Saturday, June 30, 2012
Whizzing in the Woods
When I first started hunting out of tree stands, I went to great lengths to control my scent and to remain undetected by deer. I wore rubber boots, gloves, and placed my stands high in the tree to avoid detection.
For several years I would pack plastic gallon jugs up into my stands and use them when nature called to avoid spreading the scent of my urine around the tree. At the time, it was common belief among hunters that human urine was offensive to deer. Then one morning I felt the urge to relieve myself of several cups of the nuclear strength coffee I had drank earlier. I failed to notice there was a small hole in the bottom of my plastic jug. Soon I was peeing in the jug and the jug was peeing down my leg, over my boot, and onto the ground. It was a mess and I was disgusted. I threw the jug as far as I could, which only splashed more pee on me.
I was sure my hunt was ruined. I tied my bowl to a rope and lowered it to the ground. The bow no sooner hit the end of the rope when I heard brush crunching over my shoulder. It was three does and a 140 inch buck. I was helpless. My bow was dangling 18 feet below me from a string. All four deer stopped once they smelled urine, but instead of running they all began to sniff it. Then they took turns sniffing the plastic jug The three does bedded down and the buck stretched out and deposited his own urine next to my leaking (pun intended) jug.
I decided there and then that I was going to quit peeing into plastic jugs. When nature called I would just go ahead and whiz right off the end of the stand. That was some 20 years ago and since that time I have never seen a deer spook at the scent of human urine. In fact, they seem to be very comfortable with the smell, no matter what you’ve eaten or drank. On several occasions I’ve had deer bed down right on top of my urine.
Recent research indicates that deer cannot distinguish between human urine and deer urine.
Last year, Mike Canales killed what is possibly a new New York State record while hunting over a scrape line in which he had peed in every few days for weeks.
I’m not saying deer are attracted to human urine. I don’t believe that for a minute. But I will say the scent of human urine does not spook deer.
Mike had two things were going for him:
1) The possibility that dear cannot tell the difference between human urine and deer urine.
2) Mike was spreading small amounts of his own residual scent around his stand on a regular basis.
Therefore, the deer had become accustomed to Mike’s presence and no longer considered small amounts of his oder as a threat. We will talk more about reverse scent control in a future blog.
But for the time being, is it okay to pee around your tree stand? Absolutely. In my experience and the experience of hundreds of other successful hunters, human urine does not detract deer.