of it.

Draws or creeks can have weird effects on wind currents. I've seen the feather take off down wind and 10 minutes later see it go the other way on the other side of the creek. I use milk weed strands now and always keep them in my bag.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:29 AM   #49
MD2TX
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Going to buy vanilla extract right now ....
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:39 AM   #50
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THANKS flyby for all the useful info and your service to the community!
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