How many times have you spent a while before a date or night out making sure you smell perfect? With deer your goal might be a little different. You’re not trying to get a deer to notice you–in fact, just the opposite. Nevertheless, the way you smell is an even more important when you’re hunting.
A deer can smell some sixty times better than your date or the other people at the bar, so if you’ll put that much effort into choosing deodorant and cologne for people, don’t you think you should dedicate even more care to smelling the best for deer hunting?
If you’re going to maximize your chances for hunting success, cover scents are an essential part of your strategy. You camouflage your body with the right clothes. Camouflage your scent with the right cover up. For us there are five professional scents that do that job right. Familiarize yourself with the basics of scent control and then browse our top choices to see which stands out to you.
Our Top Cover Scent Picks
- Hunter’s Specialities Wafers– “The wafer design puts this cover scent above the rest”
- EverCalm Deer Herd Scent Stick– “A top pick because of its easy application”
- Nose Jammer– “The penetrative aerosol spray makes this scent a winner”
- Buck Bomb– “A great choice for its large application area”
- Wyndscent Intruder Buck Cover Scent– “The strength and freshness of this scent is hard to beat”
Table of Contents
Is cover scent necessary?
The deer sense of smell is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of hunting. This is a shame, too, because smell is one of a deer’s main ways of protecting itself.
Theoretically if you could completely eliminate every molecule of human odor from your body and from your gear, you wouldn’t need a cover scent. Is that really possible, though? Immediately after showering, you’ll start sweating and emitting those chemicals again. Your gear will pick up hints of dust from your truck. Then there are the things that you simply can’t eliminate: metal broadheads, rubber grips on equipment, dusty pages of the book you brought to read.
Plus, even if it were possible to eliminate all your scent, you would have no way of knowing because your sense of smell is so inferior to the deer’s. So, yeah, cover scent is probably a good idea. If you take a look at our top picks, you’ll see that even a high-quality cover scent isn’t very expensive. They make great additions to your hunting arsenal.
Ways to hide your scent
Cover scents come in a variety of different forms. The most common is an aerosol spray. A spray let’s you apply the scent wherever you want without hassle and the aerated droplets catch the wind easily to hit the deer’s noses before anything else. Some have another option for misting the spray over a large area.
Wax sticks are a modification on the spray design. You apply the wax like a deodorant stick on plants, clothing or gear. The benefit of the wax is that clings firmly to whatever you apply it to and releases into the air over a long period of time.
Wafers are one of the more unique options for cover scents. They’re small, compact devices that don’t risk leaks, and you can hang them up in different places all over based on your strategy. Even better, you can reuse them a lot.
Before worrying about cover scent, you have to do your best to eliminate whatever odor you’re giving off. This means showering before you go hunt, of course, but not with rose petal coconut watermelon shampoo. That’ll startle deer even more than your BO. Instead, find an odorless soap specifically designed for hunting.
After the shower you have to put on deodorant to minimize the smell of sweat you’ll be giving off after hiking through the woods in full gear. But again, this can’t be mountain breeze mint whatever. There are great scent-neutral deodorants made for hunters that won’t give you away.
Finally, take care of your clothing and your gear. You should wash your clothing with unscented detergent and dryer sheets. Then use a scent eliminator spray to spray it all down along with the rest of the gear you can’t put in the washing machine.
How do you use cover scent?
You should use cover scent to mask your location to deer. Because of their powerful sense of smell, deer can pinpoint where you are based on it. They can even smell you before you see them.
Spread cover scent more or less in a circle around you. Especially make sure that wind will be carrying it if you’re hunting upwind. It’s also a good idea to spread some along your walk-in trail so you don’t leave noticeable scent behind.
You can also apply cover scent to your gear and your stand, but only do this if you’re using a nature scent like dirt or pine. Don’t apply deer attractant or urine to your clothing or gear because it will cause them to focus on you and potentially notice you with their other senses. Think of cover scent as making a wall of scent between you and the deer.
Are cover scents better than scent eliminators?
Neither cover scents nor scent eliminators are better than the other. Both are essential strategies for your hunt. If you don’t eliminate your scent, a cover scent won’t work. If your body odor is just as strong as the scent you’ve applied around your stand, the deer will still notice your body odor.
Similarly, like we said before, if you don’t use a cover scent, you can’t really be sure you’ve eliminated all your scent. It’s still likely you’ll give off a smell that could give you away.
Making your own cover scents
If you forget to pick up your cover scent, you can always make your own. Find a scent you’d like to use. This should be something really common in the area you hunt so that it won’t be a strange smell to the deer. It should also be a strong smell. If you can smell it, it’s safe to assume a deer can too. This means fresh pine needles, acorns or leaves.
Go to your hunting spot and gather a bunch of whatever scent you’ve decided on. Take it home. Fill an old pot with water and then put in as many of the acorns, pine needles, whatever as you can. Bring the water to a boil and then turn it to simmer for four or five minutes.
When it’s finished, pour the water through a strainer and into a spray bottle. That water now contains the concentrated scent. Spray it around your stand and on your clothes just like you would a cover scent.
Alternatively, you can also use smoke to cover up scent on your clothes and gear. Hang your clothes up near a small fire you’ve prepared (not too close!) and let the smoke saturate all your gear. You may have heard how effective charcoal filters are. Smoke functions in a similar way. Those long-chain carbon molecules absorb odor and overpower a deer nose. Anyone who’s spent an evening around a campfire can tell you that afterward, it’s hard to smell much else.
Our Top Picks In Detail
Hunter’s Specialities Wafers
Your first reaction to the Hunter’s Specialities Wafers will almost certainly be shock. It seems impossible that so much scent can be packed into such a tiny container. You have to wonder how they do it. When you open one up and take a whiff, you’ll feel confident your smell won’t out you to any deer.
A big plus for this scent is the wafer design. It’s small and compact yet features a long-lasting odor. It’s versatile, too. You can hang it from branches around your stand or pack it with your gear ahead of time to saturate it with the scent. Better yet, you can do both. The scent is persistent and catches the wind that moves through the wafer.
Best of all, these wafers are reusable. Return the wafer to its container, and it will refresh itself with the scent. Considering they’re already pretty inexpensive, this makes them an extra thrifty pick.
The wafers come in four different scents including dirt and three different kinds of trees, so you can match them to your area. All of them are powerful smells that can be a great choice for protecting yourself from the deer’s excellent sense of smell.
- Wafer design
- Four different scents
- Low price range
Conquest EverCalm Deer Herd Scent Stick
Conquest makes a wide range of scent sticks, but their EverCalm cover scent is particularly unique. It’s one of the only scents that takes advantage of the odors and secretions deer make in their bedding areas. Like the name suggests, this scent calms deer down and makes them feel safe so they’re less likely to spook. Because deer are highly social and seek out a herd, it even goes a little beyond a cover scent and attracts deer.
For the most part, we really like the wax formula of the EverCalm stick. Wax makes the scent easily applicable. You can put it on trees and shrubs or on your stand. You can even put it on the bottom of your boots so you don’t leave a trail of human scent walking to your stand.
Plus, the wax sticks around. It will at least last a few days, and you may only have to apply it once a season, which also means you get a lot for your money. The only downside of the wax is that it can melt at high temperatures, so don’t leave it in your truck too long.
Although EverCalm uses natural deer odors, you can use it all year long. Because you can apply it so easily in numerous places, it’s great for hunters who like to hunt different spots throughout the season.
- Wax formula
- Also attracts
- Easy application
- Scent stays for long periods
- Wax can melt
Nose Jammer sounds like a really aggressive strategy, but the idea behind it is really pretty simple. It uses chemical compounds found in common vegetation throughout woody areas to mask whatever human scent you might be giving off. Instead of smelling you, the deer just smell forest odors they’re already used to. This puts them at ease.
This scent comes in an aerosol spray can that makes it easy to apply. You can spray it on your stand or on your clothes. You could even put your gear in a box sprayed down with it. More importantly, though, you can spray it in a cloud that catches the wind. Because it’s aerosol, the air carries the droplets really well. It penetrates the deer’s sense of smell, jamming it.
If you do spray Nose Jammer on your clothes or stand, be aware that it can leave a sticky residue. This is annoying, but worse, it can be noisy if something gets stuck and ripped off. Follow the instructions and spray the right amount.
Think of this scent almost like a forcefield. If you’re concerned you might not have washed yourself or your gear well enough, it’s a great option to cover up whatever odor you might have left behind. You can even keep one handy in your stand to spray if you think a deer might be onto you.
- Natural forest compounds
- Easy spray application
- Catches the wind
- Penetrative scent
- Works fast
- Sticky residue
The Buck Bomb actually comes in a variety of different scents, but the Ambush bomb specifically is designed to work all season long as a cover scent. It’s a powerful American-made scent that even has some attractant properties. It’s made from 100% deer urine, so you know there aren’t any weird chemicals to give you away.
This scent has an impressively versatile design. It can be used like a normal aerosol spray can to easily apply it wherever you want, on your clothes or stand or over surrounding plants.
Alternatively, you can use the Buck Bomb like its name suggests. Prime the bottle to remain open and mist an entire area with an aerosol spray. This is an incredibly easy way to get a lot of potent smell over a large area all at once. Unfortunately, since the spray can has different functions, it has a higher risk of malfunctioning.
If you just use it as a spray, this scent can last you a long time so you get quite a bit for your money. If you use it as a mist bomb, though, it’s designed as a one off. For a single use, it might seem on the expensive side to some hunters. Of course, for your money you get cover up scent that spreads over a large area so you don’t startle any deer.
- 100% deer urine
- Versatile design
- Easy to apply
- Also attracts
- Mists large area
- Risk of malfunction
Wyndscent Intruder Buck Cover Scent
Of all the cover scents on our list, the Wyndscent Intruder Buck Cover Scent manages to be the most attractive to deer as well. Specifically, it’s designed to distract pre-rut bucks and potentially does with the scent of a new buck in the area. This scent is so strong that they won’t notice any human scent you might be leaving behind.
It has versatile applications, too. You can use it around mock scrapes or make a drag with it. It has a long-lasting 40 hours of scent dispersal.
Unfortunately, this scent is really only designed as a cover scent for the pre-rut and early season. Later in the season it could possibly even deter other bucks. It’s also in a higher price range than a lot of scents due to its powerful and unique design.
More than anything else, Intruder Buck stands out for its strength and freshness. It really packs a punch. It’s a proprietary scent of J&S Scents that they’re really proud of.
- Attracts deer
- 40 hours of scent dispersal
- Primarily for early season
- High price range