Like invisible odoriferous molecules of burning wood and even its smoke all hunter odors fall to the ground downwind.
My son’s, grandsons and I always double check the wind direction before heading to a stand site and often listen to weather forecasts on our deer camp weather radio to learn whether or not the wind will change in direction during the day. The reason is, we never want to make the mistake of approaching and sitting at a stand site with the wind at our backs, no matter how promising the site might be for taking a mature buck. Patiently or impatiently, we always wait for an adverse wind to change direction before hunting at such a site. Meanwhile we stand hunt at a different feeding area that can be safely approached from downwind or crosswind. This precaution almost always pays off (see accompanying photo).
Keep in mind, all unnatural odors characteristic of whitetail hunters spread vertically (soon touching the ground from tree stands) as well as horizontally throughout a widening cone-shaped area up to 200 yards wide 200 yards downwind. All these odors are quickly recognized by most downwind whitetails 2-1/2 years of age or older (not always true of yearlings and fawns). Degrees of responses upon detecting a hunter’s odors are largely determined by their intensities. The stronger the smell, the worse the response. One alarmed whitetail can soon alert or alarm all deer in the vicinity of a stand site with or without a hunter’s knowledge. It pays, then, to begin and remain as odor-free as possible while stand hunting for whitetails.