Does Human Poop Scare Deer?

Author: Jacob Smith
Last Update:

When it comes to hunting or observing deer in the wild, many people believe that human smells such as urine and feces would be a deterrent for these animals. However, recent research has revealed that this may not be the case. In fact, it appears that deer may even be attracted to certain human smells. This revelation challenges long-held beliefs and has important implications for those who spend time in the outdoors. Today, we are going to talk about whether deer can smell human poop and if they are scared of it.

Does human poop scare deer?

I used to think that the smell of human waste would scare off deer, but research shows that they are not bothered by it. In fact, they may even be attracted to the smell of human feces. I can also approve this from my own experience.

I woke up early on the first day of the Illinois firearm deer season with an empty stomach, which prompted me to quickly leave my ladder stand and go to a spot nearby to take care of nature’s call. I had learned from previous experience to clear the area properly, so I made sure to remove any straps or coveralls from the “drop zone”.

However, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my hunting spot. I thought I had ruined my most successful stand, but surprisingly, a doe and fawn walked within a few feet of the spot, followed by a spike buck just 10 minutes later. Other deer also approached the area, showing no concern. The next day, I moved to another stand, but could still see the previous stand where at least half a dozen deer came close throughout the day.

In certain experiments, hunters left their feces on deer scrapes and near treestands. The deer approached these areas without showing fear. It is unclear if the deer recognized the human waste as such, but they were not frightened by it.

It’s clear that you shouldn’t be worried at all to poop near your hide because that won’t impact deer going near there.

Can deer smell human poop?

Although it is challenging to come to firm conclusions on what deer can and cannot smell, experiments using the next best thing have been conducted, and the results are somewhat unexpected.

Deer possess a highly developed sense of smell and are able to detect human feces. The duration of a human scent can range from several days to potentially years, depending on factors such as the texture and moisture content of the surface it is on.

While it is clear that deer and other game animals can smell human waste, the extent to which it impacts hunting success is debatable. In some cases, particularly sensitive or older deer may be driven away by the scent, but this is not a common occurrence.

It is not clear if they can distinguish it from other types of animal waste or if it has any specific significance to them. In the experiments mentioned, the deer approached the areas where human feces were left without showing fear, but it is not known if they recognized it as human waste or if it had any effect on their behavior.

One thing is clear and that is that deer can actually smell human waste.


It is clear that deer have a highly developed sense of smell and are capable of detecting human feces. So in the end, it is unlikely that human feces will significantly deter most deer and may even attract the curiosity of some of them. If you choose to defecate in a scrape or near your stand while hunting, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you are not leaving any other human scents or traces behind. However, it should be noted that even if human feces does not alarm deer, it may heighten their awareness and increase the chances of them detecting a hunter’s presence.

An expert in deer hunting with 10 years of experience in the field and woods. Certified as a hunter by the State of California. I created Deer Hunting Life as my personal blog to share my experience and tips on deer hunting.