There is a great difference of opinion among hunters about this matter, with some men giving the deer credit for having an almost human intelligence and others claiming that they have practically no brain power at all. There is no way that I know to evaluate this mental power except to observe the actions of deer in different situations and try to draw some conclusion from these actions. The bucks usually don't fight for the possession of the female doe. The cause of the fights may be for something else.
I have tried to conceal my odor by adding the odor of deer and I am sure that this practice has aided my hunting at times. I usually add the deer odor by obtaining the glands that are located on the inner side of the back legs of a doe and rubbing these glands on my clothing. The odor from these tufts of hair is strong and distinctive enough to hide the human odor, and, as it is a natural deer odor, it is not offensive to the deer.
While bearing this scent, I have had bucks follow my trail for long distances and nothing except lack of patience prevented me from shooting some of them. I would lay a trail and then I would fail to wait long enough for them to overtake me. I am sure that it was not just a coincidence that they followed my trail, for on one occasion, a buck followed me across an open field to within two hundred yards of my house before he decided that he was wasting his time. I had waited for him for over an hour and then I had left the stand to go to the house for something to eat. The big disadvantage in making a scent trail, such as this, is that a man can never be sure that a buck will find and follow the trail.
If the hunter could know something of a deer's mental ability, it would help in hunting the animal. There is a great difference of opinion among hunters about this matter, with some men giving the deer credit for having an almost human intelligence and others claiming that they have practically no brain power at all. There is no way that I know to evaluate this mental power except to observe the actions of deer in different situations and try to draw some conclusion from these actions. Since there is a difference in viewpoint of different men, there will always be a difference of opinion in their findings, and as a result there will always be room for argument. What one man might consider instinctive action on the part of a deer, might be construed as planned strategy by some other man; and this inability to distinguish between the reasons for certain actions of the deer is where we fail in trying to establish their reasoning powers.
Any hunter who has hunted deer as part of a driving gang has probably had the experience of having some wise old buck avoid the drivers by slipping back through their lines or by hiding until he has been passed. Judging by human standards, this action shows that the buck has evaluated the situation and has acted in such a manner because it is the wisest thing for him to do in order to save his life. Looking at it from a different angle, the deer's actions are purely instinctive. If the men who are waiting have used proper caution, the buck can have no knowledge of their presence and, not having this knowledge, the safest thing that he can do is to run from the drivers. However, a deer's instinctive reaction to danger is either to run or to hide. It is more apt to run from an unexpected danger than from one that it is aware of. Another thing which has a bearing on the decision to run or to hide is the stubborn resistance to being forced to travel in a direction not of its own choice.
You have better chances of bagging the deer if you are hunting through trails and you are most likely end up empty when you are part of the driving gang on a hunt. The deer's instinctive reaction to danger is either to run or to hide.
Concealing the original odor from the hunters using some commercial scents, which is natural for the deer, will help the hunters to get their target easier. Therefore, it is important for the hunters to hide their odor when they go for hunting.