Monday, December 28, 2009
Attack of the killer deer pee
In the fall when the deer are in rut there's always a pretty strong smell of deer piss in the woods. Sometimes I'll come upon a fresh puddle and the smell will be overpowering. It tends to linger in the nostrils for quite a while. This is not my favorite olfactory experience. In fact, it makes me faintly queasy--I don't understand how hunters can bear the stink of the store-bought pee they use to lure horny bucks.
By late December the mating business is mostly over and the aroma of love subsides, but this morning I walked into a little hollow where the air reeked of it. I kept walking, thinking I'd get past the source of the smell, but it just got stronger. I felt a little sick, and then a little dizzy. There was no way to get a clean breath so I decided I'd just stop and ponder the experience.
It didn't make any sense for the stink to be so powerful and I wondered if it might be some sort of hallucination. I bet I'm not the only perfume freak who occasionally smells a familiar fragrance that isn't actually present. Maybe the deer funk was a figment of my imagination, aided by sense memory. More likely, though, it was another phenomenon that is common among the scent-obsessed--something I think of as The Blob Effect. That's when a scent that is objectively mild and inoffensive suddenly takes over your environment, smothering you with its presence even though other people might barely be able to detect it.
In any case, the longer I stood there breathing in the aroma of pee, the less horrible it smelled to me. I even began to like it a little. It still made me dizzy, but dizzy isn't necessarily bad. I saw one small doe about 40 yards away, ambling through the trees. She looked so sweet. It occurred to me that I was channeling a horny buck, and that was slightly disturbing so I decided to head back to my car.
More than 12 hours later, as I sit here anointed with perfume in a house scented with candles, I can still smell a faint scent of deer pee. Not so nice, but there are worse things I could be smelling.
Photo by Emery Way from Wikimedia Commons.