Can Deer Smell Bug Spray?
Even novice hunters and campers may have some questions when it comes to the great outdoors.
But this could very well leave you wondering whether deer – or other animals for that matter – could pick up on the scent of bug spray.
Of course, if the answer is no, then you won’t have any qualms about spraying on the mosquito repellant.
However, if deer can smell bug spray, your outdoor plans may change depending upon whether deer are attracted or deterred by the scent of bug spray.
Can Deer Smell Bug Spray?
Deer can smell bug spray, but it won’t deter them. On the contrary, it could pique their curiosity, tipping off the deer that humans are nearby. Deer can even smell the scents of natural bug sprays, so if you’re hunting or are hoping for a great deer snapshot, try alternative insect repellents.
Why You Should Avoid Bug Spray on a Hunting Trip
Obviously, deer can smell a human’s natural scent, and it will scare them off.
While many hunters and campers know enough to cover up their natural scent, bug spray isn’t a very effective method of doing so.
Sure, bug spray does have a strong smell that can neutralize your natural scent, but the deer will smell the bug spray, and the response is unpredictable.
Now some deer will be curious as to what this strange scent is, so occasionally deer may be attracted to the scent of bug spray.
However, older and more experienced deer will know enough to associate the scent of bug spray with a nearby human and subsequently head off in the other direction.
Even younger deer may be scared off by this unfamiliar scent depending on their personality.
In many cases, the deer won’t associate the scent of bug spray with impending danger, unless the deer knows enough from previous experience.
No, the scent of bug spray won’t necessarily deter deer, but they’ll definitely notice it, so if you plan on hunting, it’s best to play it safe and avoid wearing bug spray.
Try Alternative Mosquito Repellants
You may also be more inclined to choose natural bug spray, but a deer can smell that aroma, too.
While the scent of natural bug sprays may be mildly pleasing to a human, it is strong and unfamiliar to animals.
Even unscented bug sprays put off a scent that’s undetectable to humans, but highly noticeable to animals. So, what are you supposed to do?
If you allow yourself to be eaten alive by mosquitos, your camping trip would become a very unpleasant experience.
If you are okay with stationary hunting or plan on setting up a camp, then Thermacell is a good way to repel mosquitos.
While deer can smell this, too, most likely the scent won’t set off alarm bells. If it’s possible to hunt within your own backyard, you may want to try Spartan Mosquito Control.
If you really want to go au natural, you can eat garlic, onions, or lemongrass before heading out on your camping or hunting trip, or you can apply crushed American Beauty Berry, peppermint on lavender to your skin.
Alternatively, you can wear netted clothing or clothing that’s been infused with mosquito repellant.
Scents That Can Attract Deer
A deer’s entire demeanor can suddenly change once it gets the whiff of a human scent.
Deer can continue to smell human scent for up to ten days after the person has left the woods.
While bug spray may or may not deter a deer, there are neutral cover scents that can be used to combat your natural scent — or the smell of your bug spray.
Cover scents such as skunk, acorn, and other earth scents are highly effective because deer are used to smelling these scents in their environment.
But if you are really dedicated to attracting deer, doe urine is the way to go. While some of the states have banned natural urine use, you can still purchase synthetic doe urine.
Additionally, you should always pay close attention to the direction of the wind.
Your scent may be blown directly to where the deer are located, so if you aren’t wearing cover scents or luring deer with synthetic urine, always be mindful of the wind.
Frequently Asked Questions about Deer Smelling Bug Spray
Can deer smell picaridin?
According to experienced hunters, insect repellents containing picaridin instead of DEET are effective at warding off mosquitos and do not seem to deter deer.
Can you use bug spray while hunting?
While bug sprays with at least 20% deet are best at repelling mosquitos in heavily wooded areas, you will need to pay attention to the wind direction if you use these sprays while hunting. The scent of the bug spray could scare off the deer.
While deer can smell bug spray, there are alternative methods of repelling mosquitos when you’re on a camping or hunting trip.
If you do use traditional bug spray, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about anything. You can always use a cover scent.
And who knows? You may encounter a deer that actually likes the smell of the bug spray.