Think a quick squirt of scent eliminator before you hit the woods is good enough? Better think again.

by Tracy Breen

Deer season is upon us. Now is the time to get your hunting gear, including your clothing, ready for hunting season. For most hunters, “getting ready” includes sighting in a bow, buying a few new broadheads, and organizing all their camo clothing. It is not uncommon for hunting clothes to smell a little funky when they are pulled out of a tote or duffle bag because chances are they were put away dirty. Most deer hunters realize they need to wash and dry their clothing, but knowing the exact steps to take to ensure the clothing is scent-free on opening day is not something everyone knows how to do properly.

Following is a step-by-step guide that will help hunters know exactly what they can do to reduce the odds of Mr. Big smelling them this fall.

The Washing Process

All hunting clothing—including facemasks, gloves, and socks—should be thoroughly washed in unscented laundry detergent. One of the most respected brands out there is Scent Killer Gold by Wildlife Research Center. Wildlife Research Center offers laundry detergent, unscented dryer sheets, Scent-Killer spray, and a variety of other products that can help hunters eliminate human odor. Before washing hunting clothing, hunters should run the washer with Scent-Killer laundry detergent to eliminate residual detergent odors.

After the washer has gone through its regular cycle without any hunting clothing, add Scent Killer detergent, the hunting clothes, and wash. As soon as the clothes have completed their cycle, move them to the dryer. It is important that the clothing be dried as soon as the washing cycle is complete to prevent mildew or odor absorption.

When the clothes are put into the dryer, be sure to include a non-scented dryer sheet, such as the Scent Killer Gold sheets.

The Scent Elimination Process

After the clothing has been removed from the dryer, it should be sprayed down with Scent Killer Gold scent eliminator. Try to wear rubber/nitrile gloves while spraying and handling to ensure no human odor is transferred onto the clothing. After the clothing has been sprayed down with scent eliminator, it needs to go directly into a suitable storage container.

Proper Clothing Storage

The options are endless when it comes to storage containers. There are containers that have been designed especially for hunting clothes. There are also other options, including plastic bins and totes.

Plastic totes can hold moisture and odor, so it is best if some type of odor eliminator is placed in the tote along with the clothing. One great option is the Scent Killer No Zone Tote Tamers. Tote Tamers are small, can be placed in any tote, and absorb moisture and odor. Place a Tote Tamer in the storage container along with the clothing. Always keep the clothing in the container and only take the clothing out when it is time to hunt.

Keep Your Hunting Room and Vehicle Scent-Free

Scent Killer No Zone Air & Space Deodorizer is a great option for hunters who are obsessed with being scent-free. No Zone spray is designed to deodorize the interior of rooms, vehicles, storage totes, and anything else that can hold foul odors.

Details are Everything

Every deer hunter knows that remaining scent-free is a near-impossible task. Some hunters believe that regardless of what they do to outsmart Mr. Big’s nose, it won’t happen. That said, reducing human and foreign odors when hunting will most likely increase the odds of killing a deer.

I have noticed over the years that it takes a fair amount of human odor to spook a deer. Just a little bit will cause them to stop, sniff the air, and determine if there is enough odor in the air for them to turn around and run. Often, after a deer encounters some human odor, they will slowly walk off or, in many cases, continue on their way. The goal of every hunter should be to eliminate as much of their human odor as possible before they go hunting. Wash in Scent Killer Gold personal care products, wash your clothing in scent-free detergent, and spray down all your gear with Scent Killer spray. A deer might still smell a hunter who takes all the above steps, but that deer might also give the hunter a few extra seconds to make a shot before bolting.

Several experts have told me over the years that the nose of a deer is like a smoke detector: it takes so many parts per million of odor to make the nose go on red alert. If a hunter can keep their odor below that threshold, a deer will likely think the hunter is farther away or is simply not that big of a threat. The above steps are a lot of work, but by following a strict scent elimination regimen, you can outsmart the one thing a deer relies on most to stay alive—its sense of smell.

Scent elimination will only work if you refuse to take shortcuts. Stop in a fast food joint on the way to the woods and all that hard work will have been a waste of time. I suggest hunters keep all their clothing properly stored and put their hunting clothing on AFTER they have arrived at their hunting location and have left their vehicle.

Eliminating human odor and being as scent free as possible requires diligence and strict protocol; however, the work will be worth it when you fill the tag and the meat is in the freezer.

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