Getting Hunting Clothes Human Scent Free
If you hunt, you know
how important controlling human scent on clothes is.
How many times when you were
in the woods can you remember that the first and last part of a deer you saw was
the white of their tail getting smaller then disappearing. Deer have thousands of times
as many scent sensing cells and nerve endings in their noses than humans. This
is why they have long nasal passages, eons ago the animals with the most scent
cells survived longer to reproduce. The short nosed animals died out unless they had some
other advanced ability to protect themselves such as hands and feet to climb
trees or use tools and weapons.
To control the human scent
situation there are three phases to consider - Getting odor free before the
hunt, staying odor free or masking odor during the hunt and using attracting
odors during the hunt. All three take a little forethought and a lot of
Getting Scent Free
Activated Carbon: First a word about the new
activated carbon clothing. They work great until you use them a couple of times under sweatty conditions, after that
they become the same as any other cloth. Activated carbon absorbs odorous
molecules on its surface, it does have a lot of surface area due to many little
cracks in the material but the amount of activated carbon in the cloth is very
limited and the surface area fills up very quickly. Once the absorbing surfaces
are full the odor molecules are pretty much there forever and the materials
ability to absorb more human scent is quickly eliminated.
Washing the activated carbon
does not rejuvenate it, in fact if there are other molecules in the wash water
that charcoal will absorb such as detergent, chlorine or from molecules released
from other clothes in the wash water. Any surface not saturated during the first
wearing gets filled during cleaning. Simply hanging them in a closet will fill
the pores with molecules of household chemicals, cooking and cigarette smoke and
etc. Sending it to the dry cleaners would even be worse as activated charcoal
loves the hydrocarbon fluid, may as well hang them in the garage to absorb paint
and gasoline vapors.
The only way to reactivate
carbon is to heat it to over 1400 degrees F. in a oxygen free atmosphere or
place it in a high vacuum chamber for several hours. I am not talking vacuum
cleaner vacuum but semi-conductor manufacturing vacuum. I.e., there is no
practical way to reactivate the absorbent after it has saturated. Save your
money for more fun stuff.
The new membrane based
human scent free clothes prevent good circulation and are therefore too hot for
some of us, may as well wrap up with kitchen wrap.
You can buy water proof clothing which has a
membrane like quality, once again it is hot and additionally very noisy. Leave
these to the duck hunters.
A hi-tech fiber fabric
containing an antibiotic in the fiber which lasts the lifetime of the garment
yet allows odor free moisture to wick out and evaporate might be the best
technology. It is manufactured by Backwater Gear Apparel and trade marked as VISAENDURANCETM in the
form of light weight undergarments.
On the positive side using
and washing VISAENDURANCETM does not negate their ability to reduce odor to their fullest
ability even though that ability is limited from the beginning depending on
If you live in a cooler climate they may be more effective but I would not
depend on scent free clothing exclusively.
In the author’s mind this
leaves attractant and cover scents as still the best approach and least
Because clothes cover 80 -
90% of the hunters body they do have to be carefully cleaned, so what do you do?
There are a couple of ways; they can be cleaned in baking soda one cup to the
load with a scoop of oxygen bleach. My favorite is Amway's low suds LOC and a non perfumed pet odor enzyme such as PetZyme or Natures Miracle. There are others available at your pet store.
If you can locate an Amway dealer LOC comes in a suds or low suds liquid, it is
an environmentally safe coconut derivative.
cleaning dry the clothes in a dryer by themselves, never use a softener. In fact if the
dryer has been contaminated with a clothes softener sheet or clothes with liquid
softener applied in the washer its drum should be washed with alcohol prior to
washing hunting clothes.
After cleaning and drying
put everything in a large heavy duty plastic bag. If you can't find large
polyethylene bags use a sheet of clean construction plastic, fold a couple of
times and seal with box packaging tape. This should include your shirts, pants, underwear,
socks, gloves, wool mask. If you are going on a several day trip make up
packages of complete sets for each day. If you do not have several camo suits or
other exterior wear clothes at least carry a change of under clothes and take a
spray bottle of pet enzyme solution along. At the end of the hunting day take
off the exterior set and spray with the pet enzyme solution and let dry
If you have cedars or pines in the area that you hunt
put a paper bag of cedar chips, pine needles and or pine or cedar bark. If you
only have hard woods do the same with tree leaves, bark, crushed acorns and/or
dirt from the area. If you have both kinds of trees, mix and match. Be sure and
use paper so the natural odor molecules can escape to the clothes.
Prepare an extra set of street
clothes, cleaned the same way as your hunting clothes. Keep in a separate bag
and also store them in your scent free closet. Wear them to your hunting site.
This will keep your actual hunting clothes chemical odor free until getting to
the hunting site.
If you would rather just get
your scent free products from a single source
Products from Wildlife
Research Center is a good one stop source.
Boots or Shoes
Wash tennis shoes and store
in the same way as the clothing above, even the same bag.
Many hunters wear rubber
boots only to block the human scent. If you wear rubber boots wash them in the same solution as above and
put them in a separate bag after drying. Plastic and rubber boots will keep
sweat odors in during the hunt.
If you hunt in leather boots
prep them for storage by spraying them with the pet enzyme solution
and let them dry before storage.
Once your clothes are clean you do not want to contaminate them by storing them in a human environment.
hunting clothes and equipment storage
closet or area to assure they stay foreign scent free.
Hunting equipment and your
vehicle which carries everything to the site is naturally full of human
scents and needs to be made scent-free and kept in scent free storage. Special
attention to lubricants and cleaners is needed to
protect your equipment
and make it scent free.