How do I keep deer from smelling me while hunting? The answer to this question is one of the most sought-after among deer hunters each year.
Over the years, the hunting industry has produced thousands of products to give hunters the upper hand against the whitetail's nose. Products range from scent-eliminating sprays, detergents, soaps, shampoos, storage bags, scent-controlling clothing, and the list goes on. Whether you believe in them or not, every hunter knows that you must compete against a deer's incredible sense of smell if you want to be successful.
In my opinion, scent control products work enough that hunters must use them every time they hunt. No, you will not fool every deer in the woods, and yes, you will have a deer smell you periodically if you spend enough time hunting, yet the pros outweigh the cons. When skeptics say scent control products do not work, they probably have made a mistake when using a product and assumed it didn't work.
When scent control products are used in the fight between a hunter and a whitetail's nose, the hunter must use the products one hundred percent to gain the full potential of scent elimination. Listed below are five sins of scent control that cause hunters to be detected by a deer's nose. Perhaps you will discover that you have unknowingly made one of the mistakes on a past hunt. This overlooked mistake may be the missing link to a complete scent elimination regimen that can indeed keep you scent-free from deer while on your next hunt.
Field Dressing - Before And After The Hunt
One of the top reasons hunters accumulate unwanted odors is not keeping hunting clothing and gear scent-free before the hunt. To ensure all gear remains scent-free, it is crucial to dress in the field before hunting. Many hunters take the time to wash their hunting clothes and gear in scent eliminating detergents and soaps, only to get dressed and jump inside their vehicles where foreign odors are fierce. Anytime you wear hunting clothes in a place other than a hunting area, such as a vehicle, you soak up unwanted odors. Your vehicle smells like sweat, dirt, food, smoke, perfumes, and much more.
To prevent absorbing any odors into your clothes and your boots before hunting, keep them in a scent-free bag until you arrive at your hunting location, then dress in the field. Another critical factor is to get un-dressed in the field after the hunt as well. Many men and women wear their hunting gear back home or camp before undressing and putting them back into a safe scent bag.
Gas And Food
The second sin of scent control is related to the first. It too attributes to wearing clothes and boots before or after hunting. Two of the most common odors that become attached to clothes, gear, and the body itself before hunting are gas and food.
On many occasions, hunters head to their hunting location only before stopping at the gas station and pumping gas in the clothes they will be hunting in. The fumes of gas absorb into clothing, leaving an unwanted odor soaked into the clothing. Another common stop is for food. It may be at a local restaurant, gas station, or even in your kitchen before leaving home. Whatever the case may be, the smell of food is notorious for absorbing into your clothing. Instead, dress in street clothes when going to and from hunting locations and plan before the hunt. Have gas in the vehicle the night before and eat before you go.
Shower Before The Hunt - Every Time!
The number one scent that will mess up a hunt when a deer smells it is the human scent. If I could only use one form of scent elimination, it would consist of scent-eliminating soaps and shampoos before the hunt.
Hunters often make a mistake when they are in a hurry to hunt and ignore their human scent. I hear many hunters say, I always spray down before every hunt, and deer still smell me. The reason for continually being smelled is because spraying down controls the odors formed onto the clothing or gear you are spraying, yet, the scent freed from your body continues to release odors; that is the smell that spooks deer.
It is vital to wash your entire body before the hunt. By showering first, it ensures that all human scent from the body is removed. I think it is vital to wear a base layer clothing that is moisture-wicking and has some odor absorber or neutralizers such as carbon or silver. The combination of scent-controlling clothing from the base and a clean body from the start will keep more deer from smelling you than any other scent control tactic.
Laundry Is Not Done Properly
Keeping unwanted odors away from your body and your gear begins with how you do your laundry. After doing laundry in odor-fighting detergents, I began noticing that afterward, I could still smell a scent on my clothing. After searching for details of what was causing the odor to linger, I discovered that all my clothes were scent-free when I got them out of the washing machine. However, as I was putting them into the dryer, I could immediately smell the perfumes in the dryer from previous loads of laundry. After discovering the scent in the dryer, I realized that those perfumes remaining in the dryer were absorbing into my hunting clothes when drying. From then on, while my clothes are washing, I place my Scentlok OZ Radial ozone generator in the dryer for twenty minutes before using. By using the ozone in the dryer first, all odors have been destroyed, leaving my clothes scent-free after drying as well.
Another common mistake with laundry is that of the towel you use after showering. I removed all human odors when taking a shower, only to dry off with a towel filled with perfume-enhanced laundry detergent from our everyday laundry. Instead of smelling like nothing, I smelled like spring flowers after a rain. To prevent unwanted odors from my towels, I began washing two to three towels with my hunting clothes, ensuring I dry off with a scent-free towel as well.
Respect The Wind
No matter how many scent-eliminating tools you use or how often you use them, it is essential to respect a deer's nose and the wind. I believe in scent elimination, yet I feel like paying attention to wind direction and only hunting, when the wind is in your favor is vital for success. However, I disagree with hunters who say you can only use the wind to be successful. To achieve valid scent-free hunting, scent elimination products and paying attention to the wind must be used together.
You may also want to check out the 7 sins that will cost you a buck on opening day.