Hunters may not realize the amount of bad-smelling scents they carry with them. Not, only on the bodies, but, clothes, gear and boots. We humans may not be able to smell the foul scents, but to a deer, they can be downright strong and offensive. Enough so the hunter is busted and the deer takes up a new zip code.
The late Ben Rogers Lee of Coffeeville always said, “If you want to kill a deer, you have to beat his nose.”
Lee knew the number one defense mechanism of a deer was its nose. Biologists have determined a deer’s sense of smell is 1,000 times greater than that of man.
While hunters can’t totally eliminate their human scent there are methods to minimize it or cover it up.
Start at the source
First, deer hunters should understand where the bad or unwanted odors come from. One area is our bodies.
No matter how much we attempt wash our bodies we continue to emit odors. Perspiration through the pores in our skin is a major source of foul smelling scent. Another is any place on our bodies where skin meets skin, like underarms.
As the skin cells on our bodies die, bacteria are released. These bacteria give off odors. While the average person may not be able to pick up the scent, deer sure can. And it’s not pretty to a deer’s nose.
“Shower with a scent killer type soap,” said Wes Fielder of Talladega. “The special soaps will reduce your scent on your hair and body.”
Several hunting companies manufacture kits that include scent-control body wash, deodorant, laundry detergent and clothes spray. These products are designed to eliminate and control odors from the body and in your hunting clothes. While they help wash away odors they also have no added scents.
Fielder recommends washing your hunting clothes in a scent-control detergent and rinsing in clean water. Hang the clothing outside away from anything that could contaminate the fresh clothes. If you use the family washing machine, run a cycle with clean water and some baking soda or the scent-control laundry detergent before washing your hunting garb.
Everything you will wear hunting should be washed in some type of scent-free or odor-killing detergent. This includes underwear, hats, socks and T-shirts. Also, go the extra step and wash some towels in the scent wash soap. Regular home laundry detergent has strong perfumes for that “spring fresh” smell.
“We wash our hair and bodies with the scent killing soaps,” said pro hunter Eddie Salter of Evergreen. “Then we grab a towel that has perfume scent to dry off.”
After all of your hunting clothes are clean and dry, store them away from any household odors. Large sealed plastic containers or over-size zip-to-lock storage bags will keep out any foul odors. Many hunters wait until they are in the woods before removing any clothing.
Hunters should be aware of transferring scents to their hands or clothing. Anything you touch with your hands can be transferred to your clothing or gear. Food odors from cooking or pumping gas are just two ways foul odors can find their way into the deer woods.
Salter suggests deer hunters wait until they are in the woods before dressing. Some folks wait until they are in the stand before putting on their outer hunting garments. They also spray over their clothes and gear with scent killing sprays.
On warm days hunters may want to dress lightly for the walk to the stand. Once at the stand site change clothes placing the sweaty garments in a sealed bag. Remove clean scent free clothes form another bag and re-dress. A complete spray down with a scent killer is also in order.
Rubber boots help prevent leaving a trail of foul scents. Hunters should wash the outside and soles of the boots with a scent-killing soap. Also, keep the boots away from any products that could leave an unwanted scent.
One area hunters often overlook for foul odors is their breath. Did you brush your teeth with a minty gel tooth paste? The deer can surely tell and they won’t be hanging around for any smooching. Hunters should use an unscented tooth paste or mouth wash. Brushing or gargling with some baking soda in water is an easy method to get rid of bad breath.
Hunters may opt for some chlorophyll tablets or chewing gum to eliminate mouth odors.
Cover the scent
Several years ago a company released a line of out wear hunting garments with activated charcoal. The clothing was bulky and expensive. Improvements have been made to this type of clothing. Also, silver composites, carbon alloy and other specialized clothing can help reduce odors from your body.
Currently several hunting clothing manufactures offer scent-control clothing. Everything from jackets, pants, hats to under garments are available to help control human odor.
Although clothing soaps and sprays are the most common methods of controlling odors in the deer woods, technology has stepped in. Ozonics offers an ozone generator that can be used in a treestand or a blind. The unit operates on batteries and creates ozone to cover human scent molecules.
The Ozonics unit can be set for different levels of ozone generation. The ozone is diverted downward to eliminate human odor. Think of the dispersal as a shield preventing the human odor from reaching the deer’s nose.
“A doe or buck urine can help cover up a hunter’s smell,” Slater said. “The scent may be enough to cause the deer to stop long enough for a shot.”
Other deer and animals scents have been used in the past to hide the odors of humans in the deer woods. Some old-time hunters preferred raccoon or fox urine to cover their trail in the woods. Other types of scent sprays and cover-ups are available to hunters.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate human odor, hunters can greatly reduce the amount of scent they carry into the deer woods.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com.