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Thread: Wood smoke scent spook game?

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    Member brule's Avatar
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    Default Wood smoke scent spook game?

    Working out equipment details for our moose drop hunt, and was wondering what everyones thoughts were on whether or not using a tent stove would spook the game in the areas around the drop camp?

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    Its kinda a 50/50 IMO , i tend to keep a clean and quiet camp, i try not to put out that much sent when im out on a drop camp hunt, i use a small propane cooker for food and just rouph it when it gets cold. doing so ive had moose and bou come right into camp, even though im sure there was enouph human sent around that they knew i was around. i tend to believe by not spreading scent down the whole valley it will improve youre odds, but its not realy all that true. ive had it go both ways, after we make our kills we always gorge on fresh meat, and ive had moose and bou walk within a 100 feet of camp with a smokey fire? so i dont think it makes em stay away, it just illiminates youre chance of suprise on youre quary. this last season i was out off the rd to cirle on the other side of the pass, we were in a well use camp spot with some other moose hunters, everyone set off by day break and the old man in one of the camps stayed to tend the fire and drink coffee, mind you there were 4-5 camps all of us with a fire, and a lot of human scent, the only one to see a moose all day was the old guy back at camp whome shot a 52 inch bull less than 50 feet from camp with a 44 mag. also in ANWR this season we shot 2 bou and kept a fire for 2 days on and off, we had bou herds moving past camp all day, and could have gone around us but stayed on the same coarse, even had 2 small bulls moose go by. but over in moose camp which we didnt build a fire in, only seen 2 bulls which came in but not very close, and after they winded us and knew we were there they moved out way off from camp, our transporter said they sat up river from us for 3 days just out of reach, to bad because the bull i was on was a mature 60+ just what i was looking for. im gana stick with not building a fire or useing a stove until the kill, it just feels right, but them if it gets real cold, when i aint gana freeze to death either.

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    Member brule's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply mr.montana, i'm a whitetail hunter where scent control is everything. My only concern was of course night time temps, and drying out gear when the inevitable rains show up. Planning on doing all our cooking on a whisperlite.

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    If i were elk or whitetail hunting back home i wouldnt even consider hunting the same drainage i was camping in with a fire, yet agian ive seen elk killed a hop and a skip from camp as they passed by. from what ive noticed a mature bull moose is like a mature bull elk, they both know when danger is present when they smell it, theyll make a mistake only seldom and venture to close, but general rule of thumb they smell it and they stay just far enouph off they can see or smell you comeing and get to saftey.moose like elk too if they are rutty they get a little less spooky and make more mistakes, a rut crazy bull will come in to a guy waveing his arms around, holding up trash bags or a realy bad cow call, lol. season is normaly closed by then but if you get lucky you may find a prerutting bull. smaller bulls are less effected by sent imo and tend to stick around to see what the ordeal is, i know a lot of guys that get dropped and hunt right from camp, i get to strir crazy and cant do that, but then they have also been pretty sucsessful with it, even with keeping a fire. stay warm and dry for sure, but ide use discretion the first few days to get a feel for the area, you may be in a hot spot, and you wouldnt want to push em out.

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    Another question about fire and smoke. Think about it for a minute, fire is a natural phenomenon as is the smoke created by it. Fires are common in nature, large and small. Burned areas emit the odor of smoke for years after burning. Have a fire, stand in the smoke or not, I normally do to mask my odor for the sake of my own sensitivties if nothing else. They are also a great but deterent.

    I do not believe for a second that a camp fire ever prevented me or a partner from being successful on a moose, caribou, or what have you hunt. Have a fire, be comfortable, and enjoy your hunt. Keep a clean camp, and keep the noise to a minimum.

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    I have had fires more times than not and have had plenty of animals come rigth through camp. Like .338WM pointed out they are part of nature so the animals have smelled it before.

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    I came to Alaska from a bow hunting background, scent control was everything. After many hunts using both cold camps and a fire, it has been my experience that a camp fire has little effect on moose and caribou.

    After 2 or 3 days a couple hunters smell way worse than any camp fire. I also take smoke bathes in the field to help kill bacteria and reduce body odor.

    Just this season alone I saw 3 bull moose from camp while sitting by a fire that i could have shot.

    Have a fire and enjoy the hunt, after a few days of fighting the nats and black flies I think you will be begging for some smoke.

    Steve
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    I also have had animals walk by camp with fire roaring, I had a black bear come in and actually eat the logs, poured my cup of hot coco on fire to go on evening hunt and when i came back the bear actually dug out the logs and chewed on them.
    I agree with all that say have a fire and enjoy yourself.....

    good luck

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    Open flames will spook animals, Ive seen that plenty, but smoke has made no difference, animals will often roll in the ashes, or eat them as noted ~~LOL!!~~.

    You can mask your scent with wood smoke.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    I know of several 50 plus inch bull moose shot within several hundred yards from camps with fires going all day. All animals in Alaska are used to smelling smoke. Do I recommend a bonfire? No, but any moderately sized fire wont bother the moose much. Not sure about caribou, but seem what from other people are saying it wont bother them much either.

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    I think by using the stove to burn the wood in, you'll be just fine.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Member brule's Avatar
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    Thanks alot for all the input. Definately helps as we make our plans. This forum is a great place to pick up many helpful tips.

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    On a comical note. One time when I was out in Illiamna hunting caribou, me and some other hunters were sitting around a campfire after all our tags were filled. We saw a herd of about 100 head of caribou walking down valley. As soon as one of the animals caught our scent, they all began running in the opposite direction. Then, a swirl of wind and smoke moved in the direction they were running and they turned around and ran back. Then the wind shifted again and the whole herd turned around again. This went on and on several times until I think they finally just decided the heck with it, and then they ran off for good.

    But to get back to your question. IMO, smoke does very little to affect moose and caribou. I kind of agree with Stid, that I kind of like it to mask my own body odor. I have heard others say that campfires have even brought in curious moose etc. Whether it was the crackling of sticks or the odor I will leave you to decide. But anyhow, if you plan on hunting for bears, then I would say definitely YES, campfire will scare off bears. On just about every bear hunt I have ever been on, as soon as I got a fire going, the action stopped almost immediately. One time I was on a spring bear hunt and I observed over 25 black bears in 9 days. On the 10 day, we got a fire going. After that we saw no more bears.

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    Pinnel and Talifson used wood stoves for years in their camps on Kodiak. They seemed to do ok on bears

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    This past September my father and I were on a drop hunt. We used a small stove as you stated you will use, but we also had a fire to keep warm, and cook on once we had meat n the ground. We both harvested a caribou, our first trophies from Alaska. But 2 different days I watched herds of caribou walk feet from our camp as I sat there with a small fire going. Several even walked up to the fire and through camp. In my little experience it didn't seem to hurt at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    Pinnel and Talifson used wood stoves for years in their camps on Kodiak. They seemed to do ok on bears
    Good point. Hadn't thought of that. Last of the Great Brown Bear Men was a good read. Although, I wonder if Kodiak bears are a little bit bolder than your average bear. You know the dinner bell theory and all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    Pinnel and Talifson used wood stoves for years in their camps on Kodiak. They seemed to do ok on bears
    They certainly did "ok" on bears. Though the wood stoves weren't for the most part used when the wind blew from certain directions at different camps.
    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    They certainly did "ok" on bears. Though the wood stoves weren't for the most part used when the wind blew from certain directions at different camps.
    Joe
    Good one Joe. I thought the "ok" was a major understatement. Aren't something like 1/3 of all the boone and crocket brown bears taken by their services?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Good one Joe. I thought the "ok" was a major understatement. Aren't something like 1/3 of all the boone and crocket brown bears taken by their services?
    They had a pretty high percentage of the brown bears listed. At one time B&C listed the name of the guide along with the other information. You didn't have to do much "tabulating" to figure-out which guide had the most listings. However, during that period, and since, there have been a lot of "record" book bears taken and not entered in B&C.
    Joe

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    i got a few words to say on the subject.......A couple years back at baker creek on the elliot highway, we had just pulled up, started a fire to get ready for cooking ( long ass drive plus cold outside of the truck)....first thing us other guys did was dig out the flyrods and gear to go catch some grayling for an appetizer.... my buddy sees an old plastic lawn chair settin by the creek.....well now, hes gotta take a dump, and so he grabs a shotgun and starts blasting a hole in the middle of the seat part.....good idea huh? ok so we got the fire goin strong and smokin...**** is taking his dump in the "lawn toilet" and we have just finished tyin dry flies on our leaders at the truck....there are 2 shotguns laying on the tailgate....2 of us happen to look up the drive towards the road and we see a big black head stickin out the brush about 70 yards up the trail...what the "F" is that?? BEAR!!!! It steps out of the brush and it is the biggest black bear we've ever seen....bout this time **** is runnin to the truck with his pants around his ankles to get a rifle out....2 of us have grabbed the shotguns and are already running towards where the bear has crossed the drive into some swampy pine woods....we didnt see him, but we did jump a big ol cow moose in a puddle less than 30 yards from the truck....that black bear hung around camp the whole time we were there.....how do we know? because while we were out kickin up some birds across the highway, one of the guys climbed a big ol spruce to check on camp, and that bear was in the middle of tearin the cooler apart to get at all the goodies we had brought....so we hightailed it thru the thick brush back to camp......no bear.......

    Bears arent as spooky as some think.....niether are moose or caribou....Ive had all three animals walk right into my camp day or nite, fire or no fire, even right after shooting a gun.....just sayin, you never know what will happen.....



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