Whitetail Hunting photo

_by Dave Hurteau


For a little over a week in southern Iowa three years ago, I was as good as odorless to deer. Ask Bestul. He was there. Day after day, deer got straight downwind of my stand and not one busted me. So let me reveal to you my scent-control secrets for that hunt.

This was my exact regimen:

1.) Each morning, with one or two exceptions, I did not shower.

2.) Every day, I wore the same clothes without washing them.

3.) Before each sit, with a few exceptions, I hung a stand, which ensured maximum perspiration.

4.) And every couple of hours I rubbed myself down liberally with a tunafish sandwich.

I’m telling you, I did not get busted by downwind deer that week. I’m not talking two or three animals. I saw over 80 deer from my bow stand on that hunt, and no less than a dozen, perhaps more, got what seemed directly downwind of my stand. All of this (except the part about the tunafish sandwich) is absolutely true, and yet it does not remotely prove that sweat and grime are the latest miracle odor eliminators. It does not even suggest it, of course. And that is why I find scent-control testimonials utterly unconvincing.

Why didn’t I get busted? Who knows? I suspect it was because that even when a deer appears to be directly downwind, there’s no telling what subtle turns the wind takes between you and the animal; a simple updraft or swirl could make all the difference. I suppose all the updrafts and swirls went my way that week. It was uncanny.

Now, no one would say sweat and grime should get the credit, right? Yet suppose I had used Shampoo X, Clothing Y, and Spray Z that week, with the same results. How many hunters would then conclude: “Wow, I have to try that”?