I’m kind of a pig during fishing season, smoking cigars, sitting around smoky camp fires, eating spicy foods and not showering as often as I should. When fall hunting seasons roll around (or I’m in a spring bear camp) my attitude takes a 180. I avoid cigars and camp fires, stay away from spicy foods and shower obsessively. Adhering to a strict scent-destroying regimen has earned me more, and closer, shots at calmer animals. Remaining scent free requires effort (especially in places like wilderness elk camps), but that extra effort translates directly into increased success.
Scent-Free Hunting Togs
Scent-free hunting starts with clean, scent-free clothing. First, don’t let mama toss them in with the household wash. Most households’ laundry detergents are packed with UV brighteners that cause clothes to glow blue to game animals, many containing perfumes that can also alert sharp-nosed game.
Wildlife Research Center’s (WRC) scent-free laundry detergents contain no UV brighteners and are concentrated so a little goes a long way. They also contain special ingredients that combat human odors long after clothing is washed. Most human odors originate from bacteria that thrive in perspiration. Special ingredients make it difficult for bacteria to gain a foothold initially. Detergents also wash away human oils and glandular secretions animals associate with danger, and environmental odors like food, smoke or vehicle fuel.
Use WRC’s Scent Killer Gold Laundry Detergent (in larger jugs or single-use packets) with special H-E Formula or Super Charged Scent Killer Clothes wash (in liquid or powder form); both offered in scent-free or Autumn Formula versions. The later imparts a moldering-leaves/dirt smell that doubles as a cover scent. During drying Scent Killer Autumn Formula Dryer Sheets will also infuse this natural scent. After hunting clothing is washed and dried make sure to store them in scent-tight bags or tubs. Avoid trash bags with perfumes or chemical odors.
Showering Away Human Scent
I often become sleep deprived during hunting season, but always wake early to shower with scent-free soaps and shampoos. Showering before bed is acceptable, but only if you’re sleeping on clean, scent-free sheets and not sweating during the night. Products such as Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Killer Gold Body Wash & Shampoo and Bar Soap or Super Charged Scent Killer Body Wash & Shampoo are important ingredients, because just like commercial laundry detergents typical commercial soaps and shampoos are chock-full of perfumes that game finds offensive.
The goal when showering for hunting is to eliminate all human odors—not cover it up. Pay special attention to hotspots such as armpits, groin area and scent-absorbing hair. As soon as you’ve dried off apply WRC’s Scent Killer Gold Antiperspirant & Deodorant to stay dry and postpone future odors.
The Final Spray-Down
Only after arriving at my parking spot before assembling gear to trek into stands or to begin spot-and-stalk forays do I change into clean, scent-free camouflage attire. When the hunt is finished, during warm midday hours or at the end of each day, I redeposit hunting togs into their scent-free container, donning street clothes before driving or entering the house.
Despite these precautions, I still spray down with WRC’s Scent Killer Gold or Super Charged Scent Scent Killer Sprays—Super Charged also offered in Autumn Formula. Gold series products, in particular, with HuntDry Technology+, are long lasting even after drying, but I still reapply spray before every hunt. When stand hunting or checking trail cameras I pay special attention to boots and pants cuffs, and daypacks, hats and bow equipment, though also give myself a thorough head-to-toe dousing. When hunting with a partner, spray each other down to assure all areas are covered. During sweaty spot-and-stalk hunts I’ll carry convenient Scent Killer Gold Field Wipes to clean up with when feeling hot and sweaty.
Scent Storm Cover Scents are another welcomed addition to the overall scent regimen, including Apple, Acorn, Earth, Cedar and Pine. You’ll never truly cover human scent—eliminating it altogether is still the best approach—but these products can give you a few extra seconds to get off a clean shot when animals are in range and a treacherous breeze changes direction unexpectedly. In bowhunting, a few seconds is sometimes all you need.
When whitetail hunting, in particular, I’ll splash boot soles with WRC’s Coon Urine before walking into stands. Friends in Texas brush country (where hunting from ground blinds is mandatory due to lack of stand trees) fool whitetail noses by sprinkling Coon Urine around shooting-port edges.
Big game’s No-1 defense mechanism is their nose. Remaining scent free and doing everything possible to confuse their olfactory senses is the only way you’ll find regular success, especially while bowhunting. Wildlife Research Center is here to help.