Jason Wright | Co-Host Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV
It’s no secret that bowhunting is a sport of detail and oftentimes biased opinions about the best brand of bow or archery accessories as well as the best way to successfully hunt and harvest a trophy animal. In my opinion you have to do everything you can to put the odds in your favor to harvest a mature animal whether you are in pursuit of a monster spring black bear in Canada, early season pronghorn antelope in Wyoming or a trophy whitetail right here in North Dakota. In order to get within forty yards of most big game animals you either need to have inherited the “lucky horseshoe” or you must do everything nearly perfect. Human scent control is just one of those details that need to be managed very closely along with deer patterns and movement. No matter the big game animal, whether in North America or even Africa, you need to do everything you can to manage your scent and cautiously monitor the wind in order to be provided the opportunity to let an arrow fly. Combine this with the early season conditions such as the heat and pesky bugs and it makes it even more difficult to harvest that animal. The reality is there can be big rewards with early season bowhunting. Below are a few tips on how to manage these conditions during the early season as well as what to think about as the season progresses.
Three Strategies to deal with heat and control scent…
1. What type of Clothes to Wear?
2. How to Store your Clothes?
3. When to get Dressed?
I like to wear a light weight type of base layer that is a moisture-wicking and very breathable type of top and bottom such as the quality light weight apparel by First Lite which is a cohesive system of Merino Wool + 37.5TM Cocona fabric. My first layer will usually include the Red Desert Boxer Short, Allegheny Bottom (when necessary) and either the Llano SS or the Llano Crew which are all First Lite products.
The First Lite apparel is a game changing technology because of its wicking qualities, enormous temperature spectrum and natural resistance to odor. This type of base-layer will absorb and wick away perspiration keeping you much cooler than cotton during warm weather hunts.
In my opinion, the first mistake many bowhunters make, and hunters in general, is to wear any type cotton base layer or cotton clothing including socks and underwear. Clothing made from cotton doesn’t wick moisture away from the body, but rather, it absorbs perspiration/moisture like a sponge next to the skin and doesn’t dry quickly which can provide for an uncomfortable hunt. I don’t wear any base-layer that contains cotton and I recommend when shopping for hunting clothes to check the label to be sure it will provide the benefits necessary to keep you comfortable and stay away from cotton – look for apparel that is 100% ultrafine merino wool or polyester.
On top of my base layer I like to wear a long sleeve quarter zip shirt such as the Chama QZ by First Lite teamed with the Kanab Lightweight Pant both in a camouflage that is appropriate for the terrain or foliage found in the hunt area. First Lite has many apparel options from Light weight to heavy weight and an incredible outer layering system.
Prior to the start of the season I wash all my cloths with Lethal® Human Scent Eliminator Laundry Detergent which contains OdoBan and hang them outside to dry. Next I choose to store some of my clothes such as gloves, light warm-weather shirts and my base-layer items in large clear Ziploc bags and then along with the rest of my gear I place it in a Rubbermaid ActionPacker (approximate dimensions 17.0”H x 26.0W x 18.0”D) which can be stored most anywhere indoors/outdoors and easily travels to any destination. This storage system keeps my clothing away from outside odors and has been very successful for me.
Inside my ActionPacker I also keep my safety harness, boots, day pack and any other item(s) or accessories that I will take into the field. Because we are fortunate to live in a state with four seasons I find it easiest to have an ActionPacker for each of the seasons that I hunt. For example, I have one early/mid-season ActionPacker strictly for warm weather hunting whether I am heading to Wyoming in August for an early season antelope hunt or preparing for September whitetail hunt at the ranch. This particular tote will get me through the end of October pending any early season wintery blasts. I have another ActionPacker which contains my late season bowhunting clothing/gear. This is much easier than unpacking and repacking depending on the big game hunt, weather conditions or the time of year. This storage method also provides the added benefit of making sure the majority of my gear is away from unwanted odors year round.
The multiple ActionPackers have required me over the years to purchase extra items such as beanies, facemasks, lightweight gloves and other items which are more universal throughout the year so that I don’t have to steal from one storage container and then forget to replace it. This has taken time and I am still working at making it as organized and easy to head into the field no matter the time of year – just grab my ActionPacker and go.
In my opinion when possible, it is best to wait until the very last moment to put on the clothes which you are planning to hunt in and this isn’t always easy. Instead of getting dressed at the house or camp, where you may pick up some unwanted odors, get dressed in the field prior to hunting. This helps to keep you as scent free as possible. Once I get dressed I do spray everything down with Lethal® Human Scent Eliminator Field Spray to remove any potential odors that may get me “busted” in the stand, blind or while walking to my spot.
Another little tip in the early season when the temperature is unseasonably hot is to wait until you get to the stand or blind to put on your outer layer and/or safety harness. This will help minimize perspiration and body heat while walking to your destination. Finally, I always make sure I have Lethal® Field Body Wipes in my daypack and use them once I am in the blind or tree stand (after my safety harness has been secured). These moist wipes are a great way to wipe off the sweat from your head, underarms and body after you are settled in for the hunt. They will also help to cool you down, remove unwanted human odor/perspiration and they are biodegradable.
I am confident that no matter the type of clothing, sprays and electronic odor eliminating devices that it is still most important to put the wind in your favor!