The Essence of Scents.
Stop. If you use a scent product, like it, believe in it, read no further. Just keep using it.
This is about using common sense about scent control. Probably, I am going to make some scent control manus mad. That’s okay. This is my personal experience and my own personal opinion.
Let me make something crystal clear: If you have a product you like, believe in, then by all means, do not quit using it because this is why it works. By having confidence in it, you probably hunt longer and maybe, in places you might not have hunted without it. But understand this: Just because you killed a monster buck or six that came in directly downwind of you, does not mean that product or any product worked. Over the years, I have literally had hundreds of animals from deer to elk to coyotes, come in from my downwind side and give no indication they smelled me. I do not credit anything I do, did or have done, with that. It was just the way the wind blew. And…
I use no scent control or cover up products.
There is one scent control method that does have some positive impact. It is called cleanliness. Be clean. That means body, including hair and beard, (especially hair and behind ears.), and clothing, including hat and gloves and for sure, face mask. I wash all my clothes, including hat, etc., in unscented detergent and I sun dry, then bag. If I hunt morning and afternoon, I shower and change clothes between hunts. I shower with unscented, antibacterial soap and use it for shampoo. When it comes to footwear, 90% of the time, I wear tennis shoes. In the last 30+-years, I cannot say I ever saw a deer or any animal spook at my foot-trail. Hands, yes.
Whatever I am wearing on my feet, I wash or wade a creek in them, then sun dry and put them on when I get out of the truck. Now, please permit me to make some more people mad. Wearing knee-high or any rubber boot, does absolutely nothing to aid in scent control. It is a 100%, complete myth. It is not what you have on your feet, it is what you have on your footwear.
There is no product of any kind or at any cost on the market today that will eliminate your scent. It cannot be done. If an animal gets in the right place to catch your scent, that animal will smell you. That is a 100%, given. It cannot be debated or proven wrong. It is a fact.
That said, yes, you can, to some degree, lessen the impact. Nothing you buy or manufacture is any better than cleanliness, but you can diminish your scent. You cannot cover it up or completely obliterate it. That cannot be done, no matter how much money you spend.
There is one thing you can do that helps. It sounds ridiculous, only a few very brave souls will try it. It is painless and simple. Quit using any, repeat ANY deodorant or anti-perspirant. Shower at least once a day, twice if possible for the first two weeks. For 10-day to two weeks, you are going to really stink. Then, well…just wait and see what happens. I have not used any deodorant in almost nine years. Not a single comment, not even from my wife.
But here are two major rules: (1) If, you like and are satisfied with what you are doing, keep doing it. (2) Understand, human odor comes mainly from bacteria that is constantly produced by the human body. You cannot stop that and you cannot totally cover it up. BUT…if you adhere to a rigorous program of cleanliness, you can get by a tremendously sensitive nose…sometimes.
The police K9 dog test was really interesting. White Oak acorn cover did slightly slow the dog down but he eventually triggered on the correct box.
Agree with the rubber boots. I see no difference in how deer react to my trail whether I am wearing meticulously treated rubber boots or my leather hikers. I only wear rubber boots to stay dry.
Would anyone care to share any scent control methods they use besides the obvious use of plastic sheets and changing foot wear to prevent cross contamination from vehicles?
Yep. Elk Yinzer is dead on. That is exactly what I said.
Darton Jager- One of the worst things you can do. here is why. Baking soda is an odor ABSORBENT, not a neutralizer. As it absorbs odor, it dries, drops off just like laying scent trail of bread crumbs. But that is not the worst. (2) It cogs pores and that creates a superb "growing" environment for bacteria and that creates more odor. And yes, you need a 10-14-day period of somewhat isolation during the adjustment period because you are going to stink like a goat. All those pores you have been covering up are going to work overtime cleaning out. A sweat bath or steam room helps. But trust me, you will not believe what happens when those little openings get clean. Again, it is not magic, is not going to make scent free, is not going to keep any animal from smelling you if they get int he right spot downwind. But it is at least as effective as any product you can buy, regardless of technology or cost. If you work outside, away from folks or work alone, I challenge you to prove me wrong. But...and here is the but...you must, absolutely must, shower thoroughly at least once a day and two is even better.
Something else I encourage you to do. Get some milk weed or commercial wind detector that you can see and watch for a long period of time. A colored smoke bomb is great. Get up in a stand or something about the same height as your stand and watch. Look at how many different directions it goes, despite prevailing wind. Is it any wonder a deer or any animal can be 30-yards away, directly downwind and not smell you? Do some personal research and some playing around with wind and especially wind currents. It is quite educational and will often change your entire outlook on wind.
I think, 1999, I was outside Oak Creek, CO, hunting elk with Paul Brown. We spotted a small group of about 10-cows and two bulls across a canyon, maybe 350-yards away. As we were glassing them, they obviously winded us and took off. Paul said, "I know where they are heading. I think we can cut them off." So we gave chase.
An hour later, we were closing in and the wind shifted, blowing from us, directly to them. I mean as straight as a camper going to pee. Just for giggles, we put a stalk on them and closed to within 30-yards in the aspens. I could not get a clear shot and they finally did smell us. But that illustrates just how fickle are the wind and more so, the tendrils of air within the wind.
While photographing deer, I have played with the wind many times, often amazed and I am not talking about penned deer but the same deer I hunt. Here is something else, you maybe never thought about. A deer in a foodplot can smell you faster than a deer in the woods.
Agree on rubber boots/scent but I still like my Mucks because they keep my feet dry and warm. Keep burrs out of my socks. Plus I don't mind stepping in fresh cow pies while walking in the dark.
As was mentioned above about using cover scents, I do believe that there is something to attempting to "overcome" an animals nose with other scents like the usage of Nose Jammer. Am I saying that with the whitetails millions of scent receptors that it will no longer smell you because you've introduced another scent into the air? No. But I do think it's more effective at FOOLING a deer than how effective you can try to be eliminating your scent. As we know, that just plain isn't going to happen.
I always love when guys say a deer was right in their wind and did not smell them. How do you know? There is literally no possible way to know where your scent is all being distributed. You can prob guess on most of it by releasing milkweed or similar, but you never know where all of it is.
The other things I've found very interesting is how a dog has no trouble trailing when there is some moisture, but could no longer trail the hunter a couple hours after hot dry weather through a grassy field. Keeping these kinds of things in mind when checking cameras or scouting on foot.
What is your theory on why you need 2 weeks without deodorant to purify your pits? I wear deodorant, not antiperspirant and I have never worn antiperspirant. My pits are not clogged and I sweat. So do not think there is backed up pores there. One day per week I usually go without applying any deodorant. I just do not like putting perfume or applying chemicals to my body.
When I started wearing deodorant when I was in high school I did it because I smelled like body odor. So my body odor was not a product of wearing anything before in my pits.
I would love to not wear deodorant.
Analogously, there are other parts of my body that smell when I have been perspiring that have never had deodorant or perspiration placed on them either....
1boonr-I hunted and guided in IL for many years-Griggsville and Pearl areas. Wore tennis shoes until it got down to about 30. Here, I often wear them all season. I just put a disposable hand warmer in the toes. To each, his own. Might mention, hunting or wading creeks fishing is all I wear them for.
Bigdog21-In addition to being an absorbent, baking soda is also an abrasive. I hope you turn your camo inside out. Baking soda speeds up the "blurring" of the pattern. I'll pass on the skunk thing. :)
Maybe you and your family have just gotten use to your odor. only kidding. I do think we have more odor at different times of our lives depending on diet, stress, age/hormones....
Also...why would tennis shoes be good to hunt out of. They have a rubber bottom so how would that not put down a rubber odor if that is what the concern is with rubber boots?
I wear tennis shoes because I have terrible peripheral neuropathy. They are comfortable and quiet and give me a good "feeling" for ladder and other steps. I pay zero attention to foot odor in terms of walking in and out of a stand. It doesn't matter to me, what I have on my feet. I have hunted many times in moccasin style house slippers. It is what is on the footwear that gives you away, not what footwear you have on. If I could, I would probably hunt in bare feet, during the early season. Deer, smell your hands and what you touch with them, 30X faster than where you put your feet PROVIDING, you have taken proper care of your footwear. I learned decades ago, how to do that. But...do what works for you or what you think works for you. If it gives you confidence, do it. No way I am going to bury my clothes in dirt from where I hunt. Nor am I going to use baking soda in clothes washing. But if that is what you believe in, go for it. Now...I have just been asked to do an expanded article on this subject and I am going to "steal" some of your comments. You won't get credit or be named and no, you wan't get paid. :)
Where I hunt I have a fair amount of topo, little prevailing winds and cagey critters. I wash my clothes in whatever is scent free. sometimes baking soda, sometimes not. I do brush my teeth with baking soda when I leave my truck.
I do put cedar limbs in my clothes box and will, when sitting in a pine, notch the tree sometimes to generate some pine odor.
I am pretty lean on aftermarket products.
My hunting clothing, other than wool products never see a washing machine, I put them in plastic tub, with clean cold water, add a non scented soap product and self agitate, with a plunger, and hang to dry,,,,,,, I agree with the sun dry all day and put in the chest after, and I handle clothes with disposable gloves.
There are a lot of tricks and some good products out there that will give you may be an edge , for that last second shot, and that is what we all are looking for.......
I do know a guy though, that believes in scent clothing, but he said to be effective, you can not buy it off the shelf, it must come to you direct, and still sealed, and he has his own system, and his proof is on the wall
so all in all, everyone does something, everyone hunts deer, some are pressured, some are not, some are wired all the time, some are just dumb, etc,,,, You need to watch the wind......
I hunt in heavy wolf country, if you want to see deer on alert at all times, hunt with me,,,,,,,