By: Some Guy
I think a better sense of smell would benefit the sportsman. Wouldn’t it be awesome if hunters could actually smell their quarry? The only living thing we can currently smell reliably is the skunk. Think about the possibilities! No need to ever again painfully trudge through nettle and cocklebur infested weed patches over your head looking for pheasants that aren’t there. You could just get up wind, sniff the air like an English setter and know the ditch is void of all forms of pheasant like. You could immediately return to driving around in your warm pickup.
What if you would be able to smell a deer coming? Deer are notorious for approaching outside the hunters’ realm of hearing or sight. Picking up the scent of the deer early would allow the hunter to reposition his body to get a shot. No more hearing a twig snap ten feet behind you and saying, “What the . . .” as the reflexes of your but cheeks send you six feet into the air! And this would save you the trouble of trying to shoot backwards over your shoulder as the deer is bolting through the timber. It seems one always tries to shoot in these instances anyway, because this is the only deer you have seen all season!
Most critters possess a greater sense of smell than humans. The sense of smell that would be perfect for the sportsman is that of the turkey vulture. Turkey vultures can hone in on smells that are miles away! O.K., granted they can only hone in on “unpleasant” stuff. But think of the possibilities! Possessing the sense of smell of the vulture would eliminate smell oriented blights sportsmen have suffered for ages! Finding oneself inconveniently positioned in animal waste or by a rotting carcass are common predicaments of sportsmen. After all, the only critter we really need to smell coming is the skunk! We can already do that.
How many times have you found yourself finding that perfect fishing spot along the river to sit and fish. You sit there for awhile only to find out later that your “perfect” spot was also deemed by a family of mink as a perfect spot also. The mink felt this spot was perfect for sitting to eat, then later un-eat, fish, frogs and other miscellaneous aquatic creatures. If you had the sense of smell of a vulture you could avoid this spot to start with. Instead of what you did. Sit there for over an hour grinding and mixing the assortment of biodegradable aquatic material with your buttocks.
Most smell oriented problems sportsmen will have is the responsibility of the domestic cow. Cow pies are not necessarily messy or smell all that bad, until you step in it. And step in it you will. The cow has the clairvoyant ability to deposit their pie right where you will step or sit in the future. If you have an eighty acre pasture and only one cow, that cow will somehow know exactly where you will park your truck and step out! Of course you will seldom notice that cow pie until after you are ready to leave. At that time you will step in it again as you get into your truck. The smell still won’t be noticed until you are a couple miles down the road. By then you have already permanently ground the poop into the trucks’ carpet.
Decaying animal parts will generally go unnoticed by the sportsman until it is too late also. I remember one time I was camping with my local Boy Scout Troop when one of these situations arose. We were at the lake in early December to do some late season fishing. Just before freeze-up can provide some of the best crappie fishing of the season. We picked a campsite on the edge of the campground that was out of the wind. This seemed like the perfect spot. Later that night we found out though that this spot wasn’t quite so perfect.
The first line of order when we got there in the morning was to get a fire going. It was cold, about 30º, and the Scouts were convinced they would perish in the night without a big fire. As the day went on the fire kept growing. I think the Scouts spent more time feeding the fire than they did fishing. By nightfall the six foot diameter fire ring was completely full of hot coals. A person could stand forty feet away and easily feel the heat. At about ten feet it felt like your flesh would melt!
We didn’t really realize how hot that fire actually was until the next day, well actually it was about 4:00 A.M. when I first noticed it. When we went to put this fire out we had to pour over fifty gallons of water on it. At first the water was disappearing as fast as we could pour it on. Water had to be poured on the ground around the fire ring to cool the dirt enough to make gains on extinguishing this incredibly hot fire.
When I decided to turn in that night I made a quick trip to the weeds behind my tent to take care of “official” business. I thought, “Jeez, I’m sixty feet away and I can still feel the heat from that fire!” “This is going to feel good tonight.” I crawled into my tent and went to sleep.
I woke up at about four in the morning to a wretched, gagging, putrid stench. It was literally searing my nostrils! I thought, “Holy cow that stinks!” “What the heck is it?” I knew something wasn’t right! I had to get out and see what was going on. As I unzipped my tent the stench got worse. And it brought tears to my eyes!
As I was getting out of my tent I was wiping my eyes trying to get my vision back. I immediately checked the fire and it was fine. Nothing was burning that shouldn’t be. That’s always good! I saw that several of the Scouts were also out of their tents. I could hear strange guttural spasms coming from the campsite. As I finally got my vision back I could see the source of the strange noises. Two of the Scouts were doubled over engaged in the act of discharging their dinners. The others were still rubbing their eyes.
Being an experienced Scoutmaster I just knew these boys knew something about this whole situation. They had to have done something to cause the horrible stench and the vomit fest that was occurring on the other side of the campground. I yelled, “What on God’s green earth did you guys do?” “What happened to those two?” One Scout replied, “We didn’t do nothin’!” “Billy just started puking and when Jimmy saw it, he started puking too!” “What’s that stench?” all the others were asking.
After a while the Scouts had me convinced that they had nothing to do with the reek or the vomiting. It was just the odor that caused that. There was a slight breeze coming into the campsite from the weeds behind my tent. The putrid, rotting stench had to be coming from there. Funny, I didn’t smell anything like that over there yesterday.
Now if I had the sense of smell of the turkey vulture this whole ordeal could have been avoided. What we found a vulture would have known all along it was there. Some screw ball that used this campsite before us dumped several buckets of fish heads and guts in the weeds. Of course the vulture would just start feeding on the pile of carrion. The sportsman however, would have used this knowledge to choose a different campsite. As we were standing there staring at the half decayed mass of fish parts, one of the other Scouts had found another pile further back. He asked, “Hey, how come those guts over there aren’t frozen like these are?”
As it turns out the colossal, permeating, inferno the Scouts insisted on building to survive the night proved to be our demise! There was enough heat emanating from that fire it actually thawed that pile of half decayed fish guts thirty feet away and released their Biblical stench! We all decided it was best to just pack up and go home.