Why Deer Think You Stink, Part 2

… And 4 Things You Can Do About It.

by Steve Sorensen

What you can do to take care of scent at the source.
We’ve talked about the three main sources of odor a hunter (or anyone) produces – sweat, skin cells, and mouth. Now we need to figure out how to get control of them.

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You may not need special brand-name hunting products to shower with, but you need to use something, and they’re not expensive.

First, shower before you hunt. Don’t worry about a little grease under your fingernails from that last D-I-Y oil change – that’s not the big problem. Your challenge is twofold. (1.) Wash away the bacteria that has been partying on your body. And (2.) create conditions on your body that are inhospitable to the growth of new bacteria. How do you do that? Lather up real good with anti-bacterial soap. Without scent added. Think of your skin after your shower as a desert—nothing’s growing there.

Second, realize that you’ll start shedding skin cells as soon as you towel off. You need to stop that. An anti-bacterial body lotion will help a lot. It will moisturize the skin that has just been dried by soap, and keep those dead skin cells hanging on a little longer instead of channeling down your sleeves and sprinkling out like salt on French fries everywhere you go. Again, use a product with no scent added.

Third, brush your teeth, and your tongue, and the inside of your cheeks. Do it as far back as you can go—test your gag reflex with the toothbrush. Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Exhaled air contains an enormous volume of gases, and they’ll drift wherever the air currents take them—so make those gases less threatening. Eat something fresh and natural. Chew a mild, minty, sugar-free gum. (Sugar just feeds more bacteria in your mouth.) Or take some apple slices with you into the woods and keep one in your mouth as much as you can.

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This toothpaste might not be the only kind that works to reduce your mouth odor, but brushing your teeth is imperative, even if you do it with
baking soda.

These three steps will go a long way toward putting you in control of the scent your body produces. And that’s important, because unless you do all three, you’re not fully addressing the sources of scent. You WILL get noticed by deer.

Fourth, make sure your hunting clothes are clean. To those guys who say they don’t wash their clothing the entire season, I say “Good.” Why? Because if they’re hunting in the area I hunt, a nice buck might run into me while avoiding them.

Never fail to wash your hunting clothes. Use baking soda, or one of those fancy odor-eliminating detergents. If you can’t easily wash your outerwear, let it air out in the outdoors and switch off between two sets.

Now that you’ve addressed human odor at the point of origin, and covered your body with clean clothing washed in scent-free detergent, other techniques can now be effective. None of this has cost much, and it lays the foundation for investing in the expensive gear that fights human scent if that’s what you want to do.

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Baking soda is known to keep body odor down, but it can’t hurt to use a stick deodorant designed to suppress body odor.

Clothing impregnated with activated charcoal can tie up the odor molecules that come off our bodies. Silver, a natural anti-microbial, woven into clothing can do the same. Cover your scent by storing your clothes in a bag or an air-tight tub with dirt from under your treestand if you want. Chew chlorophyll gum. Various sprays using charcoal, baking soda, colloidal silver and secret mystery ingredients are supposed to lock up human scent, and I don’t doubt they do—but all of these products will do a much better job if you start by making it a small job for them.

Most hunters are interested in anything that gives them an advantage over the deer’s most valuable defense – his nose. Certainly nothing works miracles, and even all these steps won’t beat the deer’s nose all the time because a deer’s ability to smell is truly remarkable.

Don’t forget the biggest piece to the scent-control puzzle. You must still overcome the wind. For that, only one thing works all the time. Only one thing always beat the deer’s nose. A deer can’t smell you if you’re downwind. Like I was from my cologne-up hunting buddy those many years ago. You may not nuzzle a buck, but getting within 20 yards won’t be a problem.

If you missed Part 1 of this blog, just click here.


steve-sorensen-head-shotAbout Steve Sorensen

Outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen writes an award-winning newspaper column called The Everyday Hunter®, and is the editor of the Havalon Sportsman’s Post. He is the author of Growing Up With Guns. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow him at www.EverydayHunter.com.[hs_action id=”8244″]

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