I’m always asked while speaking at shows or working events exactly how a hunter can remain scent-free. I first chuckle a bit, and preface my explanation by saying “it takes a lot of work.” If the people seem up for the challenge, I’ll elaborate.
Sometimes they’ll reply “I’ll just keep playing the wind” or “I can’t afford that fancy stuff” and move on. But for those who stick around, those dedicated hard-core hunters who want to become better at their craft, here’s how I describe a perfect, scent-free day.
Human scent-control needs to be pursued on four levels, with the first being internal. We are what we eat, and need to keep that in mind well before the season starts. Ideally, the hard-core scent-free hunter will up their intake of chlorophyll-rich odor-eating green vegetables. At the same time, they’ll end their romance with odor-increasing foods and drink such as coffee, alcohol, spicy things, and red meat! Thankfully, for the rest of us who enjoy food too much, there’s still hope. I recommend beginning a daily routine of taking the recommended dosage of internal deodorant pills along with Sportsmen’s Edge vitamins. I personally take these vitamins year-round and begin with the deodorant pills about a month before the archery season begins.
Next, the scent-free hunter needs to focus on the external layer of their body—their skin and hair. ScentBlocker makes all sorts of products that will help with this level of the smelly threat. I first shower and use scent-eliminating shampoo and body wash. Then, after I dry off with a scent-free towel, I’ll lather up with hair and body deodorant, even on my scalp. Once that dries, I use unscented underarm antiperspirant/deodorant, brush my teeth with unscented toothpaste, and put on scent-free jeans and a T-shirt for the drive to my hunting location.
Let me first start by saying scent-control clothing is a good investment, and yes, at times, it is quite an investment. But if it’s cared for properly, this gear will become the hunter’s best friend aside from their weapon. I do not have the luxury of two laundry systems in my home so I first run a “cleansing” load of nothing but water and unscented detergent in my washer, followed by all of my clothing and unscented detergent. Then, the same thing happens in my dryer. I’ll spray it out and scrub it with scent-free wipes before drying a “cleansing load” of just unscented dryer sheets. While this is happening, my wet, just washed, de-scented clothes are air drying outside. Once they are dry I bring them into the clean dryer and activate them based on their recommended directions. This clothing then immediately gets stored in a ScentBlocker dry bag with an Odor Dry disk in the bottom. I squeeze out all of the air in the bag, and place it in a scent-free rubber tote that will spend the rest of the fall in my truck.
When I arrive at my hunting location, I park, hop out, grab my tote, and get dressed in the field. I put on the minimum layer for a comfortable walk to my treestand. The key here is to not overdress and break a sweat. In warm conditions, I’ll often find myself warming up and will need to stop for a moment or two to cool off. I’ve often noticed that my slow walk to the stand also ends up alerting less deer to my presence, which is a nice bonus. At the tree, I’ll get fully dressed before climbing up and locking in for safety.
Once the hunt is over, I reverse the process. Sometimes if I’m cold I’ll keep all my gear on for the walk back to the truck. Other times, I’ll undress again at the base of the tree and slowly walk out. Either way, my clothing goes back into the bag, and into the tote before I hop in the driver’s seat.
With even the most strict scent control regimen, the exterior layer is crucial. Think of that sweaty old bow release that you shot all summer long. Well, it still stinks, especially if it’s leather. Everything we use, from rangefinders and binoculars to bows and arrows, needs to be sprayed down. I use ScentBlocker’s Ti4 because it kills scent four different ways. I also chew scent-free gum to take care of the one flaw in my scent-control system—my breath. I also wear a full scent-control face mask.
Bits and pieces
Scent control is not rocket science and it isn’t easy, but is well worth the effort. If anything, remember that deer will often come into a stand location to investigate long after the hunter is gone. For this reason alone (if not the many other benefits to scent-free hunting), a hunter needs to try and remain invisible. Many decent stand setups are ruined not during the hunt itself, but by the residual human scent left behind.
ScentBlocker has also innovated the perfect all-in-one scent-control/safety garment with their new Spider Web safety apparel. No longer will we safety-minded hunters face the dilemma of what to do once we’ve hiked a mile to our secret treestand only to realize we forgot our safety harness. With Spider Web, you’d already be wearing it!
As always, be safe this fall and hunt smart. With a little know how and dedication this could be your best season ever. From all of us at ScentBlocker, good luck and let us know how you do!
Image courtesy Jason Herbert/Robinson Outdoor Products