So, it’s mid-summer and almost that time of year. Game cameras are up searching for summer velvet. Food plots are being, well, plotted. Stand locations are being primed. Oh, and it’s time to start doing laundry. Of course, it’s not the type your wife wishes you would do. It’s the delicates. No, not hers, yours… and I’m not talking about your one pair of silk boxers either; I’m talking the real delicates, your camo.
If you are like me, you take extreme care with your camo. The type of care others would prescribe to measuring out the active ingredients in a compound that if out of whack would cause a nuclear reaction. In fact, I have been known to do camo laundry with such finesse that I could be trusted with a wedding gown for the next queen of England.
This is of course to my wife’s great lament as I am fairly absent from laundry the rest of the year. Trust me, I acknowledge my absence and how grateful I am. (Love you babe, smoochy, smoochy). I take such pride and care with my camo that you’d think she’d trust me with her clothes, but no. Hell, I can’t even be trusted to sort them correctly!
But I digress, truth be known if you want to be successful in the whitetail world, you have to practice some sort of scent control. Of course you could buy 80 products from scent free this to chocolate scented face smacker that to unscented toothpaste and boxes that claim to add 5 extra oxygens to their patented $299 container that looks an awful lot like a $20 Rubbermaid container at Home Depot… or, you could do essentially nothing and just play the wind with great success. I like to think I’m somewhere in between. I take great care of my clothes, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up my fresh mint toothpaste! Here’s what I do and recommend:
1. Scent free detergent for camo.
I don’t think I have to go into much detail as to the why on this one. I use any of the major hunting product lines out there. I don’t always wash my clothes after every day of hunting unless I perspire then it’s after each hunt. That is with the exception of underwear and socks, I prefer to wash those after every day of hunting, if possible. Outer layers, such as heavy coats I won’t wash every time. Again, unless I sweat in them.
2. Hang drying/airing out.
Air them out before you put them away. Whether you washed them or not. I wouldn’t do this in your garage next to the gas can, but most outdoor environments like on a back/front porch are just fine.
Keep your garments and gear in a container that will prevent some level of scent contamination. Also, a good note is to never put your clothes away wet. Doing so could cause mildew and you will never get rid of that smell. Long story short, I had a tote that cracked, and my garage flooded and mildewed everything inside. You’ll never get rid of that smell.
4. Rubber boots.
Hands down one of the best moves I ever made. Not great for walking long distances but fine for most hikes to the stand. They just don’t absorb and spread odor like others do.
5. Earth scent wafers.
I personally love these. I throw one in with each tote. It’s not overwhelming but provides just enough cover to help with any potential scent contamination.
I don’t go overboard here. I am skeptical of these sprays, but I usually do a once over before stepping into the woods and sometimes just before storage.
7. Scent free laundry detergent for the fam.
In this case I am not talking about your camo. This is for the rest of your clothes. That said, I don’t use the hunting products for this. I use a name brand like Tide or Seventh Generation unscented and do so to great success. Get the whole family on this ship if you can, then your bed sheets, towels and kids are all relatively scent free too. You will be blown away by how flowery other people smell when you go to this setup and your success will go up too. The bigger perk is not having to worry about changing back into your street clothes before or after a hunt.
8. Scent free soap.
Again, I don’t overdo it with the hunting versions of this. I use Dove Unscented every day. It’s better for your skin (I intend to do an article on this later). I do use the hunting versions but not consistently and only on the days of some of my hunts.
9. Scent free shampoo.
I haven’t completely made this switch yet. The key word is yet. I haven’t found a product I love for everyday use, but I will. In the prime hunting months, I do use a scent free version I found at Whole Foods and then the hunting versions occasionally. Unfortunately, I still have to use hair product when working so you can’t win them all.
10. Scent free deodorant.
I use Speed Stick Unscented every day. Especially during hunting season. I never switch.
I have found a couple of great scent free powders on Amazon that help keep you dry. I use this on and off throughout the year and highly recommend it for cases of swamp ass during those early spring hunts.
12. Don’t wear it till you are in the field.
Wear your street clothes in your house, truck, etc. If you follow my tips above, you will be scent free already and comfortable. When you get to the field change into your camo and you are literally getting a fresh start. Another part of this is dress as light as you can walking to the stand. You won’t freeze to death and more importantly you won’t sweat. Once you ascend to your stand you can add layers as needed.
For you traveling hunters, I stumbled onto this by chance. Coveralls are a great add for when it’s cold out. You come back to the truck, strip out of your hunting clothing and quickly slip on your coveralls in one quick swoop and you are good till you get to bed or you need to change. I used these on a trip where I camped and they were sooo amazing, I’ll never go out without them again.
No matter what all you do you still need to play the wind. We will always be at a disadvantage to their noses and while being scent free increases our odds, nothing works better than playing the wind.
While this is my regimen don’t be afraid to stray and do what works for you. Don’t let scent control keep you out of the woods and take the fun away. If it’s going to prevent you from hunting, then it’s not worth it. If your goal is to focus on an only mature whitetails, then you may even want to take this to the next level. That’s for you to decide. The important thing is to do what works for you, keeping your goals in mind and doing what it takes to accomplish them.
– The 8 Point