Flip the script on your odor control strategy by applying principles of scent camouflage.
The amount of money that we hunters spend per year on our favorite past time? Over $35 billion. And it should come as no surprise then, with scent control being one of the biggest issues we must overcome in the field, that we drop a fair amount of coin trying to hide from our prey. Sprays, soaps, ozone generators, and countless other products – when we hunters do anything, we go all out. While I agree each of these products serves a purpose and has a worthwhile place in your gear bag (they’re in mine, too), I’m here to tell you that the modern hunting industry has conned you and if these products make up your entire “scent control strategy,” your whole approach is flawed.
In today’s hunting industry, marketers spend millions of dollars telling you how their spray hides your scent better than any of their competitors. They scream at us about how we need to douse ourselves and our gear in scent killing sprays even on the coldest of north-country mornings. They lecture us on why, after spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on carbon filled, silver-ion lined, or wool gear we still ought to spend a few hundred more on an ozone generator to blanket our scent even further. If you’re whitetail hunting, you do all of this in an effort to fool an animal that has a 30 percent better sense of smell than even your best hunting dog. Good luck, right?
Now hear me on this before we go any further, I’m a bowhunter. And if there’s one thing that we bowhunters know, it’s that a few extra yards can make or break a hunt. That said, I’m willing to consider anything that can give me an edge and encourage that trophy bull or buck to take a couple more steps in my direction. However, I’m a firm believer that if we approach the scent control issue from a different angle, we can solve the majority of our scent related problems with a few simple practices.
Consider this. Why do you wear camo when hunting? Why are there hundreds of different camouflage patterns available in the marketplace for our clothing? The answer is simple: so we break up our figure and blend in with our surroundings. We choose camo prints for our hunts that will do the best job of matching our appearance to that of the areas in which we hunt. We want it to be as difficult as possible for our prey to distinguish us as hunters from the rest of the environment around us.
If we can simply apply that same philosophy towards odor, we may very well have a solution to our scent control issues, help bring that trophy in close, and maybe even save some money while we’re at it.
For years we’ve been covering our gear and clothing in scent masking sprays and soaps. We’ve been doing everything we can to eliminate our scent, to hide, and to become non-existent to the nose of our prey. But we’ve been doing this in an effort to disappear, which is a near impossibility that hunting companies have been profiting on for decades.
If we simply flip that logic on its head and make a deliberate effort to have a scent, the right scent, we can eliminate the need to hide or mask ourselves with soaps and sprays. Rather than try to hide or disappear, if we make a choice to exist as if we were an equal part of the nature in which we’re hunting, we might finally be able to fool the nose of that trophy buck long enough to bring him into range. Think back to the camo question.
You wear camouflage clothing so that you can hide in plain sight, not to be unseen. This same concept explains why doe urine and similar attractants are so powerful; they simply exist as a part of nature, the same nature as the game we’re pursuing. If we can somehow get our gear and clothing to smell as if they belong to that same environment, using scent camouflage, the rest of our other odor elimination tactics fly out the window.
Scent Camouflage Tactics
The simplest way to accomplish this is to get our gear outside in the environment in which we’ll be hunting. Hunting deer in the Midwest? Throw some corn stalks, dirt, or hay in a bag with your gear and seal it tightly.
Heading to the mountains? Pack another small tent and leave one of the windows partially open. Store all of your gear and clothing inside, away from the elements but with fresh mountain air circulating through it.
Travelling a long distance for your hunt? Consider mailing a few of your outer layers to the lodge, family, or friends in the area and have them set it outside for a few days before you arrive. Don’t have that luxury? Create a breathable box or homemade portable locker like the one shown to hang your gear allowing it to stay out overnight in a dry place and absorb the scents of your new environment.
Forget about eliminating or masking your odor. Flip the script on your scent control strategy and apply the principles of scent camouflage instead. Exist as if you are as much a part of nature as the trophy you’re pursuing. Get out there and hide in plain sight.