Scent Control 101
By: Heath Wood
As a young teenager, my obsession with hunting grew with each passing day. Like many other small-town boys and girls, I spent the late summer watching hunting videos in hopes of learning more about harvesting a mature buck.
While trying to obtain more knowledge, I found a favorite video series by Hunters Specialties. In the late nineties and early two-thousands, scent elimination was something that many hunters were eager to understand. In the Hunters Specialties videos, they often spoke of the scent-a-way, scent elimination system. From the early 2000s to the present day, when buying a Scent-A-Way product, the package or bottle lists the scent control system in three steps. By following the three-step system, hunters have a more extensive advantage of remaining scent free when chasing mature bucks.
Fast forward to 2008, my childhood dream came to fruition. From 2008 until 2016, I served on the pro staff for Hunters Specialties, where I hunted, promoted, and tested their many products. During that time, I became more familiar with the Scent-A-Way products and learned how each product worked. Today, after working with several hunting companies in the industry, I believe in the same scent elimination system I discovered many years ago.
After hunting for twenty-five years and acquiring knowledge as I grow older, I have attained a few tips and tricks that can be added along with the original scent control system. By combining these tactics, hunters can fool a deer and fight against their number one defense, their nose.
I must admit that most of the things learned in the battle between human odor and deer have been gained only after a deer has smelled me or a foreign odor that they know isn’t right. This typically results in deer spooking and leaving the area. After the fact, I knew I needed to stay faithful to the scent control system combined with some of my tricks. Fewer deer smell me, and I have been fortunate enough to harvest several deer.
Step 1 – Clothing
The three steps in the scent control system are clothes, body, and field. The first step is washing all hunting clothing in a scent-eliminating detergent, then drying clothes and storing them in a scent-free bag or container.
One significant setback for hunting clothes is the everyday laundry that is done in the same washing machine and dryer. Most household detergents used on everyday street clothes are perfumed or have a strong smell. Day after day of high fragrance detergents being used, the inside of the washing machine and dryer will most likely have a strong fragrance that sticks to hunting clothes.
First and foremost, I begin my hunting laundry regimen by spraying the inside of the washing machine with Scent-A-Way spray. By eliminating odors before doing laundry, the scent-controlling detergents can fight odors on the clothes instead of all the fragrances inside the machine. The same goes for the dryer; before putting clean, scent-free clothes in the dryer, I first use a small ozone generator placed inside the dryer for five to six minutes. The ozone destroys all odors that are left behind.
Step 2 – Body
In my opinion, this is the most vital step in remaining scent-free while deer hunting. The odor that causes deer to spook most often is human odor. Foreign odors such as gas, food, smoke, and many others can alarm deer, yet the smell of human odor to a deer is an instant red flag of danger. The best way to eliminate human odor is by cleaning the body with scent-fighting soaps and shampoos such as Scent-A-Way body soap and shampoo.
It is vital to pay attention to detail when showering as well. Use Scent-A-Way soap and shampoo on every part of the body. Proper use helps fight human odors from developing later while hunting.
After using scent-eliminating soaps, the mistake many hunters make is they dry off with a towel that smells like fabric softener, flowers, or other perfume-smelling detergents commonly used in the household. The solution goes back to step one. Always wash one or two towels along with hunting garments. When drying off, use a scent-free towel that is not instantly putting foreign odors back on the body.
Step 3 – Field
In the field can refer to two things. One indicates always taking the time to dress in the field. To avoid recouping odors, hunters should wear street clothes until they arrive at their hunting destination. Many odors can cling to the hunter and clothing from simple tasks such as stopping at a gas station, restaurant, or other places where odors are prevalent. Doing so will defeat all prior efforts to remain scent-free. Dress in the field and spray all hunting garments and gear with Scent-A-Way spray, such as the Muddy safety harness and other accessories.
Over the years, I have learned it is just as vital to undress in the field as it is to dress. After hunting, many wear camo around the camp, around the house, or while riding in a vehicle; they then proceed to throw the clothes back in their bag until the next hunt, allowing human odor entry into the bag that is meant to keep these very odors out.
The second in-the-field reference explains how to keep odors eliminated while in the field. During the hunt, human odors can reemerge. Sweat is the most common event that grows human odors while hunting.
To remain scent-free throughout the hunt, it is vital to wear a moisture-absorbing base layer made with microbial products that can help prevent odors from reoccurring. Plus, they dry quickly, keeping the hunter dry and warm. I also prefer wearing carbon-based and silver-based clothing that can help absorb and destroy odors. Also, make sure to spray down periodically with Scent-A-Way spray throughout the hunt to remain scent-free.
Once clothes are scent-free, the next step is to dress in the field, not at home. Many odors can cling to the hunter and clothing from simple tasks such as stopping at a gas station, restaurant, or other places where odors are prevalent. Doing so will defeat all prior efforts to remain scent-free.