As hunters, we tend to place a lot of emphasis on masking our scent when we go hunting. And for good reasons, whitetail deer have 297 million scent receptors on their nose. For comparison, dogs have 220 million, and we humans have only 5 million.
You know how overwhelming nicotine craving can be if you are a smoker. As such, deer can smell you from several hundred away. Given how good a deer’s sense of smell is, is it okay to light a cigarette when hunting?
And you have probably wondered whether smoking while on the hunt will scare away your prey. To answer this question, we need to discuss whether cigarette smoke smell has any effect on deer.
Can Deer Smell Cigarette Smoke?
To get the obvious out of the way first, deer can smell cigarette smoke. I mean, so can humans, and we have already established that a deer’s sense of smell is significantly stronger than ours. If we can smell cigarette smoke, so can deer.
Does Cigarette Smoke Scare Away Deer
Now to the less obvious question, does cigarette smoke scare away deer? Sure deer can sniff out the smell of nicotine from several yards away but will it make them run and hide? Honestly, there is no scientific evidence as to whether cigarette smoke has any effect on deer behavior.
We can rely on the experiences of hunters who smoke while hunting to answer this question. However, I think hunters who smoke tend to exaggerate their experiences, so it may not be wise to rely only on their words.
But we also need to evaluate how deer react to unfamiliar scents and whether there are instances where deer will not mind the smell of cigarette smoke.
Deer’s General Reaction To Scent
Mature deer tend to be cautious of unfamiliar scents. They typically run away when they detect a strange smell in the air. Most deer get to maturity by prioritizing caution over curiosity.
Some hunters have, however, argued that the smell of cigarette smoke is natural due to forest fires. But this theory does not hold much weight when considering that forest fires aren’t common. And the bottom line is the smell of cigarette smoke will be unfamiliar to most deer.
How Do Deer React To Cigarette Smoke:
We cannot get away from the fact that some hunters smoke while hunting and have been successful in their hunts. But why is this? Is it to say that deer do not mind the smell of cigarette smoke?
Well, not necessarily, deer-like. All other animals have different personalities. Some tend to be more curious than others. Also, depending on whether deer has come across something similar to cigarette smell.
Remember, deer only run when they detect danger or an unfamiliar scent. So if the smell of cigarette smoke, for one reason or another, is not alien to a deer, it may not mind it. This may be because the deer have seen humans smoking before, maybe in a backyard.
However, the general consensus is that it varies depending on the deer. And it would not be correct for us to generalize things and say deer do or do not mind the smell of cigarettes.
Should I Smoke When Hunting?
I come from the school of thought of aggressive scent control. In my opinion, it does not make sense to spend hours minimizing odors in my clothes and gear only to light a cigarette when hunting. So in my view, smoking while hunting is not a wise decision.
This kind of negates the whole purpose of scent control tactics we hunters use before a hunt. However, I will admit that not every hunter is as strict with scent control as some of us are. And some of these hunters who are more flexible do succeed. But for the most part, I would not recommend smoking while hunting.
Tips On How Can You Smoke While Deer Hunting
Sometimes when you need to smoke, you really need to smoke. So what do you do when you get a nicotine craving while out hunting. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the chance of spooking your prey with your smoking.
Take Note Of Wind Direction
Sure, deer have a better sense of smell than us and will pick up on cigarette smoke easily. But you should not make it easy for them by setting up a camp where the wind blows from your direction.
Remember, the wind carries with it any scents it picks up, making it easy for your prey to pick up the smell. What you want to do is set up a downwind of where you expect the deer to be located.
Control The Scent
You can use several hacks to minimize the cigarette scent from your hunting stand or blind. One such hack is using a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice and spray it inside the ground blind or where you smoke. Vinegar is an abrasive element that will eliminate strong odors such as cigarette smoke scent.
Instead of vinegar, you can also use baking soda and activated charcoal. Sprinkle either of the two around in your blind if you tend to smoke a lot. Coffee grounds can also be used for the same purpose.
Opt For Vaping
Vaping is a better option than smoking a conventional cigarette during hunting. Vaping has the added advantage of being available in a variety of flavors. Some of these flavors may help mask the smell of traditional cigarette smoke.
Laws About Smoking Outdoors
In most states, there are laws against smoking cigarettes in public areas. However, these laws do not always apply to hunting environments. There are twelve states that do not have any kind of ban against smoking.
The twelve are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Do Deer Like the Smell of Weed
In the same vein as a cigarette, the question of whether the smell of marijuana affects deer is often debated. But just like cigarette smoke, deer can smell weed, and there isn’t any scientific evidence to show their reaction.
However, just like cigarettes, smoking weed while hunting is not something I would recommend. The smoke is alien to deer, and they are most likely to run off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can deer smell tobacco chew?
Yes, chew or dip is typically made from tobacco leaves, nicotine, sugar, and other ingredients. Some come with flavors such as mint and wintergreen, and others have no flavors. The dip with no flavor may have a minimal scent, but deer can still smell it, in particular tobacco spit.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.