Whether you’re a veteran buck hunter or a first-timer, these clever tips can help you have more success this season.

Human odor spooks deer
Before a hunt, shower with unscented soap. Wash your hunting clothes with unscented detergent and seal them in a plastic bag or container with leaves, dirt, and other debris from around your stand. This allows the clothes to take on the naturally occurring scents from the area.

Odor eliminators
Rather than spraying down with an odor eliminator before your trek to the stand, apply AFTER you reach the stand. Pay special attention to your hat and hair.

Doe estrous and buck scent
Know when to use doe estrous! During peak rut, drag a rag soaked in doe estrous. A buck could well follow it right to your stand. However, during the early season, doe estrous makes no sense to a buck. Use buck scent instead to kick his territorial instincts into action. He’ll always check out the scent of another buck!

A winning scent set-up
You can’t always figure the wind, so try this trick instead. Find a long strip of timber or cover that has the wind blowing from one end to the other. Pour deer scent on several areas on the windy end. Set your tree stand high up, just on the edge of the timber or cover. If you’re high enough, your human odor should blow above the deer scent.

Tree Stands
Before the season, practice setting up and taking down your tree stand low on the tree. Being able to get in and out of your spot as quietly as possible is key to getting a look at that great buck. It’s also important to be able to get to your tree stand undetected. Try to use a creek or curtain of forest to cover your entry. Deer have great night vision, so relying on cover of dark is a mistake. Finally, consider tree stand blinds. They help conceal you from sharp-eyed deer as well as improving your comfort level by protecting you from the wind.

Safety Harness
Don’t ignore this safety tip! Most falls from tree stands occur while climbing into and out of the stand. Always remember to wear a full-body safety harness when hunting from a tree stand.

Make a mock scrape. Wearing surgical gloves to prevent human odor contamination, use a stick to scuff the leaves off an area the size of a hubcap. During the late season, look for re-opened scrapes in deep cover. If there’s snow on the ground, take note of leaves strewn across an area where deer have pawed for mast. This might be a good spot to set up and wait for the deer to return.

Tick repellant
Last but not least, douse yourself with tick repellant! Tick-borne diseases can be serious, and shut down your hunting season before it even begins.