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Rookie scent control question: Ground scent!


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
NW Ohio
This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately and might come off as a rookie question. Maybe it is something many think about and already have found an answer. On "Farm West" I have two entry points. One is on the west edge of the property between the woods and beans. The other is a looooong walk around the woods from the NE. I can not really walk from the north straight through the woods because the whole woods is so thick and not an overly large amount of woods. It tends to be a primary bedding area. If I walk from the NE I walk along a road and down a railroad track that separates the woods from the corn field. It would allow my scent to blow away from the woods on a north wind or west wind which are prevailing winds.

Here is my question: Would I leave less ground scent using scent control precautions and walking a grass strip between the RR tracks and corn field or if I walked on the RR ties? My fear is walking on the large stones along the tracks would be noisy. Other fear is the creosote smell on the RR ties would be picked up on my boots and make the deer spooky. I think they have to be used to the smell of the RR ties, but not that much smell exiting the tracks and heading into a funnel just inside the woods on a nice funnel. The RR ties would be the quietest approach.

So, grass strip or RR ties for the approach?
You know I have walked alot of old railroad beds and never thought about the smells I am picking up. I just assumed it was like the ground and the deer wouldn't mind it. I am actually going to use an old railroad bed saturday and maybe monday but the ties are gone now, just stone. I would like to hear what others think too!!


Super Moderator
Super Mod
Somewhere OHIO
Honestly I would go the tracks Hicks. I don't think the deer would think too much about the smell of the RR ties entering the woods. They are already use to the smell and have nothing bad to associate it with..well maybe the occasional lost friend to the train lol.
I would figure the accidental touching or scent drift to the grass would alarm them a lot more then the smell of the ties would. I would also bet the deer would find it as a curiosity smell more then an alarming smell and maybe follow it to investigate it more. Think of it like a cover scent even.


Now Posts as Jesse..
SE Ohio
Use the ties. This is one of those things where we give deer too much credit. Does he really know that smell and that is should only be next to the railroad bed itself? I don't think so. Is there any water you can hop into once you leave the railroad? I always make a point to find water if I have any doubts about my boots...


Senior Member
Supporting Member
NW Ohio Tundra
I would walk the ties in the dark going in in the morning. The deer won't see you anyhow because it's dark and I don't believe scent from the ties will be an issue at all. Plus it will be more quiet walking on the ties.

Going into your spot in the afternoon or evening I would walk on the low side of the tracks on the opposite side of the woods that you are going to hunt in....this way you won't look like a giant walking down the highest point of reference, ie the center of the tracks. By walking on the low side in the rocks it will help keep you from being silouhetted by deer that are looking out of the woods into the open. Pick your feet up while you walk and you will make little to no noise while walking. Just make sure you don't step in a groundhog hole and twist your ankle before you get to your stand.

I believe any time you can stay low and undetected on your way into your stand will up your odds more than you can imagine.
I love using the ditches to get to woods!!.....or sneaking up on a buck that is out in the middle of a barren section!...I snuck up to a buck and doe last year that was on a ditch and if it werent for the buck running the doe around I would of got a shot! horny little bastard


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
NW Ohio
That settles that one. The stand location is not far off the tracks. There is water, but i would have to walk down and back up a hill to get to it. There is a decent drop off to get into the creek. Not the norm around here really. We have virtually no elevation changes for the most part. I am thinking I will walk the tracks in the dark, slide in to the stand, setup and hope to catch my big boy unaware entering his stand. This is the same direction he was going on opening morning. He wasn't probably 100yds from where I plan to setup on him. Of course, I would have had a shot at him opening morning if I had setup close to the camera like I did Sunday afternoon. Oh well. The great thing about this location is the funnel. The RR tracks/creek meet up and the deer need to enter the woods either east or west of the bridge for the tracks where it crosses the creek. In order to cross to the west, they would be exposed to the road (although approx 1/3 mile off the road), so the bigger bucks seem to cross on the east side of the RR bridge/creek. It is open in this section of the woods for maybe 50 yds, then it gets thick as can be. I am so stoked about this location. It is a classic funnel. Once the corn comes off south and south east of this funnel, it should see even more traffic!!!


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
I agree with the others about taking the RR tracks in. If you're really concerned with creosote scent, buy some of those disposable shoe covers... I wear them for work all the time when going into houses... you can wear them as you walk on the RR ties and take them off as soon as you're ready to walk into the woods. IMO, Jesse's probably right, though. I think we give bucks too much credit sometimes, and this is most likely one of those times.