Scent Control - Burning Dung

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Africa' started by Dee S, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    I realize this is nothing new to the veteran hunters that have hunted Africa, but this is a scent control trick I had heard about from these veterans, yet I had never seen it in action, whether here in the states or on my last trip to Namibia.
    My awesome PH, Pieter Delport, would stop the truck each morning on the way to the 'hides' and we'd get out and collect cow dung. Pieter says cow dung burns the best, it burns slower, and burns well, putting off a good cover scent.
    Every time we'd get to a hide, Pieter would lay out a dung trail and set it on fire, regardless of the wind direction. In 12 days of hunting, there were only a couple of times where the animals caught our scent and on every one of those occasions, we realized that something went wrong with the burn pile. Either the dung was all burnt up as we didn't start out with enough, the burn didn't continue because of a break in the dung trail, we were having to burn something other than cattle dung, etc.
    The day I shot my Burchells was a prime example. We were in a pop up blind, 15 yards to the water, and 25 yards from where the animals would 'stage' before coming in to drink, and the wind was at our back all day. We thought of moving the blind, but I told him I was good with seeing how the animals reacted first. We were in that blind all day, the smoke was blowing straight to the water, and it probably appeared as though the blind was on fire, the smoke was often times that thick. But not one animal the entire day every spooked. And we had animals coming and going all day, often times with herds of waterbuck, eland, blue wildebeest, and hartebeest standing in the smoke and drinking water. There were times when we had, and this is no exaggeration, 30 - 50 eland and another 20 - 30 wildebeest downwind of us, often times under 20 yards. Even the warthogs came straight in and drank without winding us.
    The Burchells I shot came in from our left, crossed the smoke trail, and as all African animals are known to do, stopped to 'stare' at the water trough at 29 yards.
    My first Hartmann's Zebra came in, circled the blind at least three times within 20 yards, and still came in to drink. I was shocked, but because of my PH and the burning dung, I was able to take the #1 animal on my list on the first full day of hunting.
    Without a doubt, I would not have harvested the amount of animals that I did, had Pieter not utilized this well known scent control technique. I will probably be using it here in Texas from now on, I just have to be careful and not catch the pastures on fire.
    I was so impressed by this scent control technique that I had to film Pieter one morning as he set up the dung piles to burn. This was the same blind, and the day after, that I harvested my Burchells from as mentioned above.

     
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  2. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Yes it works.

    Be careful of over doing it and the wind shifts sending the smoke straight in the blind....

    I always carry two sets of scaffolding with platforms, when only bow hunting, with which I can set up two elevated blinds, about 3 meters up, in the event that the wind is swirling and the property may be heavily bow hunted. The elevation eliminates the effect of the swirling wind.
     

  3. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    We used that on numerous hunts in SA and Namibia but I didn't find it to be a miracle worker, I would rather have my blind downwind. I've had animals wind me with burning dung and also using Ozonics in the hide.
     
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  4. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    The wind in Namibia is crazy. It’s constantly changing and swirling. Here in my area, it’s pretty steady
     

  5. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Haven't used it for scent control, but a bit smoldering in the back of the cruiser seems to run off a few of the tsetse flies where they are prevalent.
     
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  6. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Enthusiast

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    Very interesting. thank you for posting this.

    Has anyone tried something similar in the US?

    @Dee S I have the same hat! You also must be a grizzly stik archer. How did the arrows perform? What broadhead did you use?
     

  7. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    My first time in SA (2012) they used smoldering zebra dung when I was on my kudu hunt. I can still smell it....
     

  8. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Works on those damn Mopani bees too .
     
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  9. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    I recall seeing this on some videos in the 90's, maybe early 2000's so it's not new. But on my two hunts in Namibia and one in the East Cape it wasn't even an afterthought.
     

  10. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Worked on my bushpig. We used zebra dung.
     
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  11. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    Yes, as some would say, "I drink the cool-aid" and I'm a firm believer in heavy arrows with a high FOC. I try to not engage in an argument over light arrows versus heavy arrows or 11% FOC versus 22% FOC. It's truly a "are you a Ford or Chevy man" discussion and there is no winner, only ruffled feathers at the end.

    My daughter is a better example to use than myself. But for reference, my arrows weigh 660 grains, +/- 2 grains, with an FOC of 22%, tipped with 200 grain single bevel Cutthroat broadheads.

    Emily shoots GrizzlyStik as well and her arrows weigh 555 grains with a 24% FOC, tipped with the same 200 grain head as I shoot. She shoots a Bowtech Eva Shockey set at 50 lbs.
    Last year, she shot a Kudu (complete pass through) standing broadside at 18 yards. An impala (complete pass through) that was quartering to her. She hit it in the shoulder, breaking bone, and it ran 20 feet and fell over. A warthog (complete pass through) at 27 yards. And we told her the wrong distance on the wildebeest. She hit it, slightly quartering away, in the right front shoulder. Broad head broke the shoulder bone, got 10" of penetration into the chest cavity, and the wildebeest went down in 80 yards. From a 17 year old woman shooting a 50 lb bow.

    I'm extremely pleased with the arrow setup and so was my PH. We actually discussed this topic at the end of the hunt, wish I had recorded it, and he said that up until this hunt, he was not a big fan of single bevel heads, but after seeing how my setup preformed, he was a believer. He even went so far as to say that my arrows would work on cape buffalo. That's a whole other conversation, but suffice it to say, I like my setup for heavy, big boned plains game and that's why I chose to go that route.

    For the smaller animals, I shot a Victory Arrow, weighing the exact same weight and with the same FOC as the Momentum TDTs, but topped with a 125 grain head. The warthog got a 125 grain single bevel Masai head from GrizzlyStik and the Duiker caught a 125 gran SlickTrick Razor Trick.
     
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  12. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Enthusiast

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    @Dee S impressive! Sounds like you both had good results with the arrow setup. I also am a believer in heavy arrows and high FOC.
     

  13. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My PH liked dried Zebra dung best. Before we started burning it I saw no animals for over an hour. Afterward game sightings were frequent but not constant.
     

  14. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    The day I filmed that video, the first animals came in about 30 minutes later and we had animals out the entire time up until about 2pm when we finally just had to get out to pee. And animals returned within an hour and were out till dark. I missed a mature Burchells stallion right at last light and there were about 60 animals in the smoke, down wind of us in that open area I’m pointing to in the video. The zebra was in that crowd of animals at 30 yards and I just shot over his back.
     

  15. Jeffro

    Jeffro AH Senior Member

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    My PH used it in Namibia this past summer; kudu. It did work, but the constantly swirling wind gave us away if the wind got too strong.
     
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