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Hunting Tips & Tricks: Scent Control - Part 1

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November 5, 2013
Published in News & Tips > Hunting > Big Game
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ScentControlP1 HSScentAwayKit

A hunter can never be 100 percent scent free but a variety of items can help you conceal it as much as possible.

As another hunting season is upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to look at how to keep your human scent under control when hunting big game. Sense of smell is generally the first line of defence for big game animals, so whether you hunt with a bow or firearm, here are some tips:

You Stink to Big Game

Understand that as humans, we are naturally odiferous, at least in a way that is offensive to most big game. And also understand that nothing you do will ever make you 100 percent scent free in the woods, as you are producing odor quicker than you can eliminate or conceal it. However, the objective is to try to reduce your scent to a low enough level that, if detected by a deer, it will think that the trace amount is because you are a long distance away and are no immediate threat, as all scent dissipates the further it is carried by the wind. Deer in many areas are used to detecting human scent from farmers, loggers, etc., so they will generally only flee if the scent is so strong that it must mean imminent danger.

Proper Scent Control Hunting Clothing

Hunters today are very fortunate in that there is a vast array of scent suppressing hunting clothing available. These garments, including base layers, mid-layers and outerwear, utilize technologies such as activated carbon or anti-microbial silver to greatly reduce how much human scent escapes into the air around us.

How to Maintain Scent Control Clothing

  1. Clean it. Washing your hunting clothing using special scent-free detergents is a must. The products used to wash our everyday clothing are just loaded with perfumes and other scents that are foreign to any animal. Some hunters are pretty serious about this step, even going so far as to run their washing machines empty with a cycle of water only first in order to flush out any leftover soap and scent from the last load of family laundry.

  2. Hang it up. Once these clothes are washed, air-drying is best by hanging outside on a clothesline away from BBQs or other smelly machines. If that is not possible, special dryer sheets are available that contain no scent or even a fall cover scent instead.

  3. Keep it Clean. Store your hunting clothing in air-tight containers, whether plastic tubs or scent-free bags, until you are actually ready to hunt. I also like to add to each container either a cover scent wafer or a fresh-cut sprig of cedar, spruce or other natural foliage native to my area. Wear one set of clothing while driving to your hunting site, and then change into your hunting clothes, and boots, once you get there. Just as importantly, take your hunting clothing and boots off when you get back to your vehicle and put them back in air-tight storage until your next outing. It's amazing to me how many hunters will take the time and effort to wash and store their hunting clothes properly, but then will wear them around the house before leaving, while cooking, smoking, while pumping gas, etc. Just to be extra cautious, however, I also like to hang another cover scent wafer from my truck's rearview mirror during hunting season.

Check out more information in Part 2 of Hunting Tips & Tricks; Scent Control at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.

Good hunting.

Tagged under Read 3886 times Last modified on February 9, 2017
Don Sangster
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Don Sangster hails from Mississauga, Ontario, and is an avid multi-species angler and hunter; he describes one as his passion and the other as his obsession — which is which varies with the seasons. He's been a professional outdoor writer and photographer since 1999, and is a frequent contributor to numerous North American print and web publications.

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