For deer hunters in the South east, our season opens in late summer and early autumn. Deer season in my home state of South Carolina begins August 15th in some areas. Other areas open September 1st. This poses unique challenges as we try and outsmart wary old bucks. Most hunters know the importance of scent control. But how does one control their scent when the mercury is topping 90 or even 100 degrees and a humidity level of over 90%?
If the old saying “hunt the wind” ever meant anything it means a lot when the sweat is pouring off of you when you are just sitting still. Walking to your stand in August or September can make your clothes soaked, running all of your efforts to control your scent. Regardless of how careful you are when you are hunting the early season, you will have to deal with heat and humidity.
Certainly all of the precautions are still necessary, washing in scent free detergents, bathing in scent free soaps and some use of cover scents will help, but only to a limited degree. When facing these conditions, it is more imperative than ever to hunt the wind.
This came full circle to me several years ago when trying to get the jump on a big buck I’d seen a few times in summer scouting. Determined to get him opening week, I let the desire get the best of me, and I hunted him on a marginal wind. Believing that if I just climbed a bit higher I could get above his ability to smell me if he came on his normal path. Needless to say it didn’t work. Since then marginal winds are not on the table. If the wind isn’t perfect for that stand don’t hunt it! This is where it pays to make sure your property has several stands for different winds. If you are going to hunt when the temperature is high, make sure your stands are set up for every available wind in your area. And let the wind dictate which stand you hunt. Its easy to want to chase that buck that has haunted your dreams for nine or ten months. However, if the wind isn’t perfect, it’s not worth the risk.
Lastly, while a lot of early season hunters will only hunt the agriculture fields in the evenings. I prefer to only hunt the mornings. The night air brings the temperature down; giving me several hours of semi-comfortable weather that will help me keep my scent under control. Walking to a stand in the predawn hours in temperatures of 70 or so is bearable, and sitting still will give me about three or four hours before it becomes too hot and my hunt is compromised. Locate your stand along the travel corridors between the agriculture fields and the bedding areas, sneak in and sit tight. When everything works, it works well.