How many times have you bemoaned the ability of your bowhunting quarry to detect your presence through their exceptional sense of smell?
Surely, nothing keeps us from our goal of bowhunting success more than this reality. Over the years, I learned a methodical approach to scent elimination that has proven very, very effective for me. Such being the case, to say that my negative impact on the animals that I bowhunt has decreased dramatically, would be an understatement. Let's take a look at my four-prong approach to scent elimination.
Clothing And Gear
I won't spend too much time here because we're all aware of the need to address this category. Please allow me to ramble for a moment, however: Use scent-eliminating soap for your clothes, and preferably, air-dry them outside. Use scent-eliminating sprays on gear such as backpacks and don't carry odorous items (such as food) in the pack unless they are sealed. Don't wear your hunting boots anywhere except afield -- sprinkle the inside of them with baking soda regularly. Wear light clothing to your stand so as to prevent yourself from perspiring. Carry your outerwear (such as Scent-Lok) in a sealed bag inside your pack -- put it on when you're near your stand.
External Personal Hygiene
I won't spend a lot of time here either because we're all aware of the need for strict personal hygiene before going afield. Please allow me to ramble again: Try to shower immediately prior to going afield -- and use scent-eliminating soap. Use a scent-killing product under your arms -- baking soda works great. Consider wetting your hair down with a scent eliminator spray -- baking soda and water works great. Consider washing your mouth out with baking soda water. Try to stay cool on your walk to your stand -- take a scent eliminator spray to your stand and use it before you climb aboard, especially if you perspired on your walk in.
Internal Personal Hygiene
Here, we address a topic that a lot of hunters either don't know about or don't take seriously. Let me tell you this ... this approach is well worth the effort involved. There are tablets available that are designed to act as an internal deodorizer -- the base ingredient is chlorophyllin copper complex. These tablets will literally "make your poop not stink!" Unless I was going to begin a strict vegetarian diet well before hunting season begins, I would consider these tablets a must. To get them, check with your local drugstore, or type "chlorophyllin copper tables" in your favorite search engine to find an online pharmacy selling them.
Start the dosage about a month before hunting time. After you've been on the tablets for a couple of weeks, consider going to a steam room and "sweating out" to cleanse your pores and to allow the effects of the tablets to begin to work through your sweat glands.
Keep taking the tablets religiously throughout the season, however, don't exceed the recommended dosage or you may get nauseated. Within a short time of starting the tablets, you'll notice that your stool becomes almost odorless. Soon, you'll begin to notice that your perspiration doesn't make you smell bad anymore. In short, you'll become much-less odiferous than ever before. Your feet won't stink and your breath will become much sweeter. Use this as a base approach to human scent elimination and you'll be way ahead of the game from the get-go.
Scent Inhibiting Clothing
Finally, we get to another category that we've all heard a great deal about. Certainly, clothing designed to absorb and/or inhibit human scent has a viable place in every hunter's arsenal. A base layer such as Scent-Lok's "base slayer" is a good start next to the body. It's a good idea to make your outer layer one of Scent-Lok also -- overkill doesn't hurt. Additionally, be sure to use a head covering, preferably one that provides a filter over your mouth. Tuck your pants over the tops of your boots -- I even use tape here. Make sure to tightly close the neck of your shirt or coat around the headcover.
Certainly, this overall system of scent elimination/control is time and labor intensive ... but then again, what about top-end bowhunting isn't? Is it overkill? ... maybe. Is it 100 percent fool-proof? ... no. But is it very, very effective? ... you bet.
Now, answer this question. What's it worth to you to keep deer from smelling you 90 percent of the time? Well, I can tell you this ... if you follow this regimen effectively, you'll find out that it's worth a lot!
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Eddie Claypool provides tips on bowhunting, with an emphasis on whitetails. Over the past 20 years, Eddie has harvested 50-plus Pope & Young animals. Most of these animals were taken on public ground, though some came from private ground that was accessed through hard work & a handshake. He has not been on guided hunts, nor has he hunted on "managed" properties. Elk, Mule Deer, Antelope & Whitetails are his favorite species.