How To Cover Your Scent While Hunting
When you decide to go on a hunting expedition and call your friend to set about preparing your hunting backpacks, there are already things going on that will have an impact on your hunting success. For instance, how you and your gear smell. Good hunters know that every human has a distinctive smell, be it cologne and soap, good ol’ B.O or something else. Whatever it is, it can spook a deer. There are about 5 million olfactory receptors in the human nose, but 297 million in the nose of a white tailed deer. This fact alone is why it makes sense to learn how to cover your scent effectively no matter which animal you are hunting. Here is a bit more about it.
1. Prepare Yourself For The Hunt In Advance
Take some time beforehand to minimize your natural body scent and remove those that are artificial. Take a bath using scent-free soap and shampoo. You can easily find products especially designed for hunters that eliminate scent by getting rid of odor-causing bacteria. Even when using these products, it is a good idea to rinse off for at least 10 minutes to be sure.
After completing your bathing, you still need to take precautions when using a towel to dry yourself. Using one that has been laundered using the same scent-free products as your hunting gear will help immensely. Once done, a scent-free antiperspirant or deodorant will mean no sweat to produce odor as you hunt. Some professional hunters go a step further and use baking soda as a talc to block sweat production and absorb odors.
Another precaution is to use a scent-free mouthwash and toothpaste. Baking soda and peroxide, for example. You may also want to chew chlorophyll pills to disguise the scent of your breath so it better matches the hunting environment. On the whole though, taking steps to minimize your scent is better than taking measures to ‘cover’ it while hunting.
2. Pick Your Boots Carefully
Wearing your work boots on your hunting trip will be counterproductive and any effort to eliminate your scent will go down the drain. Wearing those boots which are capable of holding your scent for months, will mean tracking unwanted scent. Likewise, you should be careful about wearing your hunting boots before you reach the hunt site to keep from picking up unnatural scents at restaurants or gas stations.
3. Stay Upwind
An important mantra for hunting has always been to stay upwind of your prey. You should be checking the wind not just before your hunt but constantly during it. This ensures that whatever scent you are carrying can not blow towards prey the prey and alert them. To check the wind take a tiny piece of thread and tie it to your crossbow or gun. It is important to change your location if you notice the wind direction changing frequently.
4. Know Your Tread
When hunting deer, it is important to ensure that you don’t walk on deer trails. If you happen to come across one, be sure to take a wide step over it. When hunting near a pasture, covering your boots with cow dung works particularly well to cover your scent. An even better option is to step into deer droppings.
5. Opt For Receptor Overload
As mentioned already, along with taking steps to avoid wearing unnatural smells, it is recommended that hunters use products designed specifically for hunters. Receptor Overload is one such product. These sprays confuse animals by overloading their sense of smell. It involves producing a combination of scents including your own, that animals would ultimately ignore.
Surviving In The Field
It is certainly important to take steps to mask your scent while hunting, but along with taking steps, you need to stay ready and alert for the worst case scenario. There are animals that will pick up your scent and hunt you. Therefore, being confident in your knowledge of how to deal with unexpected situations will help you stay safe and perform more efficiently. Again, it comes down to the gear you pack when you first decide to go hunting. Here are some survival tips to help.
- Carry Slingshots for Survival: Slingshots are lightweight and versatile. You can use them as a hunting weapon to kill small game, such as rabbits, squirrels and birds. With slingshots, hunters can move easily and quietly and present a small profile. Just as with covering your scent, keeping silent and unseen is important for reaching your target and slingshots help.
- Keep Your Hunting Headlamps Handy: Even when you’ve taken steps to cover your scent, some wild animals may still be able to track you from the food you eat. To manage things better at night, invest in a good quality hunting headlamp. Opt for the one that is capable of offering a spotlight style beam as well as a flood beam.
- Don’t Forget Your Hunting Knives: When things go wrong, your hunting knife could become your best friend. Of course, it is essential for preparing game but along with boning and skinning, you can use your knife for self-defense as well. You will be better off going for a fixed blade hunting knife because of its dependability and strength. Opt for a carbon steel blade for extra durability and security, although you can handle things well with a stainless steel blade.
- Pick the Best Hunting Crossbows: To hunt well and stay safe out in the open, a slingshot is not going to be enough. Using a crossbow is a better option than a regular bow because you don’t need to waste a lot of energy after it is cocked. You can concentrate on aiming and get better results.
- Buy Yourself a Good Hunting GPS: Along with all the equipment for hunting and survival, you need to consider investing in a good quality hunting GPS. Most have up to 12 satellites calculating your location. Some may even help you determine the best time to enjoy hunting. And above all, they help you find your way in and out of your hunting sites and let others reach you should you fail to cover your scent and discover you are the prey, not the hunter.
There are some who would describe hunting as an art but having the best techniques, skills or even the latest equipment any hunter will tell you, is not a guarantee of success against animals that have vastly superior senses and are so in tune with their natural habitat. The best any hunter can hope for is a better chance of success by being becoming invisible in an environment he would, under normal circumstances, stand out like a sore thumb in. Even if you hide well or move silently, with millions and millions of olfactory receptors constantly on alert you won’t even get close enough to see your prey nevermind take a shot. If all it takes after all your efforts to prepare well is a good bath and using a few unscented products to increase your chance of a kill, it makes good sense to go for it.