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Thread: How much do you use your sense of smell when hunting?

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    Default How much do you use your sense of smell when hunting?

    So I had a weird thing happen to me over the last few months. I seem to have lost my sense of smell. Occasionally I get a weird sniff of a smell that resembles something like burnt popcorn. I've been to the doctor and he ran a bunch tests. Luckily I don't have a brain tumor or anything, but he's not sure what's causing it. He's still running some tests. Anyhow, it's kind of a bummer. I can no longer smell my wife's delicious cooking, her perfume, or the wonderful smells of the outdoors. It's also alarming that I can't smell propane, smoke, or rotten foods. But other than that, it's not a real big deal. There are actually a few advantages. I can't smell gross stuff anymore like a fart, or the smells from a dump or a landfill. I guess if I had to choose one of my senses to lose, I guess I would rather it be smell than my sight, sound, or taste. But anyhow, it got me thinking. How much do you use your sense of smell while out hunting? I know it can sometimes be helpful out hunting to know when your body odor is bad and you need to do something about it. Occasionally, I use to be able to smell when a bear was close by or when a moose had just made a fresh wallow etc. It might also be useful when gutting or butchering an animal to discern between edible and rotten meat. Can you guys think of other ways it might be useful?

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    These days, smelling smoke to be able to figure out which way it's coming from could be quite advantageous!

    Oh and, when I was 21 I dated a gal that didn't have the sense of smell. That made things quite "interesting" to say the least......lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I lost most of my sense of smell, when I worked in a bottling plant. The glass bottles were washed in a caustic solution and the humidity + the caustic soda hung in the air & killed my sense of smell. I have still am able to (occasionally) smell natural odors (fox urine, deer musk for example), but they are pretty sharp, penetrating odors. I do miss the hearing that has been lost as I age much more than my smelling ability.
    You will probably also experience some loss of taste, as your sense of smell plays an important part in that.
    Though "smell" can play a part in hunting, I don't think its an important part. For a hunter, the prey's sense of smell is the reason to stay downwind - not our ability to smell them.

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    Occasionally while hunting deer in early November in the thick timber you can smell when you are getting close or have jumped a nice buck.

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    I used to smell javalina and boars before seeing the, smelled elk in Idaho and smell bears sometimes here. Smell isan important sense and can seriously affect your appetite. I strongly recommendgetting a referral to an ENT (Dr Parrish is fantastic) andfind cause.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEE View Post
    I strongly recommendgetting a referral to an ENT (Dr Parrish is fantastic) andfind cause.
    Yep, I'm on top of it. Trying my best.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Has that affected your sense of taste as well? Just curious since the two are closely connected.

    As for hunting, scents of the tundra in fall are certainly something I enjoy, but I can't think of a time when smell affected my success or lack thereof. Yes, I too have smelled the scent of a bear nearby or other things along those lines, but I've never connected with an animal because a scent alerted me to their location. Interesting question, though...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Has that affected your sense of taste as well? Just curious since the two are closely connected.

    As for hunting, scents of the tundra in fall are certainly something I enjoy, but I can't think of a time when smell affected my success or lack thereof. Yes, I too have smelled the scent of a bear nearby or other things along those lines, but I've never connected with an animal because a scent alerted me to their location. Interesting question, though...
    Nope, luckily I can still taste just fine. I'm sure my sense of taste is diminished slightly because I can't smell my food, but so far it hasn't affected my ability to taste foods that much that I am aware of.

  9. #9

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    By far the most I've used smell in hunting was/is with elk. In particular cow elk hunts. Been in thick timber numerous times and caught that unmistakable smell. In the really thick stuff, while moving super discretely, it is not unusual to smell them, then sight them. My one big knock on Alaska is lack of elk hunting opportunity. I can fly to Wyoming/Idaho/Oregon and have a better chance of success and for less overall money than hunting elk up here.

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    I catch whiffs of animals all of the time. When Iím riding itíll cause me to stop and look or go slower or change my tactics. I use it s bunch.

  11. #11

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    I use my sense of smell often while hunting--moose, black, and brown bears up here all smell pretty distinct.

    As for your sense of smell, I lost my sense of smell almost entirely for a while (~5yrs) until I had my deviated septum realigned and the ENT also removed a bunch of polyps from my sinuses. That brought it back really well, but it has now been another 5 years and in the past year or so I've noticed it fading again. The ENT that did the work told me it would be something that needs redone periodically so I'm guessing that it's about time to go get scraped again. Hopefully you can figure it out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnycake View Post
    I use my sense of smell often while hunting--moose, black, and brown bears up here all smell pretty distinct.

    As for your sense of smell, I lost my sense of smell almost entirely for a while (~5yrs) until I had my deviated septum realigned and the ENT also removed a bunch of polyps from my sinuses. That brought it back really well, but it has now been another 5 years and in the past year or so I've noticed it fading again. The ENT that did the work told me it would be something that needs redone periodically so I'm guessing that it's about time to go get scraped again. Hopefully you can figure it out!
    Interesting. I have had my nose broken several times and I have a deviated septum, but it was something I've had since I was a kid, so I didn't think it was that. But I will ask my ENT about that. Thanks for the advice.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Interesting. I have had my nose broken several times and I have a deviated septum, but it was something I've had since I was a kid, so I didn't think it was that.
    Well as you've probably heard, most EVERYTHING changes as we get old....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  14. #14

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    Good luck. The benign polyps that I had removed are supposedly fairly common and tend to need periodic shaving. Also, fixing a deviated septum is not really a one and done thing either and has to be repeated for most people.

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    I read that testing a persons sense of smell is something they do to predict senility. They use peanut butter and see how close it has to be for you to smell it. I hope your not going senile. Now what were we talking about?
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I read that testing a persons sense of smell is something they do to predict senility. They use peanut butter and see how close it has to be for you to smell it. I hope your not going senile. Now what were we talking about?
    Thanks for the encouragement, I feel so much better now.

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    Member sisusuomi's Avatar
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    My hunting partners use their sense of smell when Iíve eaten chili with extra beans.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by sisusuomi View Post
    My hunting partners use their sense of smell when Iíve eaten chili with extra beans.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Something else that adds to losing the sense of smell is working or spending lots of time around chemicals that produce vapors. For example, some store shelf-stockers in the household cleaning products lose their sense of smell. Not a bad idea to take the work place into consideration when trying to figure the reasons why one loses the sense of smell. This sometimes happens to painters who spend a lot of time around latex and other paints, cleaners, and the rest.

    Search, "Anosmia," at Webmed for some ideas.

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