Now is the time to head to the woods in hopes of harvesting the ever so elusive whitetail. Confident that you have taken the extra effort in laundering your hunting clothes in scent destroying detergents and made the necessary steps to use scent destroying shower and personal hygiene products, it is important to follow with the necessary “in the field” practices to remain scent free in your labors of being stealthy and undetectable to game.
There are several companies that market scent-destroying sprays, foams, lotions and field wipes to help with this task. You will find different type formulas from carbon- to silver-based and can even purchase them with an added cover scent like pine, acorn or fresh earth scents. Scent destroying sprays are specifically made to spray on your hunting clothes, boots, gloves, hats and even on your bare skin. No matter what product you choose, it will not be effective if you don’t take the proper steps to use it correctly.
When arriving at your hunting destination and before entering the woods lightly spray the interior of you boots and your socks before slipping your boots on. Remember to spray the laces of your boots if you are wearing lace up style to remove any scent your hands may have deposited. Spray your pant legs, front and back, including the groin area which is where humans carry the most body heat. Spray the front and back of your top layer, paying special attention to your armpits and lower back area where sweat will build up from the walk into your stand or walking during a stalk hunt. Take off your hat and spray the interior of the hat and lightly mist your hair and face. Don’t forget to spray your gloves and mist down or use body foam on your hands.
It is important to spray down your backpack and any other gear you are carrying in. Scent-removing field wipes are another convenient item to stow in your backpack. Field wipes can be used to wipe down you bow or firearm or to use whenever a quick clean up is needed or even to wipe down your face in removing sweat, dust, or just to refresh.
It is important to remember to refrain from wearing your hunting clothes and boots into areas where food is being prepared, gas stations, or public establishments. It is a good general rule to keep in mind never to wear hunting boots where they touch concrete or carpet – translated, that means to anything outside of what you would be hunting in. Keep a pair of slip-on or spare boots in your vehicle and change into those before entering your vehicle. If it is convenient, this is the perfect time to slip out of your top layer of hunting clothes into a spare set of clothes that have been laundered in scent-destroying detergent to keep from contaminating your base layers.
Purchase a one- or two-uart air pressurized hand sprayer from a local garden center to keep in your vehicle, making it more convenient to mist down, than the trigger spray type bottles that scent destroying products come in. This type of sprayer is pressurized by hand pumping air into the bottle and has a push and hold style trigger that is quiet and more efficient at dispensing a solid fine mist in many different positions. It is a good idea to also buy a small air pressurized sprayer to keep in your back pack to spray down for long hours in the stand or whenever you need additional coverage. The sprayer is small enough to conveniently stow in your backpack and is virtually silent; making it idea to be used in the field or in the stand without alarming nearby game. These mini hand-pump sprayers are used for spraying oil or liquids on foods and can be found in the kitchenware department of your favorite store or ordered through companies like Pampered Chef.
You should never use attractant scents on your body or boots; there have been hunters who have been attacked by various game when doing so. There are products out there such as drag rags, foot pads or even sprayer bottles to dispense attractants on surrounding bushes, limbs or directly on the ground. Using a cover scent like raccoon urine is perfectly fine for using on the bottom of your boots to deposit a cover on your tracks to your stand.
Scent destroying products have a shelf life after they have been opened because oxygen and airborne compounds react with the product and degrading its effectiveness. It is good idea to discard any scent destroying sprays that you have left over from the previous season and purchase new product. If you have scent destroying products that were purchased last season but have never been opened, it is safe to assume that these sprays will still be effective.
With the season well under way for many states and opening day close for the remaining states, you can rest assured that if you take the time to launder your hunting clothes properly, use extra effort with bathing and using scent destroying personal hygiene products, and take the time to prepare before going into the field, you will have the perfect formula for success from your labors in getting close to and harvesting game. Practice often, hunt hard and harvest ethically … oh, and let’s see, good luck!
~Nancy Jo Adams
The Guru Huntress