Aiming for Scent-free Hunting
Long before you step out into the woods, there's a lot you can do to prepare for a scent-free hunt. The chief sources of human odor are your body and your clothes. Luckily for hunters, there are plenty of products specially designed to neutralize human odor on their clothes and boots.
It all starts with the laundry. Several companies sell laundry detergents that are designed for scent-free hunting. Not only do they remove odors from dirty clothing, but the detergent itself is perfume and scent-free. Wash all of your hunting clothes -- from your socks to your camo -- in such a detergent, and throw an odorless or scent-killing dryer sheet in the dryer. As an alternative, you can hang your laundry out to dry.
If you use the dryer, when your clothes are dry, you should put them directly into a sealable plastic bag. Don't open the bag until you have arrived at your hunting site. If you put on your hunting gear first thing in the morning, then you'll show up at the woods trailing the smells of breakfast, the gas station and the car ride.
The next stop is to deodorize your body. On the morning of the hunt, you should wash with odor-free soaps and shampoos. Once again, several companies sell perfume-free, scent-killing body washes that leave you clean and give off a neutral odor. Instead of using a strong-smelling deodorant to mask the smell of your sweat, opt for a scent-free antiperspirant.
After breakfast, brush your teeth with baking soda. Although it's not as minty fresh as your regular toothpaste, baking soda is a proven odor-killer.
If you're really serious about masking your scent while hunting, you might consider buying special hunting clothing that locks in human scent. Scent-Lok is one company that makes scent-proof hunting apparel. The clothing is lined with a layer of fabric composed of tightly fused particles of charcoal. According to the company, when human odor molecules like isovaleric acid (sweaty smell) and dimethyl sulfide (breath odor) try to pass through the activated carbon lining, they bond with the particles of charcoal. Everything else -- air, moisture and heat -- is allowed to pass through the lining, keeping the clothing breathable. After about 40 hours of use, the activated carbon lining becomes saturated with odor molecules and needs to be reactivated by a quick spin in a hot dryer [source: Scent-Lok].
Now that you've neutralized all of the odors on your body and clothing, it's time for some tips on how to mask your telltale smell during the actual hunt.