Can Deer Smell Rubber Boots?

by Derrick | Last Updated: July 22, 2022

Deer hunting success is about a lot of little things that add up to seeing more deer and being able to select the animal you want to take home for the freezer. One of those things is scent control and specifically ensuring the deer in the area do not smell you. That got us thinking, can deer smell rubber boots?

The simple answer is yes, deer can smell rubber boots. In fact, deer have an incredible sense of smell and can detect odors at concentrations thousands of times lower than what humans can.

This shouldn’t be a real concern to you if you follow some simple scent control rules. You can wear rubber boots and still have a successful hunt.

The Pros and Cons Of Rubber Boots For Deer Hunting

Pros – Scent Control

Rubber boots themselves can help control your human scent when stationary during a hunt. They are more closed and all-encompassing around your foot than a leather boot or even a breathable traditional Gortex-lined boot. So while the boot itself may emit a rubber-like smell, it will help control the scent emitted from your feet which can be significant since our feet tend to sweat a lot.

Pros – Great For Hunting Damp/Swampy Areas

Another big advantage of rubber boots is they are great for hunting in wet, swampy, or even just damp areas. They will keep your feet dry, which helps with scent control and makes for a more pleasant and comfortable hunt. No one wants to sit in a tree stand all day with cold, wet feet.

Cons – Can be Noisy

Depending on the type of rubber boot, some can be noisy when coming into contact with a metal tree stand or even just walking on leaves or sticks. This can obviously alert deer to your presence and spoil your hunt.

Cons – Not as Comfortable

For some people, rubber boots can be less comfortable than other types of hunting boots. They can be hot and sweaty in warm weather and not as breathable as leather or Gortex in cold weather.

Do Rubber Boots Leave Scent?

Yes, rubber boots could leave numerous different scents the deer could detect. If your feet are sweaty from the hike in, the deer could smell that. Even the rubber itself could have a scent if the boots are fairly new.

The boots may also track in scents from wherever else you may have worn them. For example, if you wear your rubber boots to mow the lawn and then go hunting, the deer could smell gasoline or anything you may have stepped on on the outside of the boot.

Do You Need Rubber Boots For Hunting?

I wouldn’t say you need them, but they can work well in certain situations, such as where you need a waterproof fit and the air temperature isn’t too cold. The rubber boot and sweating feet combined with lack of breathability could be an issue with the cold.

They can also work well in areas where you are likely to get your feet wet such as swamps or wading across creeks.

In the end, it’s up to you as the hunter to decide what type of hunting boot works best for you and the conditions you will be hunting.

How To Avoid Deer Detecting The Scent Of Rubber Boots?

General scent control best practices can be followed here, but let’s dive in and see how you can specifically avoid deer detecting the scent of your rubber boots.

Air Out Your Boots

The rubber smell is the worst when the boots are brand new, so if you can air them out for a few days before wearing them into the woods, that will help. Just take them out of the box and set them outside or in a garage or shed to let them air out.

If you are planning on going to the woods prior to hunting season, wear the boots out in the woods . This will allow the boots to take on the smells of the woods and hopefully cover up the rubber scent. You can also do this by walking through a creek or pouring water on them while wearing them.

Wash Your Boots

They make a variety of scent washes that you can use on clothing as well as rubber boots. You can also just use regular soapy water, but make sure you rinse them very well and do it well in advance of hunting season.


Wrapping up, can deer smell rubber boots? Yes, the deer can smell the rubber on the boots as well as any other scents that may be present. However, you can take steps to avoid the deer detecting the scent of your rubber boots by airing them out, washing them, and following general scent control best practices. In the end, this will help you have a more successful hunt and avoid alerting the deer to your presence.