When we used to do fieldwork, we used sulphur powder in a sock. It worked alright, but did not kill ticks, just repelled them. It did well for chiggers, too. It did make everything in the laundry smell like rotten eggs when you washed your clothes after using it, however.
As for smell, deer smell everything from about a mile away, including your OFF, Thermacell, what you had for lunch, etc. The only issue is whether they have come to associate the smell with danger or not.