Can Deer Smell Vape? Here’s What You Should Know

Deer have an amazing sense of smell. For hunters who aren’t looking to scare off nearby deer this season, is vaping a suitable alternative to smoking?

We’ll dive in to see if deer have a harder time smelling vape and whether or not it will affect your hunting success.

Table of Contents

Can Deer Smell Vape?

While research on the subject is minimal, deer are known to have an incredible sense of smell and are capable of smelling vape. They have an acute ability to notice foreign smells and most vape scents will stand out and spook the deer. 

In spite of the fact that deer are able to detect the scents from e-cigarettes, precautions can be taken to avoid revealing your presence, so you can enjoy your vape while hunting.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Vaping Isn’t Vapor

Because of the name ‘vape‘, it is commonly believed that the ‘smoke’ given off by e-cigarettes is water vapor.

This is actually false. The chemicals burned off when vaping creates an aerosol that won’t evaporate as quickly as water vapor. 

This means that while the vape smell lingers in the air and on surfaces for less time than tobacco smoke, the strong-smelling and chemically dense vape aerosol has a chance of being taken by the wind, and making its way to the nose of an alert deer.

Man smoking a vape in the woods

Deer Detection

As most hunters know, deer have an acute ability to detect nearby threats from sight, sound, and scent.

Always on alert for predators, deer have their eyes peeled and listen for the slightest stick crack to alert them of danger.

Deer can detect even the quietest and most careful hunters by their scent, which they perceive as something foreign that does not belong in their habitat.

With one whiff of an unnatural smell, a deer will know a hunter is nearby and will leave the area.

A deer’s sense of smell can be up to 1000 times more sensitive than a human’s. They can smell you from a half mile away, long before they come into view. Therefore, putting a strong-smelling, chemically unnatural aerosol into the air could likely be detected by deer.

Wind Direction

One of the best tools in the hunter’s toolkit is using wind direction to their advantage.

Whether it’s vape, a thermacell, or your natural scent, odor particles diffuse into the air and are carried by the wind over great distances. 

A seasoned hunter will pick their waiting spot based on where deer frequent and which direction the wind is blowing. Being downwind from a deer means your scent is carried in the opposite direction. Vaping from this position greatly reduces the chance of being detected. 

Can Deer Smell Vape
Deer sniffing in a meadow

It isn’t a foolproof strategy, however, as the wind can be unpredictable and change directions.

As much as possible, be patient when vaping and make sure the wind is blowing in a favorable direction that is not towards your area of interest, or where you believe the deer may be located.

Techniques for Success

As previously stated, the research on this topic is minimal.

While there are facts we know about the aerosol from vaping, how deer smell, and how wind direction plays a role; the reality is many hunters vape and have had success with certain techniques.

Wind direction is a big one. No matter whether you vape or not, knowledgeable hunters understand the importance of wind direction in keeping themselves out of the deer’s line of smell.

Choosing the right vape flavor can also play a factor. Since deer are alerted by foreign smells, choosing a vape flavor that is more natural can help. Online hunting forums have reported success from flavors such as apple, vanilla, cherry, and mint, as these scents can be found in nature.

Although deer are likely to be able to distinguish between a chemically produced smell and a natural one, the reality is that each deer is unique.

The natural scent might cause some deer to run at the first whiff, while others might become confused and not immediately sense danger.

Hunting, while vaping or not, is about limiting the chances of a deer sensing your presence. Scent masking is a popular technique that many hunters use to blend into the environment. 

Using scent masking spray products on your clothes and in the air while vaping can help reduce the chances of the odor particles from the vape making their way to a deer.

This will overpower the vape scent and can help you blend in.

Hunting and Vaping

Hunters are a superstitious and process-oriented bunch. For some, vaping can make no difference at all. And others, it can be the reason for a failed hunt. 

If vaping and hunting is something you want to try, it’s possible it can go wrong and you can alert the deer.

But by taking these few simple precautions, it’s possible for you to enjoy these two hobbies together with great success.

You May Also Like: Why Are Deer So Dumb? (Or Are They…?)