Here are four ways to try controlling scent on your hunting clothes this season, and two that maybe you should avoid.
Whether you are trying to get the scent off of your hunting clothes, or trying to add some that could change the game, we all know one thing when it comes to our favorite quarry: their noses rule and we have to try and beat them!
Deer will see you, hear you and smell you before you ever know that they are there. Turn the tide with some of these tried-and-true, but not very well-known methods of adding scent to your clothes.
They just might fool that big whitetail into thinking you're something else.
1. Pack it in the pines
First, get over to the dollar store and pick up some of those small, drawstring, linen jewelry pouches. Next, get yourself outside and find the nearest set of pine trees.
Now, fill the bags with green needles and pack them in every inch of your hunting clothes. You really can't overdo it too much, as pine scent is so very prevalent in most wooded areas. Pack everything in a new garbage bag and let it simmer.
Once you take your clothes out and start hunting, leave the pouches in the bag and put your clothes back in to store for the next hunt.
2. Add some smoke and ash
Like baking soda, ash is a great odor remover, and you can basically use it in the same way. You can bag it the same way, but you'll have to be more careful working with it. You'll want to start outside at the fire pit, and since you're there, start a fire! Bring some of your other items that you want to get ready for your hunt and let them get some of that smoke "flavor" as well. Deer aren't spooked by smoke and it's a great cover-up. I know people that swear by smoking little cigars when they hunt, so why not the natural stuff?
3. Put some oak fruit on it
I hunt the oaks. There's an oak bottom swamp I've been hunting for the last 10 years that has deer trails running in and out of it like an eight-cylinder piston with acorns everywhere.
I've learned that above and beyond making my clothes scent-free, adding a little acorn scent is like cooking a steak on the grill to us. Use the garbage bag method and toss in some cotton balls that have been dressed with one dip of the bottle of acorn scent. Too much can be a bad thing with this as you don't want to stink like an acorn factory.
4. Have it there waiting for you
What smells more like your hunting area than... your hunting area? It needs to be done after a frost or in colder weather. It is best in the more northern climates as insect penetration can happen if you're not careful.
You'll need to check the weather to determine just how long you could leave it out there. I'll leave my coat and bibs out overnight at least as they're the last thing I'll put on anyway.
Now, here are two ways that I used for years that I do not recommend for obvious reasons. Ticks carrying Lyme disease present a real danger nowadays, and it's no longer feasible to try these methods, but to each their own.
Since it's not easy for most to take their clothes out into the woods to get that natural smell that we all want, you might try this at your own risk.
5. Put it on the wood pile
Again, wait for the first real frost. I always liked to put it on there in a way that I could leave it for days at a time. There's nothing I like more than fresh oak or ash logs split and ready to burn except when they're leaving their scent on my hunting clothes.
6. Bury it in the leaves
Leaf litter is everywhere. It might be the most natural smelling thing you could use to make your outerwear the stuff that will bend that big buck's nose the other way while you're right in front of him.
I used to put my clothes on the wood pile and then bury it with leaves! Since your yard is probably full of them and you're sick of raking it all, try putting it to good use.
Given that we're all looking for an edge, maybe one of these methods will help you to get a little closer to your buck. After all, success is what we're all chasing out there and maybe this will help!
All photos by Craig Raleigh