It’s a beautiful day at The Proving Grounds today! The temperature as I write this is 64 degrees. There is a 9 MPH wind from the northwest and the relative humidity is 49%. It’s what my folks called a “Bluebird day.” It’s a great day for a task necessary for hunters that enjoy getting close to game. These are perfect conditions to reduce the scent in hunting clothes! I literally just spent an hour washing some of my hunting clothes on the back porch. I have a plastic tub that I use in the process of hand washing my hunting clothes. The washing machine in my house no doubt gives off the odors associated with gads of different soaps, softeners, etc. It’s probably a nightmare for hunters that wish to reduce the amount of scent on their hunting clothes.
I use a soap that is reported to be unscented and has no UV brighteners. I’m not at all worried about stains. Those simply add to the camo pattern. I am very focused on reducing the scent as much as possible. After washing, I rinse the clothes with a water hose, and hang them outside to dry. When they are dry, I treat them with an unscented odor killer spray. When that is dry, I store them in airtight storage bags (that I’ve previously cleaned). Finally, I usually change into my hunting clothes in the field.
I expend a lot of work in attempting to reduce and keep off scent that is foreign to a mature buck from in my clothes. I expend these efforts because I really enjoy watching deer up close. The winds commonly swirl due to the mountainous topography at The Proving Grounds. It only takes one swirl to carry scent to a mature buck approaching the stand. Not only is the buck alerted to the hunter’s presence that day, he’s probably alerted to that general area as a portion of his range to avoid due to danger during the daylight hours.
Some areas, like western Kansas, very rarely are plagued with constantly swirling winds. I really enjoy hunting those areas! However, that’s not the case where I hunt.
No one knows exactly how good a buck’s sense of smell is. Obviously their sense of smell is good enough to avoid enough predators (two and four-legged) to survive for hundreds of years. Sense of smell is their number one predator defense tool.
I don’t believe any amount of scent control will keep a mature deer from detecting a threat if the deer detects a full load of the hunter’s scent. The unanswered question is how much scent reduction is necessary to not alert a deer. I’ll be using some different products and making observations this fall in an effort to find a satisfactory answer to that question. I’m open for your thoughts; if you are serious about scent control, please share your techniques with me.
Growing Deer together,