The following article is a guest post from Craig Pearson, a contributing author for HuntWildPig.com and writer for Night Vision 4 Less As always, Craig points out great hog hunting scent control techniques, products, and preparation. Enjoy! – Greg-
De-Scenting for Your Next Hunt
The process of de-scenting before or during a hunt is probably easiest to outline if split into two groups- active and passive de-scenting. It’s also generally fair to suggest that these subdivisions are useful for differentiating the hobbyist hunting enthusiast from the truly committed. It takes a special kind of loyalty to a sport for someone wearing dirt-smeared clothing to sit perfectly still in a blind for hours at a time (except when bugling for an angry, territorial animal that outweighs you by several hundred pounds, not counting 40 pounds of antler, looking for love), face smeared with odor and bacteria- retardant paint and spritzed with elk urine.
Actually, “passive” de-scenting isn’t always entirely passive. For our purposes, “passive” here is more inclusively defined as steps that can be undertaken without a sizable expenditure of time or money. First off, nothing will keep a cagey wild animal from your position like synthetic, exclusively human smells. These include dyes, perfumes, detergents, colognes, deodorants etc. So the first step is to remove these obvious tell-scents when preparing for a hunt.
Washing Hunting Clothes
Washing clothes in a washing machine, particularly a public one is going to leave clothing with trace chemical odors. To minimize this smell-transfer, before you wash your hunting clothes run the washing machine with nothing but hot water followed by an extra spin cycle. Instead of detergent, for the following wash cycle use a scoop of baking soda. Avoid the dryer- air dry your gear if possible. If you’re willing to do so (or more importantly, if the people in your life are willing to deal) avoid chemical deodorants and antiperspirants for several days before the hunt. A salt crystal deodorant (found in most large chain grocery outlets and health food stores) is a tell-scent neutral alternative.
Purge The Artificial Scents From Your Skin
During this scent-avoidance process, a sweat-purge (passive or active) is a good step. Passively- refrain from consuming spicy or strong–smelling foods. No garlic, curry, hot sauce, onions, processed/cured meats or similarly pungent foods. Native Americans traditionally sat in a sweat lodge before a hunt- perhaps not an option for the average hunter, but an active sauna session and/or the consumption of more water than you’d generally drink can achieve roughly the same purpose.
For the aforementioned truly committed the active de-scenting process, like the passive, begins days before the hunt begins. If a baking soda cycle in the hot rinse-cleansed washing machine isn’t enough, most big sporting goods franchises (such as Cabela’s) stock scent-killing-carbon-enriched detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Just as many offer de-scenting soaps, shampoos, deodorants and even mouthwash. For the strong-of-stomach- there’s rotting-meat incense to infuse your camo and hunter- orange with one of nature’s most pungent perfumes. (You’re definitely going to want to clear this one with the spouse and/or housemates before you fire a stick up.) Other options- storing or tossing your clothes in woods (rather than nursery-purchased) dirt, cedar chips or washing your clothes in a stream once at camp before rubbing them with local dirt once they’re dry.
Campsite Scent Control
Now that you’re at camp, having successfully neutralized your human/artificial scents (even buying scentless urination pouches that immediately set your pee into a scentless gel when… used), it’s time to get proactive and undo all your careful neutralization by adding scent. For ambient smell-attractors, hunters can choose from rutting game-scented wafers that hang from or near blinds or tree-stands. Those can be used standalone or in combination with soil, decaying/live vegetation or acorn scent- impregnated fans to waft your olfactory lure toward that hidden trophy buck or bull.
An Arsenal of Scent Tools
Other scent tools to draw rutting males range from the personal- game-specific urine or rutting-musk sprays and rubs and the aforementioned water-resistant and odor/bacteria retardant face-paint; to the expansive- scented trail-drags that draw bucks and bulls like a trail of crumbs draws birds and candy- house witches. And scent bombs. That’s right- bombs. Once your odor-bomb is popped, the game- enchanting aroma of doe urine or estrus to draw the buck in for love, or rutting buck scent to draw him in for war, is disseminated up to an eighth of a mile in all directions.
Obviously, there are a wealth of both scenting and de-scenting products out there for the discerning hunter, too many to mention here. These are some good starter steps, though. The key to success is experimenting with the available products and procedures until it becomes clear what works best for you and for your area and stick with them. Good luck in the trees.
Scent Control Resources