Do Propane Heaters Affect Deer Hunting? Find Out Now

by Derrick | Last Updated: August 15, 2021

We, deer hunters, try to avoid two things at all costs: frozen toes and the God-forsaken sound of a deer blowing louder than a bulldozer engine throughout the all but peaceful woods. So, what can you do to eliminate one of these problems without causing another? Simple. Portable propane heaters.

Scent Control With Propane Heaters

Everyone who hunts whitetail deer has more than likely been obsessed with their scent and scent cover. You may be afraid that the pungent smell of propane blasting from your buddy heater might blow your cover, but there are a few things to consider. A deer uses its nose for only three things: finding food, scouting for potential mating partners, and sniffing out predators.

Think about a large farming operation in the Midwest. Rows of corn and soybeans laid out like a quilt across thousands of acres with an array of undoubtedly unnatural scents such as diesel, propane, and kerosene. But we won’t see a deer running from a limitless food source because of the scent of something unrelated to predation.

Looking at how gases behave in the natural world, propane fumes rise after coming out of the burner. Propane also tends to mask other scents in its surroundings. No, this doesn’t mean you should soak your hunting clothes in propane fumes before heading out into the woods this fall. But there could be some benefits propane has that could keep you from getting winded.

When Will Deer Be On High Alert?

Depending on what part of the country you are hunting, bucks will likely have their guard down when you are using your propane heater. In most whitetail country, a deer will be on high alert the first 2-3 weeks into the season. If you’re hunting in the southeast, you will be more concerned with the scent of the 8 gallons of Repel 40% DEET you have doused yourself in to fight the ticks and mosquitoes. As the rut gets closer and the temperatures begin to drop, the deer’s focus shifts from food and predation to sniffing out estrus. There are very few things a whitetail buck cares about more than closing in on a doe in heat, and propane vapors aren’t one of them. Post rut, when temperatures are likely at their coldest, is when you’ll probably have your propane heater cranked out to the equivalence of an F22 fighter jet. This will be more than okay since the late-season bucks who have survived thus far are famished from 2 weeks of chasing does and are in dire need of gorging themselves with food and not worried about this random smell whatsoever. 

Sound Matters – Get The Right Type Of Propane Heater

There are only two things I would be careful about when using a propane heater in the field. The first would be the noise. The roar of a propane heater is a dead giveaway that something isn’t natural in the woods and would at BEST put any wild animal on full alert. One would assume that a whitetail hunter would have enough sense to turn the burner down or even off if a deer came within proximity to the blind, but a reminder never hurts. Secondly, would be the thought that a deer might be able to see the shine of the propane bottle, or worse, the glow of the burner itself. Again, there should be enough sense there to conceal the propane heater within the blind before this even begins to become an issue, but I have been wrong before. 

Luckily, the vast majority of hunters who use a portable propane heater will not have to worry about the chances of their heat source being seen, heard, or even scented because of the apparent fact that they will be in enclosed blind. There may be a few exceptions here but even if you are a natural blind dweller, remember to burn it low and hide the glow. If you are in an enclosed blind, be sure to keep your health in mind and have some ventilation. If not, you could become light-headed, dizzy, or even pass out due to lack of oxygen, and the deer would be the last of your worries. 

Blind Placement When Using A Heater

Place the blind down wind from access points where deer may be traveling, this will help ensure they do not smell you or the heater in your blind . While also keeping your blind location at least 15-20 yards from the animal trail.

Blind placement is also important to keep lines of sight in check.  A propane heater will make a glowing light of varying degrees depending on the type of heater you are using.  Controlling how much of this light can be seen from a distance is important so it doesn’t give your position away to deer and help ensure hunting success.

Will A Buddy Heater Scare Off Deer?

A portable propane heater can be used in our hunting blinds, but only if it is approved for indoor use. The Little Buddy Propane Heater is a good choice for hunting blinds. It’s light, quiet and clean to burn and makes very little noise. 

Overall, it shouldn’t scare off deer if you follow our recommendations to keep it on low to avoid significant sound output, setup your blind location downwind from common deer approach routes and keep the glowing from the heater under control so deer don’t physically see this you should be in good share for a successful hunt.

Propane Heater Safety Tips & Other Important Information

Humidity & Moisture Control

When interior humidity rises as temperatures drop outdoors, condensation can occur on the glass or plastic hunting blind windows, this is the reverse of what happens when you have a cold beverage on a warmer temperature day. To control humidity and moisture build up within your ground blind you should make sure to ventilate the blind this will not only keep you safe, but will also help release some of the moisture produced from burning propane off your window.  With proper ventilation you shouldn’t have to worry about steamed up windows at all.

Ventilation For Safety 

Proper ventilation is also important for general safety when using a propane heater.  Many common hunting blind heaters will have low oxygen shutoff, but I wouldn’t depend on it.  Keep some airflow within your blind and get a Co2 detector.

Wrapping Up

In summary, keep working to make your hunting blind more comfortable because more time in the woods is more time that you have a chance to see the perfect deer.  During cold season hunts a propane heater can make long hours in a blind tremendously more tolerable.