-By Brandon Wikman
There has been much discussion and controversy within the hunting community on what the ‘magic formula’ is composed of in regards to beating a buck’s nose.
From technologically advanced carbon-lined suits that absorb odor molecules, to magical mists that kill scent on contact, we’ve literally seen it all. There’s truly no telling what new scent elimination business will launch next or the latest marketing strategy a company will use. I’ve been taught, just like any other hunter across the country that trial-and-error is the only method to personally test your week’s pay on products that mask, cover or ‘eliminate’ human odor.
It is from these tried-and-true life experiences in the woods hunting, that we brew our own assumptions and conclusions. Personally, I’ve always believed that a deer will smell you 100% of the time once downwind of your location. No matter what you wear, how you smell, or what you see on television.
I do happen to think that using products that help minimize your odor is important, but not exclusive. Let’s take a look at an example: Any hunter who walks out of a restaurant, jumps into his truck, changes into his carbon-lined suit with a few sprits of scent eliminator and thinks he’s going to beat a buck’s nose is crazy, period.
Even though a deer will usually smell you once it’s downwind of your location, it doesn’t give you reason to skimp on the necessary steps in controlling your scent. I base my opinion on personal experience and priceless lessons from veteran hunters. The keyword is ‘minimize’, not eliminate. You will never totally eliminate every human-bearing scent particle that escapes your body, but on the other hand you can severely minimize it.
I’ve had deer directly downwind of me that never spooked, blew, or stomped. Although, they did lick their nose and toss back their head sniffing the foreign scent. They sniffed me out like we do a batch of freshly baked cookies, yet my scent wasn’t overpowering. Deer seemed to deal with the foreign odor and accept that a human was in the area at one time, but not specifically knowing when. I believe that is the difference between smelling like a human and smelling minimally like a human that sat in the stand a few days ago.
The moral of the story is that you cannot fully rely on using powder-based, plastic wrapped, next generation styled products that promise the world. I think we can all agree on how sometimes marketing and advertising can be deceiving, but that is how the game is played. It is our duty to make the better judgment and put our own seal of approval on a product.
The only tactic I do rely on is the old farm trick I use when hunting back at home. Considering the whitetail where I grew up were used to the potent smell of manure, silage, and tractors, I spent the afternoon at my uncle’s dairy farm before walking to my tree stand! Not only did it help me stuff meat in the freezer, but also arrow a few exceptional bucks.