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No matter how well you shoot or how well you’re hidden, if you’re not using these scent control strategies, you’re not in the game.
by the HuntDaily staff
We hear a lot about it. We know how important it is. Unfortunately, too many hunters take a casual attitude toward reducing odors that can thwart their best-laid plans. Remember, big bucks get that way for a reason—they aren’t stupid. So, if you aren’t practicing A-Z scent control, you are rolling the dice on your chances of encountering a mature whitetail this season.
The good news is that scent management does not have to be a chore. A simple regimen that utilizes complimentary scent neutralizing and masking products like those offered by Wildlife Research Center can stack the odds in your favor. Here’s how we do it…
#1 – Shower Time
We like to call this the scent management “base layer.” That is, we start on the most problematic scent-producer of all…the human body.
Most soaps and shampoos are strongly scented, which may or may not be a huge deal to whitetails other than the fact that they are smelling something in their territory that is totally unnatural. The bigger issue is that most soaps do nothing to neutralize odors. Conventional soaps only mask your odors for a short time with their own over-the-top perfumes. That’s not a good recipe for deer hunters.
Before your morning hunt, try to shower with an odor-neutralizing wash such as Scent Killer Gold Body Wash and Shampoo. Dry off with a towel that, preferably, has been washed in Scent Killer Gold Laundry Detergent and dried without a fabric softener. Next, use a non-scented, odor-neutralizing deodorant (like the Scent Killer Gold Antiperspirant & Deodorant). You have now done everything you can to minimize your personal scent. By deodorizing yourself, you have exponentially enhanced the effectiveness of your other scent management strategies.
#2 – Laundry Day
It’s good practice to wash everything you will wear into the field with an odor-neutralizing detergent and not use fabric softeners (which are typically loaded with unnatural-smelling perfumes). This includes not only your base-, mid-, and outer-layer camos, but even your socks and underwear.
For this, we use Scent Killer Gold Laundry Detergent. One ounce will do a full load, so a 32-ounce bottle will take us all the way through hunting season. This detergent both cleans your clothes and neutralizes any remnant odors. After drying your clothes (outside on clothes line is best), store them in a scent-free bag or keep them hanging outside.
In addition to washing all of our clothes in Scent Killer Gold, we also wash our gloves, hats, head nets, fanny pack, and any other washer-safe cloth items we intend to wear or take into the field.
#3 – Spray It Down
Now that we’ve de-scented ourselves and all of our wearables, we’re ready to hit the woods, right? Wrong.
As you know (but it bears repeating), whitetail deer have incredibly sensitive olfactory senses, allowing them to pick up and analyze the faintest odor molecules. So, in essence, EVERYTHING you touch or that touches your clothing and gear has the potential to introduce unwanted scent.
Did you stop at a restaurant or gas station on your way to your hunt? Did you sit on an old french fry in your truck? Did some oil in your pickup bed get on your daypack? All of these odors can cling to you and your equipment, which is why the last thing you should do before you leave your vehicle or camp and walk to your stand is to spray down everything with a scent neutralizer like Scent Killer Gold Spray. This includes your clothing, pack, boots, gloves, and ha. The thing we like about Scent Killer Gold Spray is that it keeps on working even after it’s dry, so one application before you hit the woods will keep you covered all day.
#4 – Maintenance
Now, the caveat to our previous statement. A pre-hunt spray-down with Scent Killer Gold will keep your clothing and gear scent-free all day. The problem is, we produce odor throughout the day—our hands sweat, body oils surface, we’re touching our clothing and equipment and in spite of our best efforts, by the end of the day we’re back to our familiar role as odor factories.
For these reasons, we always carry with us a pack of Scent Killer Gold Field Wipes. These moist wipes not only clean you up, but neutralize any odors that may have built up on your skin. These wipes are especially great when hunting early in the season, when mid-day temperatures can get uncomfortably warm. A quick wipe-down of our face and hands after lunch and we’re back in scent stealth mode for the rest of the day. And even though our early morning spray-down took care of our clothes and equipment, we’ve been handling things and transferred those built-up odors to our gear. For this, we carry some Scent Killer Gold spray in a small one- or two-ounce bottle we picked up at the drug store. It fits conveniently in our pocket or fanny pack, and is enough to provide a touch-up to our clothing or equipment if the weather is hot and we’ve been sweating.
#5 – Cover Up
Finally, to ensure that we have armed ourselves with every possible scent control advantage, we deploy cover or masking scents once we get to our stands.
Cover and masking scents take the form of odors that are naturally occurring and are familiar to wildlife. These can be plant or food source scents, such as pine, earth, apple, or acorn, or common animal scents like deer or coon urine. The idea behind cover and masking scents is that they 1) help to obscure any remnant human scent that may be on you or your gear, and 2) can help calm skittish deer if they sense you.
For best results, apply cover scents to brush, tree limbs, or wicks placed six or seven feet above the ground so that the scent can disperse across a wider area. If we’re hunting an oak stand the deer have been hitting, for example, we’ll apply some of Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Storm Acorn Cover Scent in two or three spots around our stand so that we’re covered regardless of wind direction.
#6 – Be Vigilant
Always remember…scent management is important ALL THE TIME, not just when you’re hunting. Any time you go into your hunting area, whether to scout, set up mock scrapes, or to set up or check your trail cams, ensure you are as scent-free as when you are actually on your stand hunting. A lot of hunters get lazy about this, but you shouldn’t. Dragging your scent around the woods—especially in your key areas—is bad practice. It will not only alert resident deer to your invasion of their space, it can make them wary if they do come in or even cause them to change patterns and avoid your hunting area altogether.
Scent management can seem like a burdensome and sometimes futile exercise, but if you make it part of your hunting routine, it is neither. Fortunately, combining a thoughtful strategy with scent control products that complement each other, from the shower stall to the tree stand, will put the odds of fooling a big buck in your favor this year.
article copyright © 2016 HuntDaily.com; promoted by Wildlife Research Center, Inc.