As a hunter, keeping yourself hidden from prey is an absolute must for a successful hunt.
You need to be undetectable to the animals you track, and must blend into your surroundings to do so. Game animals are very sensitive to any changes in sights and smells in their natural environment, so it’s important to mirror the surrounding area as to not draw attention to yourself, blind or scent.
Deer and elk are especially sensitive to human scent. They use their noses to detect danger and sniff out potential mates. The first step in attempting to mask your human odor is to understand wind behavior.
When placing a stand or blind, put it in an area that is not prone to down-force winds. For example, if you are hunting in a valley that deer tend to inhabit, do not place yourself at the top of the ridge — air travels downward and will take your scent down valley and directly toward your target.
It is wise to use a scent-killing soap if you are going to use anything at all. They are fragrance free and will strip any artificial odors from your skin and hair. It’s also recommended to use a fragrance-free soap when washing your clothes and boots.
After washing your clothes, put them in a plastic bag until you are at your hunting site to avoid dog and food scents attaching themselves to your hunting gear.
Brush your teeth with baking soda to avoid a minty trace. Once you have neutralized your scent, try out one of the many masking or lure scents that are currently on the market until you find the one that works best for you.
Blinds and Treestands
You will want to take a good look at your hunting grounds to determine whether or not you will use a treestand or a blind on the ground. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It is beneficial to have a treestand above 20 feet — it will keep you up and away from your target and give you a better vantage point to shoot from. A treestand isn’t always ideal for bow hunters, however, as it increases the distance from your target and may effect your accuracy.
Blinds built on the ground have you up close with the animal. Your scent is much more likely to travel and scare them off. However, you also increase your kill zone from down on the ground.
To keep yourself properly hidden, choose a camouflage pattern that is similar to your surroundings. Wild game have primitive instincts for survival. If they detect anything amiss, they will avoid that area and likely run in the opposite direction. When choosing a camouflage pattern, take into consideration if the area has trees or bushes, and heavy leafy foliage or small-leafed branches.
In addition to not leaving a trail of scent, you do not want to stick out in your target’s environment. This pertains to any and every exposed material you have, including a hydration hose, backpack, seat and water bottle.