I’ve been pursuing whitetails with bows and guns for nearly 40 years, so when a company promises that their new product will improve my success, I’m a skeptic of Boone and Crockett proportions. That said, I do try to keep an open mind, so each year I’ll bring a few new products into the field to give them a fair shot.
One such product is the Ozonics scent-destroying device. Like many of you, I’d heard about Ozonics before (TV hunting shows mostly), but never really gave the unit serious consideration. For starters, I prefer to travel light when hunting from a treestand or ground blind, and I just couldn’t see myself carrying an Ozonics unit in my daypack each day. And would it really help to fool a whitetail’s nose? Like I said, I was skeptical.
But prior to this hunting season, a friend of mine loaned me his Ozonics HR-200. “Dave, just give it a try on your South Dakota whitetail vacation,” he said. “All you have to do is hang it over your head in the stand, point it downwind and press the power button. I think it makes a difference but want to get your take on it.”
What is Ozone?
You can read about all of this on the company’s website, but here’s a summary:
Ozone is a naturally occurring molecule created in one of two ways (see below). Both methods separate the oxygen molecule to form ozone.
- Lightning: When lightning passes through the air, the electric current produced passes through and fractures the oxygen (O2) to create ozone (O3). That fresh, clean smell after a thunderstorm is the smell of ozone.
- UV light: Oxygen in the presence of 185 nm UV light creates ozone.
Ozone is a colorless gas and powerful oxidizing agent; it’s often used commercially to kill bacteria as well as to purify and sanitize. For example, ozone is used to purify drinking water, sterilize hospital rooms, remove smoke and other nasty smells from buildings and car interiors, and purify the air in hotels and restaurants.
Does It Work for Hunters?
Let me just say this: I’m too stupid to fully grasp the science behind Ozonics, but I’m smart enough to recognize when something is working in my favor.
True story: On my very first morning sit during my 2-week SoDak whitetail rut hunt, I carried Ozonics into the field but was still too skeptical to use it. I was bowhunting a river-bottom flat where deer can arrive from any direction, and I had a doe decoy placed upwind of my 15-foot treestand. Of course, the first deer – a doe and two fawns – entering the river-bottom walked in behind (downwind) of me, and at a distance of 60 yards they snorted and then fled. Cursing my bad luck, I kept my head on a swivel to watch for other whitetails.
Next to enter the river-bottom was a basket-rack 4×4; he was crosswind of me initially, but soon he traveled in a downwind direction, placing him in my scent-stream. And as with the doe/fawn family, he stopped in his tracks 80 yards downwind of me, raised his nose, snorted and then ran out of the river-bottom.
At this point, I figured things couldn’t get much worse, so I reached into my daypack and pulled out the Ozonics HR-200. I actually said these words in my mind: I’ve carried this damn thing for a half-mile into this spot, so I might as well give it a shot.
In about 2 minutes, I had the unit hanging over my head and pointed downward at a 45-degree angle. I pressed the power button and went back to searching for whitetails. Because the winds in the river-bottom often swirl as they come off the higher prairie and farm fields, at times I could catch a whiff of ozone, but usually it was moving off behind me.
Time and time again during my morning sit, I had deer circle my treestand, get downwind of my location, and stop and raise their nose. They smelled the ozone, but not me. It was incredible to witness! But a true field-test takes longer than a single 4-hour morning bowhunt, so I decided then and there to continue bringing the Ozonics HR-200 into the field.
Which brings us to today. After a dozen trips into the field during the past 2 weeks in South Dakota (24 morning/afternoon hunting blocks), I can honestly say that Ozonics is a game-changer. I’ve had more than 100 deer downwind of my various treestands, and not a single one has busted me. At times they stop and lift their nose to try and pick apart the upwind smells (me!), but they have not reacted negatively. Most often they simply continue on their normal route. Of course, I still do my best to hunt into the wind, but because of unpredictable river-bottom winds, it’s comforting to know that Ozonics has my back.
Science Behind the System
As I said before, I’m not smart enough to really understand the science behind Ozonics. So I’ll simply copy/paste the info below from the company’s website so you can learn more.
Everything required to generate ozone is contained in the unit itself—you don’t need to add any powder or liquid. As long as you have a charged battery and the unit is on, it is producing ozone. Ozonics utilizes a process called the corona discharge method to create ozone, which is the same method lightning uses to create ozone naturally. In an Ozonics unit, oxygen from the air is pulled into the unit and forced between high-voltage plates to simulate the corona discharge method. The oxygen (O2) is broken apart and recombines to form ozone (O3). The ozone is then dispersed from the front of the unit with a whisper-quiet internal fan.
Ozonics features technology that transforms ordinary, ambient oxygen into scent destroying ozone, a molecule that has two important characteristics – first, ozone is highly unstable so it readily bonds with human scent molecules and second, ozone is heavy which ensures it will fall through your scent zone when projected from above.
Important note: The Ozonics website features several how-to videos to help you understand the overall system. One of the best is from diehard deer hunter Luke Hartle. Check it out below.