By Alex Comstock
Scent control in the deer hunting world. It can be a fascinating conversation between hunters. Does it work? Is it pointless? How about somewhere in between? I think at the end of the day it comes down to the individual hunter and what works for you. But what if you don't know if you should practice scent control or not? Well today, I'm going to give you my honest thoughts on it, and how I approach my scent control strategy.
Let's Talk Wind
Before I get into anything else, I want to make it very clear that playing the wind, and understanding how mature bucks use the wind is in my mind, the most important part of the scent control conversation. In my opinion, and from what I've seen in my time chasing whitetails, no matter how in detail you go with scent control, if you don't play the wind, things are most likely not going to turn out well for you. You need to be able to hypothesize on where deer are when you are headed into the field, and where they'll be moving through. Obviously things can always happen that are out of your control, but if you have a handle on this, you'll be better off for it.
What Scent Control Measures I Take
There are so many different levels to scent control. Some hunters tweak out about it, and do literally everything out there that you possibly can. I've heard of hunters even having separate washers and dryers for their hunting clothes. When it comes to me, I like to keep it simple, and after I explain what I do, I'll go into the why.
I usually am purchasing scent free laundry detergent, shampoo, and deodorant. I wash my clothes in the scent free detergent every so often, and shower in scent free shampoo and body wash before most of my hunts. When I head out to the field, I usually only wear my base layers in the vehicle. I'll then change and get my outer layers on out in the field. When it comes to spraying scent free spray of some sort, I usually use something, and the last couple of years I have been trying Nose Jammer (although I have no conclusions about it yet). While doing all of these things, the most important still above the rest is the wind. But some of you reading this might be asking what's the point of partaking in any scent control if you think the wind is still the number one factor?
Why Do I Even Take The Measures That I Do?
In my mind, the answer is simple. To you, it may or may not make sense. But the only reason I practice any scent control measures is for the "just in case" moment. The moment I've got a mature buck working his way towards me, but a doe gets downwind. I hope that the scent control measures that I do take will cause that doe to maybe hesitate and not completely spook right away. She might smell me, but if she thinks I'm 200 yards away instead of 20, she may give me time to still get that shot on the mature buck. That's what it ultimately comes down to for me. I wouldn't take the time that the hunter who takes every scent control measure in the world does. But, I hope the little that I do may help me in a tight situation one hunt, even if for only a few extra moments.
What Should You Do?
My advice would be to evaluate a couple different things. How much time and resources do you want to devote to scent control? A ton? None? Or somewhere right in the middle? I think it also comes down to your knowledge of how bucks use the wind, and how to use the wind to your advantage. For instance, a couple of my buddies over at The Hunting Public have explained time and time again that they use zero scent control measures, will go grab food in their hunting clothes, and even pump gas while in their hunting clothes. Some people would think that's downright crazy, but they are experts at knowing how to play the wind from the time they leave the vehicle to the time they return, and they're pretty dang successful, even without using any scent control. It just goes to show that every situation is a little bit different, and you just need to figure out what works for you.
Do you have a tried and true scent control regimen? Let us know in the comments!