A whitetail deer has a terrific sense of smell. A hundred times better than humans, a thousand times better? Who knows for sure but I’ve seen bucks get a whiff of me a quarter mile away and there have probably been others I didn’t see because they smelled me even farther. That’s why I choose stands and make stalks designed to put the deer upwind of me.
When Ron Bice goes deer hunting, it’s his goal to be scent free. Two different philosophies? Almost.
Ron Bice was the marketing guy (among other things) for Wildlife Research, Inc., a company who manufacturers elixirs designed to smell good to deer and scent elimination products to use on clothing, boots and one’s skin to keep deer from smelling us hunters. Ron knows a deer can smell infinitely better than humans and he knows he’s not going to head into the woods 100% scent free. “If I can go into my stand 99% scent free,” he said, “I’m going to be way ahead of the game. Any deer that smells me, isn’t going to get a full nose full of human scent. They’ll get a faint, indistinct whiff. The sort of smell they get when a human is 5 or 6 hundred yards away. That may put them on alert, but it isn’t going to make them bolt.”
Ron’s system is complex, but is based on common sense about scent. He wears clean clothes with no foreign odors and goes into each hunt with a clean body with no foreign odors.
His company makes special laundry detergents which are scent free. Most laundry detergents have perfuming ingredients which make clothes smell good when they are freshly laundered.
Ron wants his hunting clothes coming out smelling like nothing, and especially not perfumed.
“Depending on the detergent you normally use, your washing machine might be so contaminated with perfumed soap residue you’ll need to ‘season’ the washer. Run a load or two of your regular laundry through the machine using our scent free detergent. It’ll clean your laundry well–and your washing machine,” said Bice.
Bice continued, “If possible, dry the clothes outside on a clothes line. If you must put them in a drier, we have a scent killer spray you can spray the drum of the drier with to eliminate any latent odors.”
Once Bice’s clothes are clean and scent free, he adds scent to them. The garb is all stored in plastic totes. Shirts, jackets, everything goes into the tote–and then a good measure of leaves, twigs and grass native to the area he plans to hunt goes into the tote with the clothing. “Instead of smelling neutral,” Bice said, “the clothes are smelling natural.”
Ron takes a good shower before each hunt using his company’s scent free bath soap and shampoo. “I strive to stay as cool as possible while traveling to my stand. Perspiration is a sure source of body odor,” he reminded me. “Although, we do have a scent free deodorant product.”
“Okay, your skin is clean, your clothes smell like an oak woods, you wear rubber boots to your stand and have applied Scent Killer to anything your thinks might have become contaminated. Any other tips?”
“If you do all this you’ll be something like 95% scent free. If you want to boost it to almost 100% do things like wear surgical gloves when handling any deer lures. Watch what you eat. Oatmeal or cereal is a good breakfast. Bacon or sausage isn’t. When I know there are deer in the area downwind of my stand, I breath through my nose,” he said.
Then he added. All of this matters but I still play the wind if possible, but being scent free means I’m not eliminating the part of my hunting territory which happens to be downwind.
You can view all the Wildlife Reseach, Inc. products at www.wildlife.com.