Human odor

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,604
Glasgow,Ky
Random early morning thought after setting up the ozonics. What do humans smell like? We know the smell of cattle, pigs, dogs, etc. All those animals smell exactly the way we’d expect them to smell. Our nose fails in comparison to deer. Obviously we can detect odors from other people, be it good or bad…. Yet deer always associate human odor with danger. So we must all smell the same to some degree. Wonder what key odor triggers their senses?
 

woodsman92

10 pointer
Feb 16, 2019
1,887
Russell Co
I think the factors are endless. Poor hygiene, then some people just sweat a lot, or have bad breath. Do you have pets in your home that are rubbing scent off on you? Do people in the house smoke, people in your vehicle smoke or use air fresheners….etc I think each human prolly has a individual smell all of those being unnatural in the deer woods
 

bdbrown66

8 pointer
Oct 18, 2013
804
Some of y'all smell pretty rank, IMO. 😁

To my nose, humans have a pretty wide variation in type and amount of odor. On top of that, we wear clothing, which can have its own collection of scent.

As far as deer hunting is concerned, I think it can vary somewhat. A deer that lives on a farm or other property where people frequent are used to encountering human scent and will react differently than a deer who lives in a remote area and never is around it.
 

hunter40502

10 pointer
Mar 5, 2014
1,051
Washington County
Random early morning thought after setting up the ozonics. What do humans smell like? We know the smell of cattle, pigs, dogs, etc. All those animals smell exactly the way we’d expect them to smell. Our nose fails in comparison to deer. Obviously we can detect odors from other people, be it good or bad…. Yet deer always associate human odor with danger. So we must all smell the same to some degree. Wonder what key odor triggers their senses?
That's an astute point. I guess humans have a human smell too, just like a dog does. But since we grow up smelling ourselves, I suspect we grow immune to smelling the human smell. You know how it is when you leave your house a couple of weeks and then return, you can smell the unique smell of your home, but don't smell it while you live there. I suppose that a newborn can smell humanness and, if they had the conscious capacity to describe it, they could indeed. But they live with their smell for several years before they have the capacity to describe the human scent. So that window of time is gone for all of us to notice human smell.

Of course other than that, as the previous post said, we could smell like anything extraneous that is attached to us from our environment. But that is not what your question is. Your question is when everything non-human is stripped away from us (including soap residue), what do we smell like to deer? I don't think we will ever know due to my reasoning above. Good question though. One more thought. Animals don't take showers and create a reset of their bacterial growth, but we do. If we were like animals and never took showers, I guess we would smell like someone with bad hygein.
 

Drahts

12 pointer
Apr 7, 2015
6,206
KY
I'm gonna start to bathe in Diesel fuel cause every time I'm on the tractor, I see deer or have deer come in to where I am working. Been that way since I started running tractor in the early 70's. Other day I was setting e fence on a plot and the tractor was idling and 2 does and a small 8 came out to feed at the feeder 50 yds from me. But if I'm sitting on stand there, they will walk out and be all twitchy and jumpy and keep looking at me! Even tho I don't move an inch and have good cover around me and good wind.
 

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,604
Glasgow,Ky
That's an astute point. I guess humans have a human smell too, just like a dog does. But since we grow up smelling ourselves, I suspect we grow immune to smelling the human smell. You know how it is when you leave your house a couple of weeks and then return, you can smell the unique smell of your home, but don't smell it while you live there. I suppose that a newborn can smell humanness and, if they had the conscious capacity to describe it, they could indeed. But they live with their smell for several years before they have the capacity to describe the human scent. So that window of time is gone for all of us to notice human smell.

Of course other than that, as the previous post said, we could smell like anything extraneous that is attached to us from our environment. But that is not what your question is. Your question is when everything non-human is stripped away from us (including soap residue), what do we smell like to deer? I don't think we will ever know due to my reasoning above. Good question though. One more thought. Animals don't take showers and create a reset of their bacterial growth, but we do. If we were like animals and never took showers, I guess we would smell like someone with bad hygein.
Very thoughtful response. I’d say you’re as spot on as can be. As others mentioned as well, all kinds of variables. I don’t necessarily feel a different or unusual smell automatically triggers fears. Seen plenty of deer come in downwind to vanilla, fresh sweet feed with molasses. That’s not stuff they encounter everyday. I figure that clean or dirty, male or female, there has to be something distinctive about us they smell just as there is with dogs. Some dogs just smell more doggy.. Lol.
 

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,604
Glasgow,Ky
Wonder what key odor triggers their senses?
Smells they dont smell everyday.
I’d think unusual smells cause more curiosity than anything. They just approach cautiously until they’ve satisfied their nose and fear one way or another.
 

beauhunter41031

12 pointer
Jan 1, 2018
2,856
Cynthiana, Ky
Now if you’re planning on hunting you take all the precautions to use non-scented products blah blah blah everybody I know wants to pressure wash themselves down with the latest sent away bottle you probably smell like that. If I’m not hunting and happen to roll through the woods I probably smell like old spice deodorant, whatever fabric softener the woman is using,The diesel fuel that got all over my hands and boots because of the leaky fuel hose, cigarettes and depending on my mood Probably have Millerite on my breath

As far as what triggers them I really have no idea and I’m probably off on this thought But I will just imagine that that deer has been walking through the woods the last couple hours just smelling his normal area smells and boom something totally different almost like when us humans pass a roadkill we hadn’t been paying attention to what everything smell like but something Like death to our nose just stands out and makes us aware
 

beauhunter41031

12 pointer
Jan 1, 2018
2,856
Cynthiana, Ky
Now if you’re planning on hunting you take all the precautions to use non-scented products blah blah blah everybody I know wants to pressure wash themselves down with the latest sent away bottle

As far as what triggers them I really have no idea and I’m probably off on this thought But I will just imagine that that deer has been walking through the woods the last couple hours just smelling his normal Oldewood smells and boom something totally different almost like when I see humans pass a roadkill we hadn’t been paying attention to what everything smell like but something Like death to our nose just stands out and makes us aware
 

theprofessor

8 pointer
Oct 14, 2013
661
Shenandoah Valley
I work EMS. We go into people's houses. They smell wildly different. People and their clothes sit in those houses year-round, and pick up the smell.

I really think that some people just don't smell as 'bad' to deer, and then some of us do. And who the hell knows what it is--some certain percentage of sulfur? A particular bacteria on skin or in the gut? And for sure, it triggers some kind of reaction in the deer, and not a 'thought.'

Also, we all wash our clothes and spray our boots etc, but we pump out about a liter of moist, bacteria-laden air like 10-20 times a minute from our mouths and noses...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If everything everyone said about deer and scents were true, no one would ever kill one.
 

PUBLIC RAT

10 pointer
Feb 18, 2014
1,627
Before covid hit my wife had a sense of smell just below a whitetail senses. We could be in a store and pick out smells and walk right to it. Walking by people or standing in a group of people she could pick out certain people smells. Covid ruined all that.
I will say this, I never wear my woods boots in truck. They stay in a plastic container until I get there. Clean beach towel in my truck seat. Get gas day before hunt. Little stuff that can help reduce my scent.
 

KY_Swamp_Beagler

6 pointer
Feb 9, 2022
106
swamps of western KY
From my understanding, the odor, smell, scent or whatever you want to call it is determined by chemical makeup. Humans all have the same basic chemical makeup with variations. I’d say there’s an underlying odor signature specific to the organism or object for everything. So, I think they just associate humans with predators. The same way a hound will run a bobcat or mountain lion.
 


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