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Making Scents of it all

More and more, today's deer hunters are trying to remain as "scent-free" as possible. This isn't exactly anything new; unscented soaps and other like products have been on the market for some years now. Today, however, the vast selection of products is simply astounding. The question is, do you need them, and can you hunt successfully without them?

This year, I bought a Scent-Lok suit. It wasn't like me, spending a little over $250 on pants, jacket, and head cover, but I did it anyway. I envisioned deer after deer strolling by my stand, never having a clue I was anywhere in the area. Well, I've only laid eyes on one deer while wearing The Suit, and I guess it did its job well enough. I had apparently walked within 25 feet or so of a doe as I toted my climbing stand in, and after I set up and started to climb my tree, she spooked and ran. I can only presume that she saw me climbing. It seems that my field-testing of The Suit has a ways to go. I've read lots of good things about it, that's why I bought it, but I have yet to prove its worth in the field.

For a couple of years now, I've used a scent-neutralizing spray. With the unusually warm weather this year, I haven't worn The Suit as much as I would have liked (that thing is hot!), so I've relied on the spray when I've used anything at all. I've taken deer while using it, which is a good sign. But I've taken more deer while doing nothing about my scent other than watching the wind, and keeping my scent out of the probable direction I think the deer will approach from. Some of these deer were taken after several days of hot-weather (80+ degrees!) hunting here in Florida, and there's no shower at our camp.

I think most of us hunters will do anything reasonable to help ensure our success. This includes using products designed to control or remove our natural human scent. That's no problem at all, but it can sometimes be an unnecessary expense. The main thing to remember, when weighing the cost of one or more of these products, is that many, many thousands of deer have been taken by hunters who wiped their greasy hands on their britches at breakfast, spilled some gas on their boots while filling up the truck, or sweated in the Florida sun for a week without bathing. Every little bit helps, to be sure, but like the Old Man said to the Boy, "You can overdo anything."

-Russ Chastain

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