Fast forward two years and I have now taken a few deer on my own and I have realized quite a few things that have greatly improved my chances filling my freezer. I thought back to my scouting missions with my friend and realized that we used no scent masking or eliminating products, my buddy who lived in the area had several tree stands set up to take advantage of the any wind conditions. One of the most important things a bow hunter can do to lessen the chance of being detected is set up on an angle so that you scent will be carried away from your position or at least will stay above the animals for some distance as it disperses and grows fainter. Many hunters do not have the ability to use multiple tree stands and may sometimes need to hunt in less than desirable stands for the current wind. Knowing the area and having the ability to use a climbing tree stand may be of great help.
In order to give you the best chance of getting Deer in close enough for a good shot, and I am one of those folks who believe that a good shot is one that you will not miss the proper placement of your arrow from a distance you can expertly handle in the current conditions. Lucky shots should not ever come into play when hunting, Get It! To get the animal to that distance you need to do everything possible to mask your scent. There are many products on the market to assist in this process, but make sure you are using a good one, as to you and I, a scent designed to smell like an acorn to us, may smell like a human wearing acorn underwear to a deer. You may also need to match your masking scent to the type of environment you are hunting. REMEMBER, there is a difference between scent blocking and scent masking.
Even better than something to mask your scent is a product that will block it all together (you can use both at the same time). Activated Carbon is widely used in scent blocking clothing due to its ability to absorb odors, (even my infamous Delicatessen smell!). Activated Carbon can absorb and hold the gas molecules that are associated with our odors. There is an article of clothing for every hunter’s need, from under layers to hats to socks and boot material. Match the clothing and layers needed to the area and time of year you will be hunting. I prefer to be a little on the cooler side as I tend to sweat a bit more walking into the woods, which is never a good thing when hunting.
Finally, once you have used your scent blocking (activated carbon) garments, make sure that you only wash them with laundry detergents specifically made for this type of material. The reason for this is that the odors in normal detergent will engage the available odor absorbing properties of the garment and fill it up with those odor molecules, making it unable to retain more odors when hunting. Heat activates the carbon so a tumble in the dryer will do very nicely, but it is vitally important to remember, once you take the clothing from the dryer, immediately place it in a scent free, air tight container or plastic storage bag, I use the zippered bag that my down comforter came in and merely sprayed it down with scent blocking spray.
Take the clothes out of the bag once you have gotten to the area you have parked before heading in to the woods. This can be tricky if you are hunting in very low temps, a freezing rain, etc., but you get the idea! Just before heading in, spray yourself down with a good scent eliminating spray and don’t forget your boots as these can lead a trail of human scents right to your stand. Once you get used to these procedures they will become simple and part of your normal routine, and can help you greatly increase your chances of a successful hunt.