Video can deer smell farts

Why would one write such a story — passing gas on the treestand? Aren’t deer hunters looking for substance, strategy and hunting tactics that will help them be better hunters and woodsmen?

Well, here’s the rub. All anyone has to do is creep on the internet to find out what’s really on the minds of deer hunters, and you’ll find more than one forum where guys and girls are discussing the consequences of farting while hunting. Check here, here and here.

So it’s a thing.

Evidently, deer hunters are fraught with gastrointestinal issues and nervous stomachs that sometimes tend to look for a release right at the moment of truth, when a hunter is mere beats away from pulling the trigger on a once unsuspecting target.

Real Life Accounts of Hunters Blowing Up Promising Hunts

One woman on Yahoo Answers described how a fart blew up her hunt on public land. She couldn’t believe her poor timing. Here’s her blustery account:

“I have started hunting public land this year with my husband and, on public land, deer are stressed enough without any extra assistance. Anyway, we all do it so let’s just call it what it is …

“I saw a buck coming through a thicket. This was to be my first kill. I was so excited and my heart was pounding. I was waiting on him to step out and he was taking his sweet time. Seems like it was taking him forever. I must have sat like a statue for 45 minutes … I have him in the scope after 15 minutes of holding that rifle up and my arms starting to shake. Then it hits me. I FARTED! I couldn’t believe it! He took off running. It took him 45 minutes to come in and 1 second to run out. Did my ummm flatulence scare him off or is it possible because it was a windy day that he just smelled me and ran and the timing was bad?”

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One darling man replied to this woman’s inquiry with the useless sentiment that this incident was simply another, “perfect example (of) why women belong in the kitchen.” But, as you might imagine, the issue isn’t limited to hunters of the female persuasion, although it was a woman who was behind this next hunter’s fatal, hunt-ending flatulence.

Here is the story of a Minnesota deer hunter’s account of how he fell victim to a favorite chili:

“I’m sitting in a ground blind last night, and can’t stop farting. My wife made this AWESOME butternut squash chili a few days ago, and I’ve been having some like every day. It’s so good I can’t help it. Anyway, it’s like every 1/2 hour to 15 minutes at least, and it stinks in the blind. Am I just wasting my time hunting at this point? I mean, if I can smell it so strongly, a deer would be overpowered I would think.

“I was actually able to call in a doe to within bow range, but I wasn’t hunting for doe’s last night. She blew and took off after getting within 30 yards of the stand. Anyone else have any other experience like this? Does that smell spook deer, or is it just human scent that sends them running. How bad is farting in the stand?”

The answers offered to the Minnesota hunter by those in the forum were largely dismissive or not very helpful. One guys suggested, “play the wind so you can let it rip whenever you want.” Another said something to the effect that he should hunt near a cow pasture with lots of cow patties to mask his own stink and thereby marginalizing the effects of the favored butternut squash chili.

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Farting on the Treestand: Does it Matter?

For those looking for helpful answers laced with a degree of seriousness, there’s substance out there. First, it stands to reason that passing gas on the treestand could disrupt a hunt for the sole reason that deer have such an exceptional sense of smell.

In an article about the superiority of a deer’s nose featured in Whitetail Journal and written by wildlife biologist Dr. Dave Samuel, he writes, “you name the odor and a deer has a group of cells located in one tiny region of the nose that can smell that odor.”

The Whitetail Journal article also cites the number of olfactory scent receptors a deer has, allowing for its super sense of smell.

“While we don’t know the number of olfaction genes a deer has, we do know the number of olfactory scent receptors. In an offbeat article exploring whether or not deer can smell a hunter’s farts, deer are reported to have 297 million scent receptors. In comparison, humans have 5 million and dogs have 220 million.

“The article also cites an excerpt from “Bows, Swamps, Whitetails,” a book authored by Tim Lewis. He writes that not only do deer have at least 2,000 percent more scent receptors than humans, they also have more types of receptors. Meaning, deer can detect scents that humans simply can’t comprehend.”

Samuel explains that it’s a deer’s history of exposure to certain scents that dictates what odors will and will not cause alarm. “If a young deer has a bad experience with a dog, a pattern of behavior is created in that deer’s brain,” he says. “The next time the deer smells a dog, the deer flees. But if this deer grows up in a park where there is no hunting, and people walk their dogs on a leash all the time, then a dog’s odor probably won’t trigger that same negative response.”

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So the answer to whether or not flatulence in the woods can ruin a deer hunt likely hinges on whether or not the deer is familiar with the smell of human flatulence and if he has associated that smell with an negative event.

Now, the sound of a fart is a different story. Whether or not a deer will bolt in response to the sound of a fart depends on how the individual fart itself sounds and how loud or high pitched the fart is.

As one deer hunter noted in response the woman’s account of her hunting mishap on public land, “the problem here is you didn’t fart loud enough! If done at the proper volume this is a homemade grunt call.”

Never a group to lack ingenuity, this deer hunter represents the clever inventiveness of hunters well. He might be onto something good. And strategic. It’s the no-cost grunt call each of us is naturally equipped with. A primal lure, if you will.

Now that you know the dangers of passing gas on the treestand, you might check out this list of snacks to avoid while on the treestand.

Featured photo: John Hafner

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>