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Nothing Smells Like a Bear By Wade Nolan - Bowhunting Biologist
Dec 13, 2007 - 8:31:21 AM
Brent Jones and Tim Lawrence make a plan to close in on a moose along the Dog Salmon River. They will try to keep the swirling wind in their favor.
"What animal has the best nose in North America?" asked Alaskan Master Guide, Brent Jones. The responses were probably what you'd expect from a table full of hunters. "I think a mature whitetail doe takes the cake" said one guy and another said, "I have heard that a moose with that big nose has more scent receptors than any animal IN North America".
We know that the nose of a whitetail is legendary. It is accepted that a deer's nose is 10,000 times more sensitive to odors than humans. Unless God (or Darwin for some) made a mistake… the massive nose on a moose is there for some special reason. Things in nature just don't happen without a functional reason. And while we may tend to choose the animal that we have the most experience with, it may pay to ask around and talk to a few guys who have broader experience.
Alaskan Master Guide, Brent Jones has guided over 200 Brown Bear hunts including a number of the top ten P&Y bears. He knows that you have to do it all right to get close. XGO base layers are part of his strategy.
Brent Jones has been guiding Alaskan big game since the late 70's and he has a unique perspective on this question. Brent offered, "Much of Alaska is vast and it is not uncommon to be able to see for tens of miles rather than tens of yards. For an animal's nose to be effective it has to be able to detect predators over a long distance. A Dall sheep must detect the wolf in the valley a half mile away and take evasive action and while sheep and moose surely have great sniffers the Brown Bear may take the prize".
"Danger up here doesn't show up at 20 yards so an Alaskan nose must be effective at 200-400 yards", Brent added.
This Brown Bear is the ruler of his turf. That nose is his number one defense against man. He can smell you at 500 yards and will evade you every time if he picks up your scent.
Big, thousand pound boar bears cross entire drainages during the spring looking for receptive sows. These big bears can cut across the wind above drainage, where the wind is sweeping up the slope, and detect a sow bedded in the thick alders below. These same big bears are masters at avoiding humans. I have watched them scent spook from over 500 yards.
Brent added, "AAA Alaskan Outfitters have guided over 200 successful Brown Bear hunts including a lot of bow kills. We are often hunting out of remote spike camps dead center in the middle of Brown Bear habitat. On the Alaska Peninsula we expect and get wild and heavy winds almost daily. This poses a real challenge especially in the mountains where we hunt because the wind is always swirling.
This makes human scent management a real issue".
So how does a hunter manage human scent in conditions like these? Brent has a plan. His plan is to do it all right. Not just buy a $350 charcoal suit and forget the wind, but do everything that is scientifically sound and reasonable to reduce our human scent footprint. Brent has showers in the base camps but in remote camps he councils his guides to wear anti-microbial base layers like XGO with Silver X-static and Scent Prevent www.xgotech.com and to do their best to keep the wind in their face. While in base camp I noticed a bottle of Nullo on his table. Brent is a guy familiar with details of success and this internal body deodorant is also part of his program.
The table in base camp doesn't have any vitamins on it but it does have a bottle of the internal body deodorant NULLO there for all to use. They say, "take two and call the taxidermist in the morning".
Nullo is not a new idea. It has undergone FDA testing and has a 40 year history of reducing body odor. How does it do this? Nullo uses a Chlorophyllin Copper Complex that interrupts our bodies' ability to support human specific bacteria. This bacterium is where human odor or man-scent comes from. Nullo's effect on our breath maybe just as important.
My belief is that our breath makes up most of our scent footprint. Think about it. Our noses are all but dysfunctional yet we have no problem smelling someone's bad breath. Have you seen the plethora of hot scent dispensing devices available to disperse scent? How about a honey or bacon-burn at a black bear bait or the scent candles and incense sticks? Heated odors disperse more easily and our breath is a steamy 98.6 degrees. The animals we pursue have an easy time keeping track of us when we are stinky breath machines. My breath was the place where I first noted the dramatic positive effect that Nullo had in scent elimination. www.nullo.com
So after a roundtable go around on the "best nose in the business" most agreed that the Brown Bear may indeed take the prize. But in the event that you don't have any brown bears where you live you may want to practice Brent's strategy of doing everything you can to reduce your scent footprint in your whitetail woods. If you don't get this one right you loose.