I am looking for scent-free bug spray options but they are few and far between. I am not sure what to use. Can deer smell bug spray or is this a non-issue?
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Short answer. Yes.
Deer have an exceptional sense of smell, which they rely on for detecting danger, finding food, and communicating with other deer. They can detect scents from miles away and are known to be sensitive to a wide range of odors, including those from humans.
Bug spray, especially those containing DEET or other strong-smelling chemicals, may be detectable by deer. The scent of these bug sprays can alert deer to your presence and potentially make them more cautious or cause them to avoid the area altogether.
To minimize the risk of being detected by deer, bow hunters can choose to use odorless or low-odor insect repellents. Permethrin, as mentioned earlier, is an example of a scent-free insecticide that can be applied to clothing and gear rather than the skin. It dries virtually odorless, making it less likely to be detected by deer.
Another option is to use natural, plant-based insect repellents, which may have a more subtle scent that is less likely to alarm deer. Just be sure to test the effectiveness of these natural repellents before relying on them during your hunting trips, as their effectiveness can vary.
Lastly, always practice good scent control by showering with scent-free soap, using scent-free laundry detergent, and storing your hunting clothes in a sealed container away from human odors. This will further reduce the chances of deer detecting your presence while you're hunting.
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