Scent control is a topic that has been debated for a long long time, and most people have their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t. Is spraying down enough? Is taking the approach of being fanatical all the way to using a separate washing machine to wash hunting clothing worth it? Do you even need to utilize scent control, and can you still be a successful hunter if you don’t? Today, I’m going to review everything about scent control and why you might want to put it to use, or why you might not want to even bother.
The Fanatical Scent Control Hunter
Like I mentioned, some people like to take scent control to a fanatical level. I’m talking using a separate washing machine for hunting clothing all throughout the year, scent free showers, spraying down, and using ozone. These hunters often don’t even use normal shampoo or body wash during the off-season. Personally, I don’t think that going to this extreme is worth it. Sure, you’ll talk to hunters that swear by their method and say that they never get busted. When I think of this, there is so much debate and I don’t think you can really know for sure if you never get busted. Deer could be downwind of you that you don’t see, not snort at you, and still bust you. For me, I don’t have the time, money, or resources to dedicate to this level of scent control. I think that there are a lot more things you could invest in to help your chances of harvesting mature bucks than using every scent control product out there.
The “Kind Of” Scent Free Hunter
This hunter is the person that puts some scent free tactics to use but doesn’t go all out. And to be honest, this is right where I fall. I wash my clothes in scent free detergent, store my hunting clothes in a scent free bag, and change into my hunting clothes in the field. I also spray down before heading in to hunt, but that’s about it. I don’t take all of the fanatical steps. I still play the wind, but I don’t put the time and energy into it that the fanatical scent free hunter does. At the end of the day, the wind is your best scent control method. Sometimes, I might not change in the field, and I don’t always remember to spray down. This might lead you to ask why I do what I do then? To me, the answer is simple. It can’t hurt and can only help me. I don’t want to invest the extra resources or time into going all out with scent control, but even if I do play the wind correctly, and a deer gets downwind of me, I’m hopeful what I did might help my chances at not getting busted. If a deer gets downwind of me, and it thinks I’m further away than I really am, I’ll chalk that up as a win. With all of that said, I hunt as though I don’t use any scent control. I analyze my access routes and exit strategies and ALWAYS play the wind because I know if I don’t use the wind to my advantage, whatever scent control steps I do take won’t really make a difference.
The “I Hate Scent Control” Hunter
There is another echelon of hunters who simply don’t use any scent control at all. They don’t wash their hunting clothes in scent free detergent, no sprays are used, and I know some hunters that will pump gas, go get lunch, and do normal things in their hunting clothes. Often times though, a lot of the really good hunters that don’t use any form of scent control are much more knowledgeable not only about the wind, but how the wind travels through terrain, thermals, and how to still not get busted. A great example is the team over at The Hunting Public. They have explained more than once that they take zero scent control measures, but what makes them so successful is they are very good at understanding wind and terrain to help put themselves in positions to tag mature bucks.
Using milkweed seeds versus a powder wind checker allows you to see how the air current travels through the terrain. This is one thing The Hunting Public crew never goes to the woods without.
Like I said in the intro, everyone has their beliefs when it comes to scent control. Some go to the extreme to try and eliminate all scent entirely, and some people pay no attention to it. You just need to find what works for you. I fall somewhere in the middle. How about you?