The Importance of Late-Season Scent Control

Still have unfilled tags you’re trying to fill? Well, if you’re still hunting hard, you’ve likely already realized this universal late-season truth: Pressured deer are savvy deer. The margin of error has all but been erased. If you want to fill tags now, you need to be darned-near perfect in your execution. And there is no part of the equation more critical than scent-control. My late-season scent control program isn’t really any different than what I use during the core of the season—it simply takes on a much more important role. Here are a few examples.

1. Ground Scent Can’t Happen

D/Code Field Spray

When hunting during the rut, I’ll often change stand sites in the middle of a hunting day. For instance, I may hunt a funnel in the morning, move to the edge of a bedding area midday and finish up near a food source in the evening. I’ll make these moves as quickly as possible. Sure, I’ll try to avoid walking on deer paths, but my primary goal is to get in position as fast as I can without alerting bucks on the prowl.

During the late season, there will be far less moving around. I know where deer are feeding. I know where they’re bedding. And I need to kill them at one location or the other. At this time of year, deer are on high alert after months of hunting pressure. Laying down ground scent by walking around is a bad idea. Thus, I choose my routes to my stands carefully and I spray my boots with D/Code every 100 yards or so. I’ve even taken D/Code field wipes and rubber-banded them to the bottom of my boots in areas where I have to walk a field edge for a moderate distance.


2. Wash Often

D/Code dryer sheets

Wood smoke, exhaust fumes, sweat—it seems the colder the weather gets, the more scent there is in the air. And no matter how hard I try, I’ve yet to achieve the perfect balance between staying warm and not sweating on a long walk to a stand. Because of this, I wash my cold-weather hunting gear far more than I do during more moderate periods of weather. D/Code detergent paired with D/Code dryer sheets are used at least weekly—more often if I’m hunting daily.

3. Spray, Dry, Store

D/Code field spray in the field

One of the things I’ve started doing over the past two seasons is spraying down my clothes after I’m done hunting. It’s almost as if there is a sort of accumulation process that happens. After hunting, I spray D/Code on the outside and inside of my cold-weather gear. Then I hang them up to dry for about an hour in a room with minimal scent. Once dry, I place them in air-tight containers. Then, when it’s time to hunt again, I hit them with another dose of D/Code prior to dressing in the field. This system has had a noticeable impact in my late-season hunting. At this time of year, with deer on high-alert, I’ll take every advantage I can get. —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.