This past year I was lucky enough to connect on a 191.5” buck nicknamed Mr. Photogenic. It is Outdoor Life’s 2016 Deer of the Year, and I hunted this one single buck for 2 seasons. His home area was basically a 15 acre patch of woods on our family farm and I had to get inside his comfort zone without him knowing I was there. My scent control strategies outlined below allowed me to scout and hunt the same area over and over again before finally tagging him on November 7th, 2015.
There are a lot of variables you can’t control in hunting; wind, rain, coyotes (read the article in OL), work schedules, and/or kids up all night with a cold to name a few. But there are some things that you CAN control. I’d say you need to laser focus on those if you want to take the upper hand on your game.
There are 3 important variables in the woods I believe you can control:
• Practice - How good are you?
• Game Cameras - Are they working the way you want them to?
• Scent Control - Are you alerting deer to your presence before, during or after your excursion?
Practice: On average I shoot 4-5 arrows a day during the season. The first arrow is the only one that really matters. That’s why I only shoot a couple every day. Sometimes I only shoot one if I like the shot. But like I said I do it almost every day.
Game Cameras: I’m a black flash only kind of guy. On my old red glow cameras the deer were almost always looking at the camera. Newsflash brother - if that deer was looking at the camera you just spooked him. How many times will you spook him before he changes his behavior? Don’t let your scouting be the reason you spooked big boy out of the county.
Scent Control: The most important variable that you CAN control is your scent. Deer have great vision, excellent hearing, and off the charts capabilities when it comes to scent. You can sit absolutely still and a deer will still know that you are there. Oftentimes the deer will avoid you because of your scent and you won’t even have a chance to catch a glimpse of him. That’s why I think the sense of smell is the most important part of a deer’s defense system.
Most of the work for me that goes into hunting isn’t during the month of November. Traditionally I go over the top with scent control and scouting before and during the season. Whether it's setting up stands or placing game cameras I go to impractical lengths at times to be scent-free. I don’t check my cameras or set up any stands unless it’s during or right before a rain event. My noise level is lower and if I do have any scent on me it will get washed away. However, time is a valuable commodity we all don’t have enough of so timing out a rain event might not be feasible. That’s okay because Hunters Specialties has a new scent elimination product that will one up mother nature and some rain.
Hunters Specialties® new Scent-A-Way® Bio Strike® Odor Assault Formula
It’s proven to be at least twice as effective as ANY other scent control out there. Not just the best, twice as good as second place! Using Silver Nanoshield Technology it will absorb and eliminate more REAL human scent. NOT replicated. What the heck is Nanoshield you ask? Good question, I asked the same thing. The Patented formula employs atomized molecules to attack bacterial and fungal odors while continuing to fight and prevent odors. Nanoshield Technology increases the molecular surface area for increased odor absorption. It works so good you can only get it in odorless. It even eliminates Hunters Specialties trademark Fresh Earth Scent instantly!
Sure, spraying some scent eliminating spray on your clothes before you go out in the woods is good. If you want to be great, here are 3 quick steps on becoming 100% scent-free before you get out in the woods.
1) You have to start out with the Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike Body Wash & Shampoo. It’s different than the stuff you have used in the past in that is actually prevents odors all day.
A) I use the Body Wash and Shampoo even on days I’m not hunting. One of the main ingredients is aloe, so it won’t dry out your skin like the odor eliminating soaps of the past.
2) Follow that up with Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike Laundry Detergent. The ultra-concentrated formula doesn’t just deep clean your clothes and remove odors; it also protects from future stains.
A) Here's a quick tip on laundering; make sure to get a Scent-Safe™ Deluxe Travel Bag to put your clothes in. Don’t use a plastic tub. That’s not the tip, that’s just a strong suggestion. The tip is to spray the inside of the bag with Bio-Strike before putting your clothes in it. The reason you are washing your clothes is to get rid of scent and if the clothes were in the bag prior, guess what? The bag has that scent as well. I’m a little over the top in that I don’t actually leave the bag in the laundry room while doing the wash. I usually air it out in the yard and at times stuff some leaves in it for the hour or so till you are done with your clothes. Then I spray down the inside of the bag and my hands before I take the clothes out of the dryer. It may seem over the top, but it works.
3) The last and coolest step to get ready to make it out in the woods is using the new Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike Odor Shield. It’s a laundry additive that will make your whole load of clothes scent-free for up to 30 days. Think of that for a second - Scent Eliminating clothes without the steep price tag! The formula penetrates your fibers and imbeds itself in your clothes. Great for those long trips where you don’t have access to laundering facilities. The best part is it’s competitively priced at around $2 a load.
A) Another quick tip is make sure to add Odor Shield during the RINSE cycle of the washer. You want to add it after everything is already clean and scent-free from the detergent. To make it easy I just run an extra rinse cycle after the load is done. I find it’s easier than timing out trying to add it during the original cycle.
You need to be ready for anything when you are hunting a whitetail deer, since rarely are they going to follow the “script”. If you follow the 3 steps above you will be well on your way to tagging a deer that can make the cover of your favorite hunting magazine. Good Luck!