By: Jimmy Washam
The Whitetail's primary defense against predators is their amazing sense of smell. If we hunters really knew how many times a trophy buck had passed out of site down wind and slipped off undetected it would make us sick. While I believe that 100 percent human scent prevention on the level of a Whitetail's nose is impossible, I feel that every ability to reduce and control scent output gives the hunter an advantage. The scent control process, when done correctly, is an extensive process that I wouldn't recommend to the casual hunter. However, when executed properly, the following process will certainly increase your hunting success, just as it has mine.
The initial step in scent control will be to wash all hunting clothing in a scent free laundry detergent, such as Scent Killer's Liquid Clothing Wash. Then dry the clothing along with a scent free dryer sheet. This process will help eliminate human odor and more importantly the fresh scent of your old washing detergent. Once the clothes are completely dried, immediately remove them from the dryer and into a scent tight gear bag.
After all hunting clothing has been washed, dried, and stored in a scent free environment, the next step is to cut out as much human odor as possible on your body. Prior to every hunt, I take a shower using a scent reducing soap and body wash, like Scent Killer's Anti-Odor Body Wash and Shampoo. After the shower, I use a scent free deodorant, then I will put on a pair of sweat pants and a sweat shirt for the ride to my hunting location. Also, try to avoid making stops that will subject you to extra scents, such as the gas station or the coffee shop. I will always make sure I have enough gas to get to my hunt the night before I go.
When I arrive at my parking site for my hunt, I will unpack all hunting gear from my truck, and then make the change into my prewashed hunting clothing. After I have my scent reduced clothing on I use a carbon activated outer layer made by ScentLok, Savannah Mayhem Jacket. This light weight Savanna gear allows me to be comfortable in early bow season, or I can layer up underneath it in late season's colder weather. I feel that the jacket, pants, and hat is enough, but the ScentLok gloves sure do help. Make sure to keep all carbon clothing in a separate scent proof storage bag.
After I have all of my hunting clothing on and ready to go I make sure to reduce any scents that I may have drug with me on my bow, stand, safety harness, gloves, boots, etc. I do this by liberally applying Scent Killer's Spray for Clothing and Boots to all my gear.
After all these steps have been followed, the most important thing to avoid undoing all of your efforts is to prevent sweating on the walk in to your stand site. I will make sure and allow myself plenty of time to walk in slowly, and if I am layered up for cooler weather then I may only wear my bottom layer in and dress into my extra layers at my tree. After a quick extra spray down with scent reducing spray, I pop a piece of gumoflauge in my mouth to reduce the largest scent producing spot on my body, my mouth.
Now this may seem like too much of a process to some hunters, but I have seen proven success numerous times. Two years ago I harvested a mature nine point after he had passed down wind 75 yards behind me. With my scent kept to a minimum, I was able to spot him and grunt him back into kill range. However, even though this process works, it is not 100 percent, and I will still hunt stands only with a favorable wind. But with your odds increased, I can guarantee that the serious hunter will not go long before this scent reducing process pays off.