What Is the Best Scent Cover When Deer Hunting?

In Hunting by Consumer Files0 CommentsLast Updated: March 18th, 2018

Among deer hunters, there is a lot of debate and discussion regarding the use of products to eliminate and cover human odor. Opinions run strong and some hunters will swear by certain methods and products while others will state just the opposite, with their own experiences to back them up.

There are a lot of odor eliminating products available, and just as many cover sprays and products available, too. So we decided to throw our hat in the ring, presenting you with some general information on the products and methods out there, while adding in our own opinions on what we’ve had success with over the years.

We’ll be focusing purely on products and methods to eliminate and/or cover up human odor, so as not to repel deer; we will not be discussing lures or scents that are used to attract deer. We’ll also be focusing on products and methods for deer hunting alone.

Cover Scent vs No Odor

It’s important to remember that a deer’s nose and sense of smell works differently than a human’s. Not only is a deer’s nose more sensitive, but it is also able to distinguish and process a variety of smells all at the same time.

That means if you rely solely on covering your human odor by adding other smells, the deer will definitely smell that cover scent and may even be distracted by or curious about it. However, that deer absolutely will still smell your human odor in addition to your cover scent.

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Your best bet will always be to work the wind to your advantage​ by keeping the deer upwind of you so it never gets a whiff of you in the first place. Nonetheless, a carefully planned scent control plan can help you gain the advantage in those moments when that trophy buck comes out of nowhere, taking you by surprise downwind.

An effective scent control plan should employ a multi-layer approach, focusing strongly on eliminating and preventing human odor and other odd smells and then covering that lack of smell with one that is natural to the environment where you will be hunting.

Developing A Scent Control Plan for hunting Deer

Eliminating Smells

When it comes to eliminating smells, there are some pretty standard and reliable methods to employ, with new advances coming around every few years.

The foundation of your scent control plan should involve removing odors from your body. There are a number of products that you can use to do so, such as odor eliminating body washes, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes. These products help to remove human odor as well as eliminating odor causing bacteria.

Body Wash & Shampoo

We like the odor eliminating earth scent body wash and shampoo combo by Knight & Hale. It comes in a 16-ounce bottle and contains Odor-Stop to remove odors from your hair and skin. It also has a scent-free moisturizer so it won’t dry out your skin. It is a little more pricey than other brands, however, it also is highly effective and won’t leave you doubting yourself and worrying about a deer catching your scent.

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Clothing

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There is also an ever growing-line of clothing with built-in materials that eliminate odors and preventing them from reaching the air. This clothing is often treated with anti-microbial metal and materials such as carbon, synthetic Trinity, and Zeolite that absorb scent molecules. You can find thermal underwear, face masks, hats, and socks with this scent controlling technology.

One of our favorites are these scent blocking gloves from ScentLok. They’re made of lightweight polyester with a spandex panel for ultimate flexibility and dexterity. They feature a carbon alloy that combines the odor absorbing powers of treated carbon, activated carbon, and zeolite. These gloves also feature special material at the tips of the forefingers and thumbs so you can still use your devices without removing the gloves. They come in Realtree Xtra camo and are available in medium and large.

Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets

Regardless of whether or not you buy into the idea of odor blocking clothing, there are some very effective laundry detergents that eliminate odor and odd smells from clothing.

The Control Freak Scent Eliminating Laundry Detergent by Primos Hunting is a great example. It works to instantly eliminate odors caused by bacteria (such as body odor) as well as non-bacteria caused odors (such as cigarette smoke, gasoline, and other laundry detergents.) It provides up to 24 hours of odor control.

There are even dryer sheets available, however, in our opinion, that’s going to be overkill. We’ve found that hanging your hunting clothes outside to dry and then storing in a plastic tub or plastic clothing bag to be the best bet. You can throw in a handful of dirt and leaves from the area where you hunt to give your clothing a very natural smell that will perfectly match the environment.

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Scent Wafers

Another alternative is to store your freshly washed hunting clothes with scent wafers. They come in a variety of scents, but your best choices will be earth scents like these fresh earth scented wafers by Hunter’s Specialties.

Scent wafers, in general, can be pretty strong sometimes so if your hunting clothes have been stored with wafers since last season, you may want to hang them outside to air out for a few days before heading out to the woods. Some people truly swear by these wafers and will store their clothes in a tub with a handful of these wafers, then pin one to their hat, and place a few about their tree stand, too.

Our personal opinion is that that approach is overkill: the scent will be so strong that it will stand out as “not right” to the deer. After all, the goal is to blend in with your surroundings, not to stick out because you smell more like the woods than the woods does.

However, many hunters swear by this approach; if it works for them more power to them. In the end, it’s all about what is the most effective for your and helps you to have a successful hunt.

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An Image of Dead Down Wind Field Spay for What Is the Best Scent Cover

Sprays

There’s one more product that you’ll want to consider adding to your regimen for eliminating odors. These are scent eliminating sprays.

They’re great for spraying all over yourself and your clothing as you put on each layer of your hunting clothes. But, they’re also great to have on when you're in your tree stand, so you can spray yourself again if it gets too hot and you start to sweat. These sprays absorb and neutralize odors, helping to further prevent odors from forming.

One of the most highly recommended scent eliminating sprays is by Dead Down Wind. It’s formulated to control a broad range of odors including body odor, food, and even gasoline to provide the most effective scent control possible.

Introducing New Smells

Many hunters like to introduce new smells to their clothing and boots once they’ve eliminated human and contaminate odors.

Scent Wafers & Sprays 

We’ve already looked at scent wafers, which is a very popular way to further reduce your scent presence and help you to blend into the environment. Another option is the use of cover sprays. Like the scent wafers, these are available in a number of scents and you can likely find a spray and wafers in the same scent.

There is some debate on the efficacy of these sprays. For one, these scents are synthetic and so it’s quite possible that they smell little like their intended scent to a deer’s nose. And adding scent on top of scent may do little more than momentarily confuse a deer and delay them catching your human odor. Of course, that delay may be all the time you need to take down that trophy buck.

But there are some natural methods that you can use, too.

NaturAl Materials

Earlier we discussed the use of natural materials to scent your freshly washed clothing. This creates the most authentic cover scent as you are using items that smell exactly the same as the environment you’ll be hunting in. You can also grab a handful of dirt and leaves and rub yourself down with it once you arrive at your hunting location. This can be a very effective method and can be used with odor eliminating soaps and detergents alone.

Animal Urine

Many hunters also swear by using various animal urine as a cover scent. Raccoon urine, such as this 2-ounce bottle by Code Blue, is a very popular choice as not only are raccoons common throughout most whitetail habitats, but they also have a tendency to pee a lot so this scent won’t stand out as “wrong” or out of place. You can apply animal urine to your boots and along the base of your tree stand.

Basic Scent Control Plan

Taking all of these products into consideration and the importance of eliminating odors, we’ve put together a basic scent control plan for use when hunting whitetail. Again, we’re not discussing using scents and lures to attract deer, just scent eliminators and covers to not repel deer. This scent control plan is easily adaptable and you can modify base upon what products you favor or have on hand.

Regardless of what your scent control plan is, take care not to pick up contaminant smells once you’ve gone to the trouble of eliminating odors from yourself and your hunting clothes. That means not wearing your hunting clothes when gassing up your vehicle.

Gas stations are a notorious source of contaminant smells for hunters. The pump nozzles are covered with gasoline and other odors and you can very well step into a puddle of gas or oil with your hunting boots -leaving a very blatant scent trail behind you in the woods. This is why it’s wise not to wear your boots until you make it out to your hunting location and to wear gloves while pumping gas.

  • Wash your hunting clothes in advance, store them with dirt and leaves from the area where you’ll be hunting or use earth scented wafers.
  • Spray down your boots with odor eliminating spray and store similar as your hunting clothes.
  • Prepare a set of regular clothes, underwear, and bottom layer of clothing the same as your hunting clothes and store the same way.
  • Shower using scent eliminating body wash and shampoo. Consider double washing certain areas, such as your hair, armpits, and groin.
  • Dress in the set of regular clothing that you washed and prepared the same as you’re hunting clothes.
  • Keep your hunting clothes in a sealed container with scent wafers or dirt and leaves until you get to the woods.
  • Do not put on your boots until you’re ready to step out into the woods.
  • As you get dressed, spray each layer of clothing with odor eliminating spray.
  • Apply a cover spray to your boots.
  • Apply a cover spray around the base of your tree stand, raccoon urine again.

Final Thoughts on What Is the Best Scent Cover

A good scent control plan can help to give you an edge when it comes to outsmarting whitetail deer. While it’s difficult–if not impossible, to completely eliminate all odors, following the advice discussed in this article and pairing it with smart hunting tactics like always using the wind can better your chances and make the difference between that trophy buck getting spooked and running off and that buck walking right up to you, completely unaware.

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What Is the Best Scent Cover When Deer Hunting? was last modified: March 18th, 2018 by Consumer Files
We’ll take a look at scent eliminating techniques and products while discussing what approaches are the most effective when it comes to hunting whitetail deer.

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