Judge Rules Ads Were Deceptive

Perhaps the biggest news story in the hunting industry this week is out of Minnesota,
where a U.S District Court Judge issued a summary judgment that found ALS Enterprises,
maker of Scent-Lok clothing and technology, liable for deceptive advertising. Also
named in the suit were Cabela’s and Gander Mountain, companies that either sold Scent-Lok
products or were licensees who used patents to make and market their own products.

The lawsuit is three years in the making. The suit was originally filed by three Minnesota
hunters who claimed they were misled by past Scent-Lok advertising campaigns that
allegedly implied the clothing completely eliminates human odor. Early reports of
the judgment, if it is upheld, indicate the plaintiffs would recoup the money they
spent on Scent-Lok products.

Since the news of this judgment hit the Internet, we have received numerous inquiries
on the legitimacy of scent-reduction products in general. We actually reported on
this specific category – activated carbon – as far back as five years ago, and included
the opinions of some of the best whitetail hunters in North America.

As the editor of D&DH, I receive thousands of queries each year — be it emails, letters
or phone calls — from loyal readers wanting to pick my brain on everything from ethics
and hunting strategies to new hunting gear. One of the most common questions I receive
centers on carbon clothing: “Does it work?” My simple answer is always a qualified,
“yes.”

I started using activated-carbon clothing after sharing a camp with Minnesota’s Gary
Clancy in 1995. Clancy, one of North America’s most respected whitetail hunters, said
carbon clothing drastically increased his success rate. He wasn’t kidding. I’ve used
activated-carbon clothing ever since and have yet to be completely “busted” by a deer’s
nose.

Sure, I’ve had several occasions where deer sensed something was wrong, but instead
of snorting or sprinting away, they retreated with suspicious caution. On those occasions,
I’ve attributed my own sloppiness — failing to shower or spray down with scent-killing
spray — to the unsuccessful encounters. Clancy and I are not alone in our belief that
activated-carbon clothing is an awfully effective hunting tool.

Having chased big whitetails and black bears for more than 40 years, Michigan’s Richard
Smith is one of North America’s most successful whitetail hunters. Smith achieved
deer hunting celebrity status by honing his skills the old-fashioned way, but has
since learned to take full advantage of modern technology. Today, he’s a firm believer
in activated-carbon clothing. In fact, he won’t go hunting without it. “In most cases,
I wear a (activated-carbon) hood and gloves in addition to coat and pants,” Smith
said. “I sometimes also wear an under layer. I’ve experienced many situations where
whitetails have not winded me when they otherwise would have. Although I still pay
attention to wind direction when deer hunting, it’s not always possible to predict
which way whitetails will come from, and wind direction frequently shifts direction.”
Although Smith will be the first to admit carbon clothing isn’t a silver bullet, he
adds, “it at least reduces the chances of deer smelling me, and that’s always a plus.”

Renowned buck-hunter Doug Below agrees. “It certainly is another weapon to use against
the whitetail’s nose … or at least holds them downwind for another second or two,
which may result in an opportunity for a killing shot,” Below said.

Fellow outdoor writer Steve Bartylla is another respected big-buck hunter who believes
in activated carbon clothing. “A whitetail’s nose can be defeated,” Bartylla said.
“However, one must think of and address every item brought into the woods with them,
as well as treat their bodies and clothing. (Activated-carbon clothing) then becomes
the critical and final layer of defense. Taking this approach, I am able to hunt the
best stands for a given day, not the best stand for a given wind. This provides me
with a tremendous advantage.” “Before carbon suits, all of my hunting clothing was
washed in baking soda, dried outside and stored in containers with pine limbs,” Bartylla
continued. “I showered before every trip into the woods and washed my equipment in
hydrogen peroxide. After all of that, I would still get winded by around 25 percent
of the deer that entered bow-range. Since incorporating (activated-carbon clothing)
into my odor reduction techniques, that percentage has dropped to less than 1 percent.”

Minnesota’s Pat Reeve is another firm believer. Reeve makes his living by filming
and hunting mature whitetails across the country. His successes are well documented,
as are his beliefs in high-tech hunting gear. “A scent suit is not a cure-all for
becoming entirely scent-free, but it’s the final step to a process that helps control
your odor,” Reeve said. “The first step in the process is to wash all your clothes
in scent-free detergent and store them in a scent-free environment. I also will activate
my suit if I haven’t done it in a while. The next step is taking a shower, using scent-free
soap and shampoo, then dressing in something other than what you’re going to hunt
in. I then drive to my hunting location and dress in the field — not in the truck
or at the camp house. The final step is to spray everything with scent-killing spray,
making sure your boots and legs get a double dose.”

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