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Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the
GrowingDeer.tv team

Scent Control: An Essential for Consistently Harvesting Mature Bucks

Last week I explained the importance of hunters reducing scent on them and their gear so they don’t alert mature bucks. This week I wished to share the system I use to accomplish this goal.

A good scent control system should reduce enough of the scent of a hunter and his gear so that bucks will approach the hunter close enough to allow for an ethical shot. It’s not just mature bucks that we need to worry about alerting. Spooking a doe or immature buck can alarm a mature buck enough that they won’t approach the area.

Given the wariness of most mature bucks and knowing that strange scents, or scents they associate with danger can cause them to go on high alert or change their path of travel, it’s critical that the scent reduction program covers gear and hunter from the time they go to their stand until they kill or exit the hunting area.

To accomplish this, Adam and I use the Dead Down Wind system. We wash our clothes with their soap. I use Dead Down Wind because it is enzyme based – not a bactericide. Dead bacteria often put off strong odors (ever smell a swamp?). I wish to break existing bacteria down and limit certain types of bacteria from growing on me and my gear.

Hunter Dr. Grant Woods washes his clothes in Dead Down Wind ScentPrevent laundry detergent

Doing laundry with Dead Down Wind ScentPrevent laundry detergent is an essential part of my scent reduction system

It doesn’t do much good to reduce the scent and odor causing agents on your body and then use a towel that is full of perfume, fabric softener, etc., which will simply apply a scent that is just as alarming to your body. Hence we buy some towels that are only used to dry ourselves when we are preparing to hunt. They are laundered, stored, etc. just like our hunting clothes.

Likewise, it does no good to remove odors from hunting clothes and then store them where they can absorb household and other smells that will alert deer. I prefer to air dry our clothes outside. If we are staying at a friend’s house we may use the dryer if there isn’t a place outside to air dry our clothes away from sources of odor (such as cars, lawn mowers, etc.).

Once our clothes are dry, we store them in a ScentMaster box. This clever device is a closed air system with a strong fan and air heater. It recirculates 130 degree air through the box and a large carbon filter. The warm air insures the clothes are totally dry and is not a friendly environment for smelly bacteria, mold, etc., to grow. This is a great method to store hunting clothes, and remove some odor that may have built up between hunts.

Hunters apply Dead Down Wind's ScentPrevent to boots before going hunting.

Applying Dead Down Wind ScentPrevent field spray before hunting leads to greater success at harvesting mature bucks

We’ll tote the ScentMaster box to our hunting location and change into our hunting clothes just before walking to our stand. Before we get dressed, we use the Dead Down Wind field spray to ensure our bodies, clothes, and gear are scent free as possible before heading to the stand. If we’ve been backpacking and/or camping we use the Dead Down Wind foam as an infield shower. The foam dries rapidly and is a great substitute for a shower.

Likewise we use the Field Spray to remove odors from our Nikon binos, range finders, etc.

Adam and I have filmed and killed several mature bucks while using our system of reducing scent. It’s certainly not fool proof. Such claims to the contrary are most likely false. But for most hunting situations, it’s proven to be very effective.

We produce a new episode each week – 52 weeks a year. We don’t have time to go on three hunts and only show the results of the best. You can see for yourself how well our scent reduction system works each week by simply watching GrowingDeer.tv.

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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