If you are an avid whitetail bowhunter, I bet you have spooked off more big bucks than you have tagged. I know a lot about a buck’s ability to smell you and unless you are a clean fanatic…like me, you have lost opportunities because they smell you. Just because you didn’t see him run or you didn’t hear him blow doesn’t mean he didn’t smell you and casually depart.
Two years ago, I was sitting in my Ohio farm “Donn” ladder stand, hidden 20-feet up in a Five-Way Red Cherry tree. It has five healthy trunks and offers the best cover at stand level of any stand I ever have hunted. However, the wind/scent management at this location is also second to none. It sits on the edge of a flat that drops off to a lake and swamp that is over a hundred feet lower than the stand. The west wind curls over a pasture in front and carries human scent well over any deer crossing the swamp. I have shot bucks that walked to me from directly down wind.
One day in November, I spotted a monster approaching from across the lake. He dropped down and crossed below the dam’s breast, directly down wind. He then moseyed along for 15 minutes and ended up 45 yards below me on a trail that leads right in front of my stand in the “Five-Way Cherry.” The wind was blowing steady at 15 mph, pretty stiff wind creating a tight scent vector. Then he hung-up, directly down wind. I knew the clock was ticking. I’d prepped as I always do with an intense scent suppression regime beginning in the shower that morning.
Then, with no apparent alarm he raised his nose, sniffed the wind and without raising his tail he did an about face and wandered back the way he’d come. Had I not been watching 360 or had I not glanced behind me for 20 minutes I would have never know he was there. Quality bucks are like that. Cautious to a fault.
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The important part of this story is that a real mature wall-hanger buck spent 20-minutes downwind of me and almost got shot. He didn’t get my scent for a long time. Had I not prepped “like I meant it” he would have gotten me before he got to the dams breast. They are great at detecting humans. However, I have a plan and I’m going to share it with you. Much of this plan relates to the fact that I’m a biologist who applies real science to my hunt.
Step 1. Clothes/Camo. Don’t wear clothing for more than a day. Deer smell human specific bacteria associated with epidermal skin cells. These accumulate in your clothes. Wash your camo in Sport Wash Laundry detergent by Atsko, which is an engineered detergent. It is engineered with a straight carbon chain and it pulls out old detergent residue and odors in the rinse cycle.
Step 2. Wash your hair. I bet nobody has shown you how to take a shower since your mom gave you tubbies. Here is the procedure; use Sport Wash Hair and Body soap. Again, it is an engineered soap (straight carbon chain) that pulls off body odor with the rinse. Start with your hair, which is a stink reservoir. You likely use some smelly shampoo on your hair when you are not hunting. Those fragrances are chemically engineered to be both persistent and to adhere to your hair. If the label says herbal, dandruff, fullness, conditioning, repairs or mentions ‘feel’ it is a concoction of chemicals, polymers and oils. These generate strange smells to the nose of a deer.
Here is the procedure. Get rid of the residue from old shampoos. Pour about 1 tea spoon of Sport Wash Hair and Body into your hand. Spread it over both hands before bringing it to the hair. Work it into the hair. If you can lower the head while doing this, it makes the massage even more beneficial to the scalp.
If the suds are gone within 10 seconds, pour another teaspoon of shampoo, spread between hands and apply to hair. Repeat until you get lasting suds. Soap residue, oils, and other chemicals kill suds. These will all be washed away.
Rinse until all the foam is gone. When the soap is just gone, the hair is at its cleanest. Once the suds disappear watch for the first gabbiness. This is what we call “squeaky” clean. The moments between “suds gone” and “squeaky” is as clean as your hair can be with surfactant cleaning. At this point, you would get surprising suds from just one-half tea spoon of shampoo.
Step 3. Wash your Body. I use the same soap as on my hair. I use a bug sponge from Auto Zone as the scrubby. Get wet and soap the sponge. Now scrub “like you mean it.” The goal is to remove the exfoliating skin cells that are clinging to the outer epidermis. Did you know that you shed your entire epidermis every 30 days? These cells are laced with human specific bacteria. The abrasive bug scrubby removes these loose smelly skin cells. Scrub hard. I often turn a rosy pink because of the abrasion. Now rinse.
Step 4. Spray down with an Oxidizer. I use N-O-DOR Oxidizer spray, also by Atsko. To do this I turn off the shower and then spray down with the oxidizer and now the hard part, I stand there for 2 full minutes while it soaks in and confronts the skin surface bacteria. Next, towel off and put on clean camo and go hunting.
That’s the procedure I use, now go get ’em.
For more from Wade go to: Wade Nolan