If you want to be consistently successful, don’t wear your hunting clothes while on or near your ATV or other motorized vehicles. Once you’ve filled your tag, well, that’s a different story.
By Bob Humphrey
Big game animals like deer, bear and elk have an exceptionally keen sense of smell, which they use to detect danger. In order to be consistently successful hunting them, you need to reduce human and other foreign odors to the maximum extent possible. This requires a complete scent control system.
It begins at the source. Human odor is largely the result of bacteria. Bathing with scent-free soap washes away bacteria, their odorous byproducts and the dead skin and other organic debris they feed upon, temporarily. Mike Jordan of ATSKO, makers of Sport Wash, strongly recommends using a soap that leaves no residue. Most shampoos and soaps, even some designed specifically to eliminate odor, contain non-cleaning additives like moisturizers, perfumes and vitamins. “At best, some of these proteins, oils and other compounds may aid dry skin or provide a pleasant smell, but they are left behind on the skin and hair,” says Jordan. They also have an odor that is easily detected by a deer’s keen nose.
In time, the soap’s active ingredients wear out and bacteria reform. This is why you also need to spray yourself with a scent-suppressing solution like Hunter’s Specialties’ Scent-A-Way. And don’t forget to spray down your equipment as well. You can also eliminate reformation of odor-causing bacteria by wearing a base layer that is topically treated with an anti-microbial solution. This helps mitigate odor by wicking the perspiration into the fabric, where odor-causing bacteria are destroyed by anti-microbials.
All of the above will handle bacteria and its byproducts, but your body still emits odor-causing anaphylactic acids that none of the soaps can touch. That’s why you need to wear odor-absorbing, carbon-impregnated outer layer like Scent-Lok or Scent Blocker. You can enhance that further with the very latest in odor control technology. Portable ionization machines convert stable oxygen molecules into supercharged molecule bundles that are lethal to all forms of bacteria, virus, mold, mildew, fungus and other odor-causing micro-organisms.
In addition to washing your body you also need to wash your clothes, and again use a soap that leaves no residue (or fabric brighteners). Once clean, you want to keep your hunting clothes odor free for as long as possible by storing them in an airtight, scent-free container. And leave them there until you’re ready to hunt. That means you wear your street clothes in the truck, and on your ATV. Don’t change into your hunting clothes until you’re ready to go afoot.
When it comes to scent control, some folks are lax, which probably explains their lack of success. Others go to great lengths with some aspects; but even that’s not enough. You’ve got to address all forms and sources of odor. Think of your scent control system as a drive train. One weak link and the machine won’t run.