MASTERING SCENT FREE HUNTING: A GUIDE TO A FOUNDATIONAL SCENT CONTROL SYSTEM
Can you really beat a Whitetail's nose? Fooling an animal that has a nose system made up of 297 million olfactory receptors (humans have about 5 million) is a daunting task. No product can guarantee to make you 100% scent free. Modern science is getting very close to achieving this goal, but being completely scent free is a myth. Scent control and containment is arguably the most important building block in your hunting routine. Making this achievable comes down to strict adherence to some fundamentals. In situations where every second counts, don’t you want as many extra seconds as possible? Here is a plan on how to begin.
START WITH A FOUNDATION
Rome was not built in a day, but the beginning of your scent management system can be. Twenty-five years ago, there were few options for a hunter to manage his scent. Today, if you were to shop for scent prevention products, your brain would be on overload. Hunters are living in the golden age of scent control and you need to take advantage. You can devise a scent control system for under $100.
When you breakdown a scent control system, there are five basic components:
- Laundry room: Ultraviolet (UV) and scent free laundry detergent and scent free dryer sheets
- Bathroom: Scent free soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and drying towel
- Garage: Airtight containers or bags and an ozone closet
- Vehicle: Plug-in ozone generator
- To and from your stand: Scent elimination sprays, cover scents, and ozone generators
Over the past 30 years, I have taken many different approaches in the quest to be scent free. Countless articles have been read, numerous seminars have been attended, and different products have been used before and during hunting. This has ultimately led me to the scent control system I adhere to now. I could write an encyclopedia series on the scent control systems I have used, the one I currently follow, and the products I trust. Find out what you can afford and what works for you. Implement it every time you go hunting and you will become a better hunter because of it.
Generally, hunters wear at least two layers of clothing: one against the body (base layer) and a jacket with pants (outer layer). Combining odor absorption into the base and outer layers offers two levels that combat odor and helps make you a more effective hunter.
About 30 years ago, carbon lined clothing came into existence and revolutionized the hunting industry. Scent Lok™ and Scent Blocker™ were two of the first companies to incorporate carbon into hunting clothing and are still available today. Since then, Polygiene™ and silver infused fabrics have come into existence. Merino wool remains one of the best odor-absorbing clothing options on the market.
Give your head, hands, and feet equal consideration. Your head produces and releases sweat. Think about all the things your hands touch. You walk on the same trails the deer you are hunting do. Purchasing a hat and gloves that are fast drying and absorb odor are musts. Rubber boots contain scent incredibly well and higher end hiking style boots typically have a scent suppression layer built in.
ODOR MOLECULES: 101
The greatest innovation to hunters since the trail camera is the portable ozone generator.
Ozone generators have been around for decades. They are used in the hotel and car industries to remove unwanted odors, think cigarette smoke.
In case you are like me and did not pay attention in science, a scent molecule is a group of atoms bonded together to form the smallest unit of a chemical compound.
How does this equate to a hunter’s success? Great question.
I sat through a seminar with Ozonics’ Cole Tanner a few years ago. He explained it in a way that made sense. Cole said, in summary, if you want to think of a hunter as a molecule, think H-U-M-A-N. Each letter represents an atom bonded together to form the molecule. Your scent molecules are carried out by the wind in a cone like pattern. A deer smells H-U-M-A-N, and instinctively associates it with danger. Ozone is carried out by the wind too and forms a blanket over your scent pattern. The ozone attacks H-U-M-A-N and alters it H-M-N. A deer does not associate H-M-N as danger and continues to approach your stand.
Over the years, Scott Bestul1 has written several articles about scent control for Field and Stream magazine. He uses a highly trained police dog to assist with the tests. The ozone caused the police dog to take an incredible 50 extra seconds before alerting. Think of a near opportunity you had hunting where the outcome could have been different if there were 50 extra seconds.
PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY
This is often referred to as luck, but the best hunters are prepared and make the most of their opportunities. As a hunter, we need every second to count. It can be the difference between success and failure. If you are going to give time, spend money, and dedicate effort, why would you not want to be as prepared as possible? Pay closer attention to the details and gain as many extra seconds as you can. Your scent control system will be the secret to your consistent success.
1Scott Bestul, Does it Work? Ozone Scent Control vs. Drug-Sniffing Dog (Field and Stream, August 2019, https://www.fieldandstream.com/does-scent-control-work/ )
Author: Exodus Black Hat Team Member Geoff Guzinski