How to habituate animals to a man made odor when hunting
Believe it or not, many times the reason behind a hunting fail is not the technique, equipment or hunter's behavior but odor. No matter how energy we invest on odor covering, animals always have an edge over humans, so we will be defeated almost always, no matter what we do to cover our own scent.
The problem is that animals on the woods won't only identify out odor but will associate it to human presence, especially on high hunting pressure areas; then it's not only the scent but the association to people, meaning that some scents (including odor killing products) are there only when huntings are walking around.
Once such association is established, regardless how tiny an odor might be, animals on the surroundings will leave the area, after all any creature wish to be killed by a predator, especially if there's a small evidence of its presence.
On the other hand, most of animals, particularly game animals such as deer tend to be very distrustful, so anything different on their environment, no matter how subtle it is, will turn on alarms making them to leave.
And when we say anything different, it includes odors and scent. Almost all animals are fully aware of how their surroundings smell and which are the regular odors in the area; moreover, they are able to identify seasonal changes as well creatures outside their territory just moving through it; including hunters.
The above implies that a hunter can be detected by game animals even before making a single step on the woods, just because of vehicle odor, making a very hard work to find uncovered games.
To overcome such disadvantage hunters need to use some tricks in order to defeat their games and win an edge.
Doing so it's simple but requires patience, next a few tips which help to habituate animals on your hunting ground to your odor.
1. Try to avoid high pressure areas
Higher the pressure, easier identification from potential games; so try to avoid crowded hunting grounds where even the most insignificant odor is associated to human presence.
2. Avoid penetrating scents
Especially those which are not found on nature. Tobacco, garlic, onions, parfums, solvents, chemical products and every scented man made good will alert animals on the wood about your presence miles away.
3. Scout a lot
It seems meaningless but scouting you are leaving your scents on the surroundings. First day it will be a fully new scent and every living creature susceptible of being hunt will hide from you.
On day two your scent will be also new, but not so. On day three perhaps the less disruptful creatures will ignore your presence, and then day after day they will habituate to your odor until it becomes part of their daily perceptions.
This way, with time you will blend your odor with those on the area. However it's mandatory to remember that this work only on low pressure hunting grounds.
An additional tip on this regard is off-season scouting. This way animals will be accustomed to your scent all year long and won't associate a particular odor to the risk of being hunting.
Perhaps the above won't work for sport hunters, but it will do for those who live from what nature may offer.
4. Leave your gear on the area
We don't realize about it, but everything we use, from garment to hunting apparel have an scent. For us it's not detectable but for animals is like a big banner yelling "Hey! There's a hunter around here!"
That's a big disadvantage because every hunter carries on a lot of equipment and gear, then there are million odors alerting animals about your presence.
In order to minimize the impact of such odors there are two tactics which have proven to be effective.
The first one is to avoid brand new materials. Everything coming out from the store will have an odor label saying: man made material; and that's enough for any game to leave away.
Thus, before using any new garment or apparel, be sure to age it, at least "scently speaking", so leave it outside on your backyard, cover it with local dirt and vegetation, avoid washing it thoroughly, summarizing try to kill man made odor at any cost.
Another good tactic is to leave part of your gear as well samples of what you usually get with you on the surroundings (don't forget to comply with local regulations regarding contamination and remember to take everything with you once the hunt ends). Behave this way while scouting, a week or more before hunting begins.
By doing so, your equipment odor will become part of the environment and animals won't be suspicious once you get in the are for hunting because all those odors are not new but familiar, so they won't leave away when you step on the field.
Perhaps it's a high workload but it pays; at the end the only way to overcome a less powerful smell sense is by tricking animals, that means brains over smell sense, but don't underestimate game's intelligence neither because you might end defeated.