Marti Davis Afield: Get the stink out! On scent control while hunting

Several years ago, a friend of mine shared one of his primary deer hunting tips, and it has stuck with me to this day. “You have to be willing to give up whatever is downwind,” he said. Scent control is crucial when hunting deer, because sense of smell is its keenest sense. When deer hunting, you have to be conscious of and meticulous with your scent control, along with using the wind in your favor.


Marti Davis Afield is sponsored by

Marti Davis Afield is sponsored by


Scent control for your gear

At the end of the season, I make sure my gear is clean before putting it in plastic storage tubs. Prior to season, I pull my gear out of storage, and give it a quick “once over” with a scent-eliminating spray, such as Skull Bound Odor Eliminator spray.


hunt dri

Marti uses Hunt-Dri Scent-Free Waterproofing spray on her ground blind.


I make sure to “air out” bigger items like treestands and blinds. I will also apply scent-eliminating spray, paying close attention to the fabric cushions. One item I’m using on my ground blinds this year is the Hunt-Dri Scent-Free Waterproofing Spray. I have used waterproofing spray on my blinds in the past to help keep me drier in those wet weather hunts. I was happy to find a scent-free version.

Odor free and clean hunting clothes

There are several unscented laundry soaps available from the hunting department of a local sporting goods retailer.  I’m going to share my hunting clothes laundry secret with you; I use the Tide Free liquid laundry soap. It is scent free, dye free and gets even the dirtiest of clothes clean, just without any strong smells.

For items that can go in the dryer, I use unscented dryer sheets to control static cling. These can be found in the hunting department at a sporting goods store, or frankly, at a grocery store. Also, invest in a drying rack like your granny had … you can always hang up that wick-away stuff and avoid using the dryer at all. Just make sure you don’t keep the rack in an odiferous setting, or near the smoker.

I also use a boot dryer. Moisture is what breeds odor-causing bacteria. So, getting the inside of boots dry and scent free is important.


Marti Davis buck

Marti worked the wind and was able to arrow this beautiful Illinois buck.


Another tool to be considered in your scent-free arsenal is the ScentMaster Scent Elimination System. It is a scent eliminator and drying system and available from HerCamoShop. Here is a description of how this system works:

The unique design of ScentMaster allows you to place a special, activated charcoal filter over the air outlets in the bottom of the box and in the scent basket, and continuously re-circulate the air via the powerful motor that moves the air at 110 cubic feet per minute, absorbing all unwanted odors from your clothing. In addition, once your clothing has been cleaned of unwanted scents, you can easily remove the charcoal filters, and place a scent wick with your favorite scent or a scent bag with you own secret cover scent; in the scent basket, and thoroughly impregnate your clothing with a cover scent. 

Your body and your scent

Before I go out on a hunt, I use HerCamoShop’s scent-free, scent-eliminating body wash.  I also use their scent-free shampoo and conditioner on my hair. A majority of scent on your person comes from your hair. Using scent free products is imperative in my regimen. HerCamoShop also has these scent-free body care products in its line-up:

*Scent-free hair gel

*Scent-free hair spray

*Scent-free lotion


HerCamoShop travel pack

HerCamoShop offers a travel pack of their scent-free products.


Hunting the wind and thermals

Frances E. Sell, a well know deer hunter and author, breaks down wind and thermals in his book, “Art of Successful Deer Hunting (1971).” Here is a list of his 10 tips on deer hunting with the effects of thermals and winds:

1. Wind changes and prevailing air currents shape deer trails.

2. Change the wind and the trail activity changes.

3. Thermal wind is an air current set in motion by temperature changes.

4. As the temperature changes, the direction of the thermal drag changes. Under stable weather conditions the thermals go down slopes, creeks and valleys from late evening until early morning.

5. From late morning until the evening reversal, thermal air currents move up slopes, valleys and draws, from the lower to the higher ground.

6. The inflow of game in late morning always travels from the direction of the more open feeding areas.

7. In the late evening it’s just the opposite, with the deer traffic being toward the more open country.

8. Deer trails are always a primary consideration whether you still hunt, drive a section of territory or just trail watch.

9. When still hunting deer trails, duplicate in your movements both the sound and pace of deer

10. Trail watching is a very exacting art.


wind checker

Powder wind checkers can help keep track of shifting winds and thermals.

There are a couple of different items you can use to keep tabs on the wind, like odorless-powder wind puffers and also white-fiber wind checkers. I always make sure to have at least 1 of these items in my hunting pack.

If you’re like me, you invest too much time and effort into hunting to get lax about your scent control.

  • About Marti Davis

    Marti Davis is a staff member for Browning Trail Cameras, WoolX and Mossy Oak. She is an authority on most types of hunting in North America, and very active in mentoring the next generation of young hunters.