The director of marketing for Nexus Outdoors, Steve Allie, doesn’t talk about scent control in only a business sense. Allie climbs into a tree every fall in his home state of Michigan and the Midwest, chasing his next trophy buck, using scent control tactics as his number one weapon against a deer's powerful sense of smell. When recently sitting down with Allie to talk scent control against whitetails, it didn’t take long to conclude that he is a scent fanatic; it may have been when he mentioned spraying his eyeglasses and cell phone or when he talked about the nasty “ear cheese” that can build up behind or in the ear, which causes a rank odor that deer can pick up. Scent-control fanatic or not, Allie has experienced first-hand how having the proper scent regimen can improve a hunter's odds against whitetail deer.
Before The Hunt
It is essential to begin an odor regimen with you clothing, gear, and body before even thinking about stepping foot into the field to hunt. Whether it is the early or late season, Allie says that his regimen stays the same, except for changing out garments to let his scent technology do its job.
“It’s not critical but I like to have have multiple garments for hunting, to let technology such as ScentLok’s Carbon Alloy work to its maximum effectiveness,” Allie added that during the early season, for example, he rotates from the lightweight Savanna garments to the BE:1 Phantom to give more time for each set to let carbon absorb all the unwanted odors, which is essentially what both garments are designed to do.
Several weeks before his hunts are scheduled, Allie puts his garments through the critical step of using an odor-destroying detergent such as the ScentLok 4X Laundry Detergent. Allie explains that many hunters make one mistake when using high-performance scent-controlling garments, such as ScentLok, and that mistake is washing them too often. “I wash all my garments before the season, then store them properly in my Ozone Chamber or my BE:1 Ozone 8K Bag; I may not rewash them until the end of the season depending on how much I abused my gear then make sure they are stored in one of our chamber bags or a tote in the off season,” says Allie. He considers his laundry regiment as what he calls, “muddy and bloody,” which refers to only washing gear if it is dirty or has blood from a harvest, which then requires washing gear additionally when needed.
Once his gear is clean and properly stored until ready to hunt, Allies next step in scent control involves showering and cleaning his body with odor-destroying soaps and shampoos such as ScentLok’s 3X Shampoo and Conditioner and the 4X Liquid Body Soap. Allie says he showers ninety-nine percent of the time before hunting, and during the early season, when temperatures remain high and sweating is more common, he often showers before hunting in the morning and again before an evening hunt if needed.
To control odors against bigger mature bucks, Allie recommends paying attention to detail when cleaning and destroying human odors from your body. “I pay careful attention to certain areas of my body that produce more odor, such as your mouth, armpits, groin areas, and those unique areas such as behind the ears, where he explained what he calls “ear cheese” can harbor, which is the dirt and matter that can build up behind and in the inner ear and can produce a high odor that deer can smell. “Giving these areas an extra scrub and extra splash of soap may save the hunt when up against a more mature buck,” says Allie. He then expressed the importance of scent control when hunting mature bucks. “Bigger bucks will often surprise you and can come from the least expected areas, leaving your scent control regimen and ScentLok as a way to get the extra advantage you need to make the shot.”
Only washing clothes when “muddy and bloody” can help scent technology such as Carbon Alloy work to its maximum potential. However, Allie says he often uses ozone to reactivate carbon and destroy any remaining odors between laundry sessions. “I use ozone periodically between hunts to manage odors and to let carbon do its job; twenty or thirty minutes of ozone treatment can be done during lunch or mid-day between hunts, allowing all my gear to be hunt-ready at all times.” He also added that he uses the prescribed high heat clothes dryer treatment after 40 hours of infield use to regenerate the carbon to allow it to keep its maximum performance capabilities.
As another precaution before and after hunting, Allie also states that storing clothes outside or away from ambient odors while not hunting is critical. “When at deer camp, there is always a lot of cooking going on when we are not hunting. I often have the duty of being the camp cook, where I am always consciously aware of cooking and food odors and smoke or grease smells that can easily snag onto hunting garments if stored in the same room.” Instead, Allie says to keep garments and other gear stored in ozone chambers or bags away from strong ambient odors.
In The Field
Now that pre-hunt scent control efforts have been covered. Allie explains that keeping a scent regimen in the field is crucial. Allie advocates for dressing in the field to neutralizing any unwanted odors attaching to any of his gear or garments that he will be wearing while hunting.
Allie expressed that keeping all gear, including boots, protected in bags until ready to hunt is vital. Gear that could easily be worn while not hunting, such as a camouflage jacket or hunting boots, should never be worn unless you’re hunting, no exceptions!
After dressing in the field, Allie takes his scent control to the next level by combining his ScentLok gear with a field spray such as ScentLok’s 4X Field Spray. “After dressing, I spray my knees and down, my boots, and other hardgoods with a field spray to help neutralize any remaining odors before getting into my stand and hunting.” He also pays special attention to areas such as his watch band, inside his hat, his cell phone, and other small gear items that can hold unwanted odors. Besides field spray, other sprays can be beneficial to neutralizing odors yet work better with specific gear such as a bow or rifle. “I use the ScentLok Ozone NFuse Sprayer on my bow or rifle because it doesn’t leave any white residue that field sprays can leave behind,” says Allie. The NFuse uses ozone to infuse regular tap water that can then be sprayed on garments, gear, and other items to help destroy unwanted odors.
Allie uses odor-controlling methods such as ScentLok’s Caron Alloy, field sprays, and ozone treatments to help destroy odors. Although many hunters use cover scents, Allie prefers a neutral smell because he has had the most luck with that mindset.
One of the last steps in Allie's scent regimen is paying attention to wind direction. “Working at ScentLok, it would be easy for me to say, forget about the wind and use our products to help control all odors, yet wind direction is something that ScentLok President Aaron Ambur and I have discussed many times while at the office, and while hunting. A whitetail deer, especially mature bucks, rely on their number one defense, their incredible sense of smell, as their everyday survival tool, which hunters should respect.
“Wearing carbon alloy technology and using scent controlling product can boost your harvest percentage, even if it is another 10%; l will take any advantage against the whitetail's nose I can get,” says Allie. “When mature bucks appear from the wrong direction or get on the downwind side, having ScentLok on and having conducted a complete scent regimen beforehand can allow enough time to complete the harvest before a big buck can smell you. The only way to help fool a deer's nose is to perform all the steps at one hundred percent. I’m aware of the people that think wind is the end all be all, but why would one spend all this time, energy and preparation each year and skimp out on a few simple steps to manage your odor signature in the field.”
Doing your steps one hundred percent often refers to avoiding the many mistakes hunters make when trying to beat a deer's nose. As a concluding step, remember to keep a facemask over your mouth and face. This final step is one of the most significant failed steps in a hunter's scent control.