WHITETAIL HUNTERS! TRY A LAYERED SCENT STRATEGY
By Bill Miller
When it comes to dressing ourselves for hunting, we’re always told to layer, layer, layer. It’s the best way to stay warm when we need to be warm and cool when we need to be cool. Layering makes it easy to adapt to whatever the day’s hunt throws at us. A smart scent control and attractant strategy also works best if thought of in layers, too. That way, each part of it becomes modular, so you can add layers when you need them or simplify in hunting situations when you don’t.
Think of your body as the base layer. It’s the one thing that will be on every hunt you make. Clothes and equipment may change. Terrain and weather conditions certainly change. The time of the season and the habits/mood of the deer you’re hunting changes daily. Your “smelly” body is always the same.
Keep your body as clean and scentless as possible. That’s a tall order, because the bodily functions that keep you alive are constantly generating human scent. As you move through your environment—whether home, hotel room, vehicle, restaurant, gas station, wherever— you’re apt to collect scents foreign to the deer woods. Fortunately, Wildlife Research (http://www.wildlife.com/Hunting-Scent-Killer-Gold-Product_Details.php?Scent-Killer-Gold-Body-Wash-Shampoo-1) offers an entire line of personal hygiene products specifically made to assist hunters in becoming and staying as scent-free as possible. This includes shampoo and body wash, bar soaps, antiperspirant and deodorant, field wipes, and more. There’s even a special ScentKiller® Gold for Her Ultimate Value pack in pink for the ladies.
The next layer is your clothing. It’s especially critical because all fabrics tend to collect and hold scent. First step is to make sure your clothing is cleaned and descented as much as possible. Wildlife Research comes to the rescue again with ScentKiller® laundry detergents and dryer sheets. Once the clothing is dry, hit it with a spray of the new ScentKiller® Gold with Dry Hunt Technology. In studies with Rutgers University, it was found this product is 98% effective even after it dries for 10 days.
Next, any clothes that might be worn as an outer layer should go into an airtight container. Lots of companies make special duffel bags for this purpose. At home, in a vehicle, or at camp, keep the clothes in this bag to prevent them from picking up foreign scents. It’s best to wait until the last possible minute to put on this clothing, but you need to judge what works—before you climb in your stand, at the trail before you walk in, or when you’re leaving camp. And it’s always a good idea to hit the clothing up with another good spritz of ScentKiller® when you arrive at your stand.
A scent layer that’s often overlooked is other gear. What about your daypack and everything in it, your gun or bow, ammo or arrows, even the treestand or blind itself? For anything that requires lubrication, consider using scent-free or naturally scented oils. For gear like your pack, you should use ScentKiller® Gold there, too. As for your stand or ground blind, if you placed it early enough before the season, its scent should have worn off by the time you hunt from it. It has become part of the deer’s natural environment—the best of all scent strategies.
The next layer is cover scent. These are scents you’d put on or near your stand with the idea of it overpowering any scent you might be emitting. It must be something natural to the deer. Common cover scents are earth/soil scent, cedar, pine, fox urine, raccoon urine, and skunk musk. Some hunters even elect to perfume their clothing with a cover scent by putting it inside the airtight bag with the clothes, but think twice about doing that with skunk musk or urine scents!
Another layer of scent is food attractants. These include scents of preferred deer foods like apples, corn, acorns, etc. While baiting deer is not permitted in many hunting areas, food scents are usually legal and acceptable. You have to decide if they are right for your hunting situation.
The final layer of scent strategy is the category of biological and sexual attractant scents. This has become a science unto itself, with bottled and canned scents appropriate to every part of the season. There are scents and techniques appropriate to establishing mock scrapes, laying scent trails, and establishing dominance of both bucks and does.