As hunters, we spend a lot of money, time, and energy trying to mask our scent from deer.
However, also as hunters, we spend a lot of time trying to fight off bugs such as mosquitoes.
Thermacell is a great device for keeping mosquitoes away, but is it also keeping your deer away?
Understanding a Deers’ Sense of Smell
A deer’s sense of smell is probably its most important sense. Deer use their sense of smell to alert them of nearby predators, find food, and find other deer.
A deer has approximately 297 million olfactory receptors. This is more powerful than a dog which has approximately 220 million receptors and humans have only 5 million receptors.
Scientists believe that a deer can smell an average human’s odor from a quarter to half a mile away.
Can Deer Smell Thermacell?
Given that deer have such an acute sense of smell, it should come as no surprise that they can smell your Thermacell.
However, any good hunter knows to work the wind to his favor. Just as you would want to be downwind of the deer to keep your own scent under control.
Being downwind will also keep the Thermacell scent away from the deer.
This means that deer can only smell the Thermacell if it gets close enough or if the wind changes and it catches it on the wind.
It’s worth noting though that the smell from Thermacell is stronger than a well-prepared hunter who has been washing his clothes in scent-free soap.
So it’s safe to assume that a deer will smell the Thermacell before it smells the hunter.
Will Thermacell Spook Deer?
We know that deer can smell Thermacell, but will it spook them is the question we should really be asking.
In most cases, Thermacell will not spook deer and may even work in your favor.
Deer have signals that go off in their brain that have evolved over thousands of years when they smell certain things.
Like the scent of humans, which deer automatically associate with danger.
However, deer don’t associate the scent of Thermacell with danger. In some scenarios, this may be beneficial to the hunter and the Thermacell could act almost as a cover scent.
The scent from Thermacell isn’t as strong as cover scents, so it would still be wise to control your scent as you would without any cover scents.
Thermacell has also come out with a more natural scent realizing that there was a need for this for hunters.
This earth cover scent is designed to mask human odor and act more like a cover scent and appears more natural to deer.
This scent should be used over the original pads which in my opinion are a lot stronger and more likely to spook deer.
How to use Thermacell Around Deer
Regardless of how you are hunting good scent control is paramount to your success.
The first thing you need to do is get to your stand early. Thermacell takes ten to fifteen minutes to warm up and start working, so arriving early allows you to get prepared before the deer start moving.
For both the best protection and to prevent spooking deer, it’s best to keep the Thermacell upwind of you.
This allows for the Thermacell to blow back across you keeping the bugs away and masking your scent.
As always with hunting, you also want to be downwind of the deer. This keeps your scent away from the deer but also keeps the Thermacell scent from carrying on the wind to the deer.
While the deer may not associate the Thermacell with danger, it may still make them more alert, so it’s best to avoid this if possible.
The Thermacell creates a fifteen-foot barrier, so this allows you some room to place it strategically.
There is no doubt that deer can smell Thermacell given their superior sense of smell.
However, if using the earth cover sense deer may just take it as a natural smell in the wild. They also will most likely not associate the smell with danger.
The standard Thermacell should also not cause alarm bells for deer, but it is a more potent scent, and less natural. Deer may also become more familiar with the natural Thermacell in areas frequented by hikers.
This would cause them to become more spooky.
At the end of the day, Thermacell is a great addition to your hunt setup and allows you to stay out when normally you wouldn’t.
If possible choose the portable device with the earth cover scent.