It’s no secret that hunters wash all their hunting clothes in scent-eliminating detergents to remove any foreign odors that might be alarming to a whitetail deer's nose. Some hunters even use scent-eliminating dryer sheets or sheets infused with fresh earth smells to help hide any odors that might be left behind. After the laundry is done, the clothes typically get stored in scent-protected bags or totes to keep any odors from getting onto them until they are used for hunting. Scent eliminating detergents and scent control bags are a critical step to most hunter's scent control regimen. It may even be one of the most critical steps in fooling the almighty nose of a whitetail buck.
Another step to a standard scent-elimination system for hunters is to shower, using scent-eliminating soaps and shampoos. Ensuring that foreign odors are washed away on your clothing and gear is a must. Yet, you must also pay attention to the scent details of your body and, truthfully, anything that your body encounters before getting to the field to hunt. Let’s pretend for a moment that you didn't have access to the luxuries of a washing machine or a dryer, and there was no running water to wash away odors, would you still be able to fool the nose of a whitetail?
Each year I have a few hunts that consist of two to three days of hunting away from home. During these occasions, I take my obsession with scent control along for the ride. I often carry my hunting bag equipped with an ozone generator to help keep my clothing and gear away from odors as well as scent-free until I am ready to hunt. I go as far as keeping my bow, arrows, and a few other small accessories in my Easton Archery Deluxe Roller Bow Case. The case is excellent for keeping my equipment protected and organized while traveling away from home. As a bonus, I use my ScentLok OZ Radial Nano Mossy Oak Bottomland ozone generator inside the case to keep my gear free from any harmful odors. When I hunt, I can open my Deluxe Bow Case, and everything is scent-free ready to take to the field.
On my hunts, it can be challenging to keep everything away from odors. Like many hunters, I use scent-eliminating sprays, cover scents, and pay attention to the wind direction to help fight the battle of getting busted by a mature buck's nose. For hunters who spend time traveling through the fall to their favorite hunting destinations or spending a week or more at deer camp, they can vouch that sometimes ripe odors can develop when there are no resources to clean clothes or, for that matter, clean yourself. Scent elimination can be a task; however, it is not impossible. I recently visited with Matt Jennings, who spends several days each fall traveling across the country while hunting and filming for his television show, The Game. If anyone knows how to travel across the country, stay scent-free, and shoot mature bucks because of it, it is Woodland, Alabama's Matt Jennings.
When he shot his first deer at 8 years old while sitting in his daddy's lap, Jennings knew that the excitement he experienced was something he wanted more of. To get a month earlier start on hunting, and because he says his daddy wouldn't let him rifle hunt, Jennings picked up bow hunting when he was 10 years old. After beginning to hunt with a bow, Jennings's obsession with the sport never slowed down. In 2019, The Game television show began. Now, Jennings travels and hunts while filming for his show in several states each fall, keeping him on the road for an extended time.
If you have watched Jennings on his show that is featured on Carbon T.V., YouTube, or on the Mossy Oak Go App, it is no secret that he has figured out how to shoot mature bucks by staying scent-free consistently. Those three things, scent-free, traveling, and mature bucks, can be a challenging mix to put together and be successful consistently. To learn how Jennings has mastered taking mature bucks across the country, I recently visited with him to get his strategies of staying scent-free on the road and harvesting mature bucks.
For the upcoming fall season, Jennings starts by hunting in Tennessee for an early-season August velvet hunt, flies to Minnesota to a bear camp for a week, and then flies back to Kentucky for a deer hunt. The journey continues to Georgia, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and back home to Alabama.
With Jennings’ busy hunting schedule, he spends many hours inside his truck traveling from one state to another, not to mention the time spent going back and forth while hunting. That is where Jennings says his scent-control regimen begins, "When spending as much time in the truck as we do, you gain odors from fast food, gas, and many other odors that you don't want in the truck or don't need in the truck" says Jennings. He explains that he stores all his hunting clothing and gear inside scent-safe bags such as the ScentLok BE:1 8K Ozone Bag to prevent nasty odors from accumulating while traveling. Keeping all gear in scent-protected bags eliminates any odors from getting on gear that will be used in the field.
Jennings also says he is a big believer in ozone technology to keep his truck deodorized and free of odors from fast food and other odors obtained from traveling with his field producer for several weeks in a row. "I use my ScentLok OZ Radial Nano ozone generator periodically inside my truck to keep those odors destroyed," says Jennings. Using ozone when traveling inside your vehicle converts the cab of your truck into a scent closet for gear and yourself. If taking efforts to ozone periodically, you are giving yourself a head start on the constant fight against keeping unwanted odors out of your hunting area.
The second step to Jennings’ on the road effort to be scent-free when ready to hunt is to store his hunting clothing and gear. As mentioned earlier, showering in scent-eliminating soaps and washing hunting clothing in scent-eliminating detergents are both common steps for hunters trying to beat the whitetail's nose while hunting. Another common task in scent control efforts is that of storing clothes in scent-protected bags or totes. Jennings explained he doesn’t always have a washing machine and a dryer to clean clothes after a hunt when on the road.
When he doesn’t have access to clean his hunting gear, Jennings states he relies on the modern technology of ozone and carbon to destroy odors instead. “I will soon be on a bear hunt in Minnesota for five days, with no access to modern living,” says Jennings. He added, “In those five days, I will take two sets of clothing, but when I need my gear to be refreshed and free of odors, I will use my new ScentLok BE:1 8K bag in Mossy Oak Terra Gilla, along with the included OZ Radial Nano ozone generator.”
Jennings went on to explain that he wears a lot of carbon clothing as well to help control his human scent. The fall back to carbon is that it must be reactivated every so often to allow the carbon to absorb more unwanted odors. “Carbon has always needed to be reactivated by putting gear in a hot dryer to do so; the folks at ScentLok have discovered that ozone will reactivate carbon the same, without using heat,” said Jennings. No heat required is ideal for when hunters don’t have access to a dryer like Jennings will be experiencing.
“The new BE:1 OZ bag allows me to use ozone with the portable Nano generator without using electricity and the bag made with carbon lining in the walls. Now, I get a double punch of scent destroying technology using ozone and carbon,” added Jennings.
The portable technology of using ozone and carbon together will allow hunters to destroy odors virtually anywhere and anytime, even while traveling between hunting destinations.
The last remaining step for many hunters trying to remain scent-free takes part moments before walking to the stand and on some occasions in the stand throughout the hunt. The last effort comes from using scent-eliminating sprays to spray yourself and all your gear down to remove any remaining odors.
“I spray myself down from head to toe and all my gear before leaving the truck or heading into my hunting area,” says Jennings. “When I get in the stand, I may spray down as often as every thirty minutes with my HighTines Blackout Scent Eliminator spray, especially in warmer weather, to remain scent-free,” added Jennings. Using a scent eliminator spray in conjunction with carbon clothing and using a cycle of ozone while stored in scent-protected bags provides Jennings with a complete scent destroying regimen that has successfully allowed him to harvest mature bucks time and time again.
Jennings’ scent-eliminating efforts has proven to be effective on several hunts in the past few years. By being proven successful, Jennings has so much confidence in his efforts that he says he can hunt less than ideal wind directions. “A good wind direction for a hunter is a bad direction for the deer, and a good wind direction for the deer is a bad wind direction for me,” says Jennings. “I have complete confidence in my scent regimen; when it is time to hunt, I hunt.”
On December 21, 2016, Jennings recalled sitting in a tree stand in Alabama:
“It was about 9:30 in the morning, and I had not seen a deer the entire time, suddenly to my right I saw the biggest buck I had seen at that time. When I saw the buck, I stood up and doe bleated a couple of times. The buck come off the hill, blowing steam out of his nose; he made it to 30 yards and looked down my way for a bit, then since he didn’t see anything, he turned to walk away, and that is when I made a perfect double-lung shot and was able to watch him fall over at 50 yards.”
During that hunt in 2016, Jennings says he recalls saving his money that year and buying a mid-season ScentLok Carbon Alloy suit. On his hunt, he says that the buck came in downwind and never knew he was there. The buck was a county record for the biggest buck at the time. “At that moment, when I watched the buck fall, I become a believer in scent control, and I have been using it ever since,” says Jennings.
Jennings has had such great success with his scent-eliminating regime that it has allowed him to create a job that he has dreamed about and loves and from it can share his tips and experiences so that other hunters can learn how to stay scent-free while traveling.