Dehumidifiers and Deer Stands – An Unlikely Alliance
If the thought of a dehumidifier in a deer stand sounds like blasphemy to you, it sounded weird to us too – at first. But after some investigating, it turns out there is some pretty solid science behind the idea. It has to do with the way scent molecules move in the air. It can get pretty esoteric at times so hang in there and we’ll try to simplify it as much as possible.
Table of Contents
Humidity and Scent
Most people understand warm air holds more moisture than cold air. But did you know that the amount of water the air can hold actually doubles for every 20 degrees the temperature the air goes up? The more moisture there is in the air, in other words, the greater the humidity, the easier it is for deer to smell you. That works in reverse too, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
To picture how this works, imagine a glass of water. You use an eyedropper to put one drop of ink in the water. Initially, the ink is very dark at the point where it entered the water. Then, as it gradually expands throughout the glass it becomes diluted.
Depending on how much water is in the glass, by the time it’s completely mixed, it might not even be visible anymore. If there is only a small amount of water though, the ink will still be clearly visible.
This is how scent molecules in the air work as well. If there isn’t much water in the air (low humidity), your scent molecules will be able to disperse widely and rapidly. Where there is a low of water in the air (high humidity) the scent molecules won’t be able to expand nearly as rapidly.
In areas where the humidity is naturally high, such as the South, the more likely it is that deer will be able to detect your scent because the air can hold more scent molecules, which are mostly water. They’ll be more densely packed and therefore easier to detect.
Temperature and Scent
Closely related to humidity is temperature. As the temperature increases, the air can hold more moisture. Conversely, as the temperature drops, the less moisture the air can hold. But (you knew that was coming didn’t you?) there is a problem with cold air too.
Cold air is denser than hot air. This is why helicopters can fly better in the morning when it’s cold than later in the afternoon when it’s hot. Cold air under their blades gives them more lift. If you’ve been involved in any search-and-rescue efforts in the mountains you’ve probably heard the pilots talk about this effect.
Dense air holds the moisture molecules, including your scent molecules, closer together. Densely packed scents are easier for deer to detect than dispersed ones in warm air.
Temperature and Humidity
When low temperatures combine with high humidity, you’ll be caught in a situation where the deer can smell you coming a mile away. They know when deer season is and the moment they smell you they’ll turn tail and run.
Dehumidifiers work by sucking in air and blowing it across cooling coils so the moisture in the air condenses on them and runs down into a catch basin, or out a hose. Depending on the setting you use, they’ll reheat the air before blowing it out the exhaust. A little warm air in the deer stand never hurt anyone, did it? Of course not.
Putting It All Together
There are a lot of different deer stands and blinds on the market. Whether you like the ones on the ground or up in the air, the important thing is that the deer don’t know you’re there. A small dehumidifier can remove your scent molecules from the air and heat up your deer blind in one easy step.
Yes, there are a lot of camp stoves and heaters hunters like to use, but they have their own distinctive odor to them as well, alerting deer to the presence of people in the area. A dehumidifier can keep you warm at the same it’s covering your scent.
Dehumidifiers aren’t that expensive either. A small dehumidifier intended to be used in an RV would be an affordable one that could get the job done without breaking the bank. Some are close to $200 but most are under 50 bucks. They’re small enough they can fit under your camp chair and many are so quiet you almost can’t hear them.