The Importance of Quality Access Trails for Scent Management
One of the least appreciated and most ignored aspects of deer hunting plans is having a reliable and foolproof access trail to your hunting location. Maybe you placed your treestand or ground blind in one of the best pinch points you could find on your deer hunting property. You’ll likely ruin it and educate every deer in the area within a day or two if you don’t have a good entry and exit route. At that point, you may as well hunt from your couch because you’re probably not going to fill your tag either way. Why? Your scent in an area can trigger a ripple effect in deer activity without you even knowing. That’s why scent management is critical when you are mobile during a hunting scenario.
Let’s use a quick example to help illustrate the importance of access trails. Your hypothetical stand is on the south side of a major deer trail between bedding areas and a destination food plot. Typically the wind is from the northwest, so once you’re in your stand, you’re in a great position. But to access it, you take the easy route that goes directly upwind of the food plot, crossing the deer trail in the process. When you head to your stand in the morning, you hear deer blowing all across the field, but you figure they’ll still come your way when the sun comes up. Wrong. You’ve been busted my friend, not to mention the lingering scent molecules in your wake.
In order to avoid such a situation, you need to really analyze your access trails before even deciding on actually putting a stand or blind up. Find locations where you can easily approach and leave without alerting deer to your presence by leaving scent behind. For example, it’s generally difficult to approach feeding areas in the morning and leave them at night because deer will be on the field, regardless of scent control. If they smell you on your entrance or exit, it won’t take them long to start avoiding that field.
For the hours you do spend in your stand or blind, Ozonics has you covered. The HR-200 unit and new HR300 unit can be mounted above your head and angled downwind so that if any buck or doe tries to sneak behind you, your scent is either destroyed, altered and/or reduced to the point of being undetectable. The units can run for five continuous hours with a standard battery and up to ten continuous hours with an XL battery and each has a boost mode for open air conditions, to help combat those windy days.
But when you’re on the move, you’re still vulnerable to the wind, right? Not anymore! The new Ozonics Kinetic Backpack is designed for mobile usage. It allows you to play the wind so your scent won’t blow anywhere a deer might be. If your stand is located between a bedding area and feeding area, like the example mentioned above, you need to go out of your way to approach and leave it with the wind blowing away from those two areas. Sometimes this is impossible and the new Ozonics Kinetic backpack unit will enable you to have scent control in these situations.
Pay strict attention to the wind direction and speed as you move along your access trail. One good method of doing that is to have an Ozonics Windtracker available to watch the wind shift as you travel. Periodically pause, and check out the wind. Ideally the wind will be in your face as you enter your stand, and to your back as you leave. If at any point it shifts to a cross-wind and blows your scent towards the feeding or bedding area, pause and assess the situation. Is it just a passing swirl of the wind, or does it appear to be shifting? If you’re close to your stand or if it’s a very light breeze, you can probably make it to your tree stand.
Of course you can get away with this a little more if you use a strict scent control routine before deer hunting, like using the Ozonics Dri-Wash Bag and HR Unit to oxidize your deer hunting clothing prior to the hunt. The ozone produced will eliminate scent on your clothes within a half hour in most cases. It’s all about time and concentration when using Ozonics oxidation technology.
Don’t dress in your hunting clothing until you’re in the field. If you follow these steps, you can very likely make it to your stand even with a moderate cross-wind.