The Smell of Victory

The key to landing that trophy buck is staying undetected. Thanks to the companies that produce scent-control clothing and footwear, the ability to stay out of the noses of prey now lies in the hands of the predator.
Hunters throughout the years have used camouflage to stay undetected, as well as keeping quiet to avoid startling their prey. But big game animals use a keen sense of smell to further survey an area to determine if it’s safe. According to Mike Andrews of Scent-Lok, it’s imperative for a successful hunter to wear scent-control clothing.
“Big game animals, especially whitetail deer, rely on three senses to assess danger in the wild,” Andrews said. “The first is their eyesight, the second their hearing, and third, and most important, is their sense of smell. Good camo, as well as keeping still and quiet, can usually overcome the sight and hearing problems. But too much human odor can spook them to the point of turning tail and possibly avoiding the area all together. Using Scent-Lok reduces enough of the human odor so that deer remain calm and hunters stay undetected.”
Getting the Boot
In order to stay successfully scentless to prey, hunters need to be covered from head to toe in scent-control gear — and hunters’ toes can’t be covered unless they’re wearing hunting boots. Justin Behnke, Hunt Product Line Manager for LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. lets hunters know that rubber can be one of the best materials for controlling scent, and offers a suggestion on what type of boot to buy.
“Rubber is the best scent suppressant you can get in footwear,” Behnke said. “This is because it normally doesn’t pick up external odors easily, and can help prevent the transmission of human foot odor from the inside. So buying our Alphaburly® allows for the ultimate in scent-free protection, along with an extremely lightweight and comfortable boot.”
Rocky Brands is another company taking the next step in scent-control apparel. They’ve created a new type of scent-suppressant that will keep hunters’ smells at bay — not just on their feet. “We have developed a full head to toe scent elimination system with our rubber and neoprene MudSox boots and Scent IQ Atomic™ apparel,” Greg Huth, Apparel Designer for Rocky Brands.
Marty Lynch of Itasca Footwear is also a supporter of rubber hunting boots because of their ability to resist odors from soaking in or escaping.“I believe rubber boots are the best suppression factor in footwear,” Lynch explained. “Rubber doesn’t normally hold smell. This reduces the opportunity for the boots to pick up a scent and hold that to the hunting blind.” While the boots themselves are built to prevent transmission of scent coming from a hunter, some extra measures should be taken in order to keep odors controlled.
“The best way to make sure your boots stay scent free is to tuck your scent suppressing pants into your boot while hunting for an additional layer of scent suppression. Give your boots a quick spray down of an after market scent suppression spray before you head out on a hunt, and use a rubber conditioner afterwards to enhance the longevity of the boots,” Behnke said. Keep in mind, though, that if your pants are carbon-lined, you should wear them on the outside of your boots to prevent human odor from puffing out.
It’s About Non-Sense
With the technology in scent-control technology continuing to advance, hunters today have more choices than ever. While less expensive garments are tempting at first, they might be lacking the full benefits of scent-control features. The better option might be to purchase a premium garment of scent-control material because the hunter will stay protected and undetected for more than one season. For seasoned hunters, this might be the best value in the long run.
“Premium scent suppression apparel has long lasting odor reduction,” said Powell Andrews of Russell Outdoors. “It can reduce odor through several days of wearing without loss of efficiency and can tolerate repeated laundering without loss of efficiency. Scent-Stop by Russell Outdoors is a unique antimicrobial treatment because it is bonded to the fabric at a molecular level, making it much more durable than competitive technologies.”
While the antimicrobial garments can help prevent the formation of odors, they do not absorb, neutralize, or trap odors that already exist. To combat this, it would be a good idea to use an antimicrobial next-to-skin layer with an activated-carbon outer layer.
Ensuring Repeat Performance
With your new scent-control pants, jackets and boots, your wardrobe is now complete for the season. Afterwards, the next step is to take care of it for next time. While proper cleaning will ensure that none of the odor-controlling material loses its luster, today’s fabrics make it easier than ever.
Believe it or not, the days of requiring a special detergent or spray is no longer needed in today’s scent-masking clothing. Many products today are able to withstand many cycles of regular washing.
“Scent-Stop by Russell Outdoors apparel may be laundered as often as necessary per the care instructions in the garment’s label,” said Andrews. “It can be machine washed and dried. The finish technology has the durability to last through repeated laundering cycles.”
The same can be said for Scent-Lok or Scentblocker clothing items, though a premium carbon detergent is recommended in order to ensure that the detergent rinses completely from the garment.
“Our garments can be reactivated in a basic household dryer time after time with virtually no significant drop in performance,” Andrews said. “Through normal wash and dry cycles, we estimated that our products can remain effective for a minimum of five years.”
With a full line of scent-control gear for the 2011 hunting season, Dunham’s Sports is the only stop hunters will have to make to stock up on all of the latest attire. Offering apparel from brand names like Scent-Lok, Scent-Stop by Russell Outdoors, and ScentBlocker, as well as footwear from LaCrosse, Itasca, Rocky, and Frogg Toggs, Dunham’s will help keep hunters scent-free so they can enjoy the sweet smell of victory.
-Deer Abby
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