Skip to content
Home » Blogs » What Do Deer Smell Like? [Answered In Details]

What Do Deer Smell Like? [Answered In Details]

You might be trying to go on a hunt. Are you planning to make your prey deer anyway? If yes, then you must be wondering about its smell to take on the source. But how to reckon that smell! Does that stink or any other random smell?

Don’t worry buddy, we’ve got all the answers to your question!

So, what do deer smell like?

You can actually smell their different glands when you’re around them. You may get the smell of their tarsal gland. The scent of their forehead and interdigital hair is also quite common. You may also smell the scent of their lacrimal gland.

This information is just the beginning of what you need to know! We’ve got a detailed guide regarding this. So don’t stop and keep on reading!

Let’s get started now!

What Do Deer Smell Like? 

Just like other living things, deer also have their own smell. But not many people are known for this scent. 

They can have 3 to 4 smells that are similar, varying from deer to deer. So, this smell basically comes from different glands of deer. Take a look to know about them in detail given below-


Tarsal Gland Scent

The tarsal gland and its potent fragrance are well-known among deer hunters. The tarsals are removed by certain hunters and hung near a scrape or stand in the place. Scent firms sell scented tarsal glands in bottles. 

The tarsal gland is a pad of stiff hairs on the bottom of the foot. This is found at the hock on the inside of each deer’s back leg. Each hair has a fat gland at the base. 

It creates an odorless greasy coating that coats the hair and serves as a platform for aroma diffusion. All deer can flare their tarsals at any time of the year. Flaring the tarsal hairs into a rosette releases the scent. 

Throughout the year, whitetail deer of all ages urinate over their tarsals. Rub-urinate may be used by fawns to locate their mother. The dark tarsal stain can extend the rear of the legs as bucks rub-urinate during the rut.

Interdigital Scent 

Each hoof has four interdigital glands, one between each “toe.” A tiny sac makes up the gland. It secretes a cheesy, whitish fluid with a sour milk odor. 

The fluid is distributed onto the ground when the deer walks and evaporates at varying speeds. As a result, it leaves smell trail markers all over the place. This enables deer to follow one another or retrace their steps if they become disoriented. 

Interdigital secretions aid deer in determining the direction and timing of another deer’s journey. Many chemicals have been discovered in buck interdigital secretions, according to research. 

These are chemical markers that may increase as testosterone levels grow. This signals to other deer that a mature buck is nearby. As proven, does’ interdigital secretions may indicate they are ready to reproduce.

So, this smell indicates the congregation of the deer. All you need to do is just keep track of it and go accordingly. 


Forehead Gland Scent

Between the deer’s eyes and the antler pedicles in the forehead gland. During the rut, it plays a vital role. Dominant bucks are the ones who use the gland. A rutting buck’s forehead hair is frequently stained dark brown by the oily, smelly fluids. 

A buck rubbing trees or brush will come to a halt and rub the newly exposed wood with its forehead gland. ‘Does’ could leave a mark on their forehead gland. 

The “signature” of forehead rubbing lasts for a long time. It also rises with a buck’s age, implying that the secretions transmit age.

This does not create a very strong generally. But the mild scent of this smell is quite enough to let the hunters confirm about the prey! Because this smell is quite obvious from a deer.

So, get ready with your quiver right away! And if you have a tight spot quiver, you are fine to go! Although tight spot quivers are a bit expensive but worth it!

Lachrymal Grand Scent

Deer have a preorbital slit in the inside corner of the eye. This is also known as the lachrymal gland. The tear duct produces modest volumes of transparent fluid and is thought to have two purposes. 

Scent communication and lubrication are two of them.

Source: Research Gate 

The fluid cleans the eye and aids in the removal of dirt. This is useful for cleaning the debris that appears on deer living in shady areas. At scrapes and rubs, bucks and does massage the gland on overhanging limbs. 

As a result, only identifying and status marks remain. The gland is controlled by muscle and may open to release odor during rubbing. 

While her fawn is nursing, a doe’s preorbital gland may enlarge. And this gland also opens at times. Deer appear to love the action and spend time participating in it.

So, these are the common scents you get around deer. We hope you’ve found the answer to your question!


Do deer stink or is it normal?

It has a musky fragrance to it at times, as well as a doctored-up urine odor. It’s owing to the tarsal gland of a deer’s influence. On the animal’s rear leg, this gland can be found. This gland is, without a doubt, the most crucial in deer communication. However, the smell can vary from deer to deer too.

How to understand if a deer recognizes my smell?

If a mature buck smells you from somewhere downwind of your stand, he may just disappear into the brush. A sassy old doe, on the other hand, might stand out there and blow like a maniac. This would signal to any deer within a half-mile that she has detected a rat. In any case, your hunt is likely to be wrecked. So, make sure your prey does not get your smell.

Can deer get a smell from the path that I walked in?

Rising thermals carry the ground scent up to the buck’s nose. If you’re walking through thick grass, don’t bother; you’ll be caught. This is at the level of a buck’s nose. And there are a lot of scents left in the long grass. This would spoil the chances of hunting deer eventually!

What is the scent that deer like the most?

The most prevalent attractant scent employed by deer hunters is doe urine. It soothes deer’s anxiety while also piquing their interest. Because it imitates the arrival of a new deer in the neighborhood. Deer are rarely alarmed by it because it is a prevalent odor in the woods. This fragrance is also repulsive to bucks and does.

The Final Words

Now you know what do deer smell like! You can expect to have a piece of good knowledge about your concern now! Because we tried to cover the relevant and important points here.

We wish you good luck with your hunting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *