by Wade Middleton
When it comes to getting odors out of your hunting clothes before heading into the woods, I personally try to take every opportunity that I can. While knowing that I can’t totally eliminate odors, I can try to lessen them to gain a minor advantage at times.
One of my first strategies is washing my clothes in detergent that helps lessen or eliminate odor. Then I like to place my clothes in Ziploc bags and put them in a scent control bag, I then try to never take those clothes out or into a hunting camp unless I have to. I’ve stripped down and changed into my hunting cloths on side of road a lot in my day.
After I get dressed, I then spray myself down with my chosen scent killer. Now, I know what you might be thinking; some hunters have successfully taken down impressive deer with a lit cigarette hanging from their mouth. However, on the flip side, there have been hunters who’ve been smelled by deer several hundred yards away. After I arrive at my spot I deploy a mix of items from Conquest Scents such as Evercalm or VS-1. These are both cover and attractant scents.
I believe it’s simply a matter of taking advantage of what’s available to you to help reduce your scent profile, so to speak, in your favor. Whether I’m trying to conceal a camera guy in my hunts or when I get the chance to hunt solo, I want to stack the odds in my favor as much as possible while I’m out in the field.
Play the Wind
Playing the Wind is crucial. My strategy to do so is using as many things as I can to tip the scales in my favor. My goal is to hopefully keep a whitetail or other game animal from smelling me. The obvious plan is to play the wind and keep it in your favor but since deer and other game tend to not follow a script on what direction they come in from, you have to expect something to come in downwind at anytime and catch our scent.
We also all know that the wind will switch and swirl on us as well carrying whatever foreign smell there is in a direction that we don’t want it to go. I avoid hunting in risky stands unless it’s the last possible moment when bow hunting. We know deer are likely to come up close and personal often less than 10 yards away.
Furthermore, even as a rifle hunter, when you’re targeting deer at long distances, you can never be certain when a doe might sneak up on you while you’re focusing on your target buck 200 yards away.
But when your buck is at 200 yards and that doe suddenly spooks at 20 yards and blows, it alerts everything in the area and your hunt is over.
Washing Your Hunting Clothes
I use ATSKO Sport-Wash ZERO laundry detergent to ensure my hunting clothes come out of the washer without any scent such as the flowery smells my wife loves. My wife and I argue about this all the time. She says, “That’s not cleaning your clothes!” and I respond with “I’m not trying to make them smell minty fresh; I’m trying to eliminate all minty scents.”
After they’re done in the washer and dryer, I place them in Ziploc bags and then put those Ziplocs in my scent control bag.
Prepping Your Clothes in the Field
Spraying your hunting clothes down is another important step. When I arrive at my hunting camp, I spray all my clothes with a scent killer. I particularly like ATSKO Zero N-O-DOR Oxidizer Spray. This time proven product deodorizes clothing, hair, skin, and all wettable surfaces quickly and safely. It does so by permanently oxidizing all organic molecules into odorless, non-volatile compounds, essentially destroying them.
We do a lot of early-season hunting where we start sweating even before climbing into the stand. Even in Texas, where we primarily hunt, it can still reach 90 plus degrees in December! In such situations, I want to use every advantage I can even if it’s just giving me a minor advantage while sweating in a tree stand I’ll take it.
Scent control can lead to spirited debates at deer camp, with everyone having their different opinions and views. But if I can increase my odds by 5, 10, or 15% to avoid getting spotted, I’m going to do just that.