The scent elimination body and hair soaps are a must. They do not contain any fragrances and they kill bacteria on the skin and scalp that cause odors. The bacteria will come back, but bathing with them daily is a good start.
Calling elk in close requires controlling the bull with a call to put him in front of the shooter for a broadside shot. There are several steps to the process of setting up a scenario for shooting elk
Continue your scent elimination process with a scent free laundry detergent made for hunters. These products will not add fragrances and will have something in it to kill bacteria. They will also not add “whiteners and brighteners” that will make your camouflage clothing stand out like a neon sign to elk and deer.
Now, that said, I have noticed that towels washed in some of these laundry detergents sometimes still have a slight musty odor on them. That smell can come from your dryer. Possibly because it didn’t get dried soon enough after washing, or by picking up a smell from the dryer itself. If I can smell that, the elk can certainly smell it after I’ve dried off with it.
Line drying your hunting clothes will improve your scent elimination results. (I hate to use that word, since scent elimination is not possible, but that is the commonly used terminology.) I’ve noticed that towels and clothing, if line dried, do not have residual smells (as perceived with the human nose). Be careful not to hang them in areas that might transmit BBQ grill odors or other yard and camp smells.
Scent-A-Way type dryer sheets can also help with that problem.
After the spray is mostly dry, store the treated clothing and towels in an airtight plastic bag or clean plastic tub (that has been sprayed inside). Handle them only with clean hands when taking them out. I wash my hands with scent free soap before touching them. After you have gone to all that trouble, if you really want to do it right, consider not donning those clothes until you get to your hunting site. Wear light clothing for the hike in, then change to your treated camo and spray them again. Don't forget to spray your boots. The volume of spray needed to do a thorough job daily adds up. Buy big volumes and save money.
That takes care of your clothing and towels. What about your hat? Get a new one every year, or for a favorite, wash it by hand often with scent free soap. Spray it down daily before going hunting, inside and out. Don’t wear it around camp soaking up the smells of the fire, etc. Perhaps you can change to a camp hat instead. One that does not go hunting with you.
What about your backpack? How often does that get washed? How often is that thrown around in the pickup or the tent soaking up all kinds of odors? Wash it at least annually and spray it down often, too. Remember your belt and other things that don’t get washed.
I spray the inside of my boots at the end of the day with scent elimination spray and allow that to dry before I wear them again. I put a layer of spray on the outside of my boots after putting them on.
Think about the equipment that you take hunting with you. Spray or wipe it down with scent elimination spray, if you want to cut back on more unwelcome scents.
I’ll be frank with you. I don’t agonize over spraying every little thing that goes along with me. If it takes the fun out of hunting, it ain’t worth it. I do reasonable things religiously and take some chances with some of the details.
X Scent Silver XP Scent Eliminator Spray is a relatively new product and will prove to be quite effective as it attacks odors from two directions. The manufacturers are very secretive about what their products are made of. I think the usual odor modifying solution in other sprays is also in Silver XP, but this product also has colloidal silver added to it that kills bacteria on contact. It costs more than Scent-Away or Scent Killer, but is probably more effective. I have not forked over the cash for it yet, but it looks like a great product.
Scent covers are suspect in my thinking. Common sense tells me adding an odor to another odor, does nothing to eliminate or reduce the other odor. It might work on the human nose, but elk can smell and identify each one (actually many) all at once.
Scent attractants are another story. They do attract what they are made to attract (if the elk or deer is in the mood and the timing is right), but do not expect these to actually cover your scent either. If a bull smells a cow in heat and a human at the same time, he’s out of there!
On the other hand, if I find myself upwind of a bull and can’t move, I’m pulling the cow-in-heat spray out of my pocket and letting it fly his way! It can’t hurt, but I’ll work the wind first, if I have an opportunity. If the wind is right, my scent attractant spray won’t reach him, but neither will my human scent.
Remember odors that come from your mouth. Toothpaste has strong aromatic ingredients in it. I tried some “camouflage gum” and was surprised to find that it had a very strong chlorophyll smell. OK, so chlorophyll is all over the place in nature, but nature doesn’t seem to have an overwhelmingly strong chlorophyll smell like the gum!
On the other hand, the smell will wane in a few minutes as it gets washed down with saliva. Maybe it would be better than having your breath smelling like toothpaste, sausage or coffee.
Plain old baking soda makes a great scent eliminating tooth paste. Just put some on a wet tooth brush.
Scent elimination (control) is the ultimate goal and there are many excellent products available to help you work toward that end while hunting an animal with a very sharp snout.
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