How Good is a Deer’s Nose and Sense of Smell?

How good is a deer’s sense of smell? If they rely on this sense above all else to survive, it must be outstanding. Deer hunting often comes down to one thing, beating this keen sense with scent control tactics…but how good is this sense and can it be beat?

Unlike us, deer rely on their nose for survival as well as communication. Deer have 7 different glandular areas on their body. The interdigital, metatarsal, tarsal, forehead, preorbital, nasal, and preputial glands are all understood to help deer in communication. If you have spent a significant amount of hours deer hunting you have seen some of these glands in use. With so many glands, every bit of deer-to-deer language transferred through rubs, scrapes, and urine needs to be noticed and correctly identified. This in part is why a deer’s sense of smell is so good.

Deer have 297 million olfactory scent receptors in their nose…in comparison we have 5 million and dogs have 220 million! In addition deer have the complementary tools that go with this many scent receptors. A deer’s brain devotes a significantly larger area for taking in and determining what a scent is than a human’s brain. And if that wasn’t enough…they have a second nose!

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) serves as a secondary sense of smell. This organ is used to exclusively analyze urine. This is the noticeable flehmen or lip-curl a buck shows when a doe urinates nearby. As the buck takes in urine scent, it hits the diamond shaped structure on the roof of the deer’s mouth. It is suggested that after analysis, and depending on the results, the taking in of urine scent by the VNO will cause a bucks hormones to adjust…more likely into a rutting state.

With these weapons stacked against a hunter, what can he do? Besides the guaranteed but variable deer hunting tactic of placing oneself downwind of the deer, we are left to scent control. Even with scentless showering, deodorant, toothpaste, clothing detergent, and field spray we will never be able to completely cover up every human or human associated odor from ourselves, clothing, or gear.

Instead we can eliminate or completely change the scent molecule. Ozonics transforms oxygen molecules into ozone molecules and, with a silent fan, projects them downwind out over your scent zone, acting as an effective scent eliminating product. This ozone reacts with many volatile organic compounds commonly produced in nature, resulting in either total destruction or chemical alteration such that these compounds lose their characteristic chemical properties. Destroying or altering the chemical compounds can fool the deer’s sense of smell.

While a deer’s nose maybe outstanding, it can be beat by the scent eliminating technology of Ozonics.