Locavore Blog: Basic Scent Control for Beginners

Scent control is an important part of hunting that beginners need to learn and experienced hunters are always improving upon. While I thought I understood some of the basics based on the years of washing my husband’s hunting clothes in ScentKiller detergent, there are so many other aspects that are important if you hope to get a buck.

Hunting expert Bryce Towsley met with me the other day to discuss the basics of scent control as well as offering up a few interesting tips he’s learned throughout his over 40 year hunting career.

One important thing to note, for women especially, is to be aware of applying lotions, sunblocks, chapstick, and cosmetics prior to heading out to hunt. While we may not be able to smell the underlying scent, a deer will be able to — and he’ll know we’re there before we even sit down.

A deer trusts its nose above anything else. Since we know that a deer can smell incredibly well, it’s important to practice scent control not just when you’re in your tree stand or ground blind, but when you’re walking into your hunting location, checking your trail cameras when scouting, or even touching your hunting boots or trees as you walk by. It’s important to remember simple tips like taking off your hunting boots if you are driving a truck to another hunting location because even that brief point of contact with your gas and brake pedals will cover your boots with foreign scent that will then be picked up by the deer’s nose when you head to your hunting location.

Hunting expert Bryce Towsley shares his knowledge on scent control.

Hunting expert Bryce Towsley shares his knowledge on scent control.

Basic Scent Control for Beginners:

  • Wash your hunting clothes with special laundry detergent that aids in killing scent. Do this a week or so before you plan to go out hunting, then hang those clothes outside so they absorb natural odors. Store them outside during hunting season. Don’t forget to keep boots outside, too.
  • Begin using scent control shampoos and soaps a few days before hunting season begins. Don’t forget to launder some towels in scent control laundry detergent and use those to dry off. Using the same towel over and over will not help block scent.
Wildlife Research Center offers a variety of scent control products and cover scents.

Wildlife Research Center offers a variety of scent control products and cover scents.

  • Wear hunting clothing with scent control. It won’t completely cover your scent, but it’s a start. Rubber boots are a great choice since rubber doesn’t hold odor. Just be careful to take them off when not hunting — and wash them off in natural streams or rivers, if possible.
  • Use scent killer sprays and cover scents once you are in your hunting spot. Spray everything — even your bow and arrows.

Remember that good scent control will never entirely mask your presence to a deer. It will buy you time — and hopefully enough time to get the shot that you want.

If you want to see the full scent control segment with Bryce Towsley along with other information on beginning bowhunting, we’ll be releasing a Beginner’s Guide to Archery for Women DVD this fall.

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