Walk on the Wild Side

Squashing the stench to fool a buck’s nose: Part 2

November 14, 2013 

Last week I took a look at things we can do before the hunt to circumvent a deer’s biggest asset. Of course, I’m speaking of a deer’s nose and its ability to pick up on the slightest smell at incredible distances.

I’m always amazed at how many hunters don’t bother to consider things such as wind direction and scent prevention. Along with their own odor, they throw caution to the wind and rely on nothing more than sheer luck, which typically results not seeing a thing while out there. When you know the facts, hunting in this manner makes little sense.

Consider this: With 5 million olfactory receptors, the human nose is capable of picking up odors pretty well. A deer has almost 300 million olfactory receptors.

So what can we do besides at home-preparations covered last week?

I use an ozone generator that pumps pure ozone into the container holding my hunting clothes. This removes any odors or odor causing bacteria that survived the washing machine and the scent eliminating detergent. Ozone generators can be purchased from outdoors stores, and are inexpensive and easy to use. When I come in from a morning hunt, I remove my hunting clothes, toss them into the container and run a 30-minute cycle that will squash any smells I’ve added to my camo since I put it on that morning.

Ever wear your hunting clothes into the local grill to grab a bite for lunch?

Smells from foods and fryers are some of the easiest to pick up and will saturate your clothes as badly as smoke. Similar mistakes include pumping gas in your camo and even walking into a convenience store since many of these stores offer fried foods such as chicken. It doesn’t take anything more than stepping in the door of such places for a split second to ruin the hunt.

Careful attention should be continued when you arrive on your hunting grounds, whether you’re hunting that day or not. Once you’ve found the perfect spot for your tree stand, it’s important to study the layout of the land to find entry and exit points for specific winds. If even the slightest breeze is going to carry your scent toward the deer’s bedding areas or the food source they’ll be traveling from, you’re wasting your time.

Use scent elimination sprays well before going into the woods and pay close attention to your boots and pant legs that will come in contact with the ground and tall vegetation as you make your way to your spot. Otherwise you’re sure to transfer numerous unnatural smells along your path and these will make a mature buck do a 180 degree turn and head back the other way.

There is also a way to take advantage of the scent killing benefits of ozone while you’re sitting in the tree.

Ozonics scent eliminators were introduced a couple years ago to much skepticism. The battery operated device was said to eliminate a deer’s ability to smell you by placing a curtain of ozone between the hunter and his prey. I thought that was ridiculous. But the joke just might be on me.

I discussed Ozonics with Russell Thornberry, famed outdoor writer and founding editor of Buckmasters magazine. He’s been using field ozone generators for a while and is convinced of their effectiveness.

“Ozonics differs dramatically from all other scent elimination systems in that it doesn’t attempt to subdue or contain scent molecules on the person,” he said. “Rather, it eliminates the airborne scent molecules as they drift downwind of the hunter through the use of ozone molecules, which neutralize scent molecules upon contact.”

Russell said he has been using Ozonics for the past two bow seasons and it has enabled him to hunt from locations, which, because of wind direction, he would never have attempted before.

“Two of the last three bucks I’ve arrowed were directly downwind of me from 15 to 25 yards, respectively,” he added. “They were both older, fully mature bucks with one scoring in the high 180s.”

I’ll soon be giving these units a hard look as I continue my obsession with finding every advantage available.

The biggest lesson any deer hunter must learn in regards to human odors or other unnatural scent is any and all efforts that can be made to eliminate them should be made before entering the woods. Period.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer from Clover. Visit his website at bradharveyoutdoors.com and follow him on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.

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