Scent control

Humans, like just about every other critter on this planet, are creatures of habit. Develop a routine that becomes a habit, and you will follow it almost without fail. This holds true with scent control. Here’s a step-by-step program that works.

Preseason

PRESEASON

Outside of hunting season, we all use a lot of perfumed products—from shampoo to laundry detergent to deodorant. If I can smell your Axe body spray from a long ways off, imagine how powerful it is to a deer. About two weeks before deer season opens, I stop using all of those products and switch over to unscented soap, deodorant, detergent, and dryer sheets exclusively. By limiting my exposure to heavily scented products well in advance of the season, I’m giving my pre-hunt scent control program the best opportunity for maximum effectiveness.

Field Spray

IN THE TRUCK

When heading out to hunt, the chances of contaminating ourselves with all manner of scent are very high. Think about it: You’re travelling in a contained environment with limited airspace. Any odors in that cabin have ample opportunity to attach to you. I generally just wear my base layer when traveling to hunt near home. If it’s particularly warm I may opt for just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, which I change out of once I get to my parking spot.

I treat the interior of my truck cab with D/Code Scent Elimination Field Spray weekly. All hunting clothing and gear is stored in sealed plastic totes or dry bags that prevent air from entering. I store those in the bed of the truck rather than the cabin. Again, I’m looking to minimize the amount of scent saturation that can occur. Of course, all of the clothing and gear has been pre-treated with either scent-killing spray or detergent and kept sealed and away from foreign odors at all times.

Field Wipes

UPON ARRIVAL

Once I park the truck, my first task is to spray down what I’m currently wearing (as well as myself) with scent-eliminating spray. While that dries, I treat my bow or gun, backpack and any other gear I’ll be carrying to my stand location. I’ll primarily use spray for this, but D/Code Field Wipes are also handy for hard goods. Then I dress, treating each layer of clothing as I put it on, including my boots.

Field Wipes on stand

ON THE WALK

If I’m hiking a long distance, I’ll stop once or twice to catch my breath and cool down a bit so that I’m comfortable and not sweating when I reach my tree, but also to give myself another dose of scent-eliminating spray and treat my boots.

AT THE STAND

Once arriving at the stand, I quickly and quietly ascend the tree, stash my gear and get ready to hunt. Once everything is in place, I take a few minutes to settle in. During this time, I’m trying to clear my head as much as possible. Our time in the woods is limited, and our lives seem to grow crazier by the day. This few minutes of decompression makes me more alert and more aware of my surroundings. During this cool-off period, I take my time in applying another round of spray and/or wipes.

DURING THE HUNT

If I’m hunting for a few hours in the morning or evening, I do nothing more. If I’m planning to sit all day, I’ll take a break around lunchtime and climb down from the stand to stretch my legs a bit and give myself a mental break. This usually lasts about 10 minutes. Once I climb back up, I redo my settling-in process including the scent control. —Tony Hansen

About the Author: Tony Hansen manages for and hunts mature whitetails in his home state of Michigan, where sweating the details is the only way to succeed. When not hunting his own properties, he can be found pursuing deer on public land throughout the whitetail’s range. Tony’s writings have appeared in Outdoor Life, Traditional Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, and Bowhunter.