Scent Control Tips for Deer Hunting | Off-Season Scent Management
The winter months of January, February, and even March can be extremely difficult and an emotional time for a deer hunter. Deer hunting withdrawals are a very real and unpleasant set of symptoms for a whitetail hunter. The treatment for these withdrawals is periodic, evenly dosed, days of returning to the woods. In March the treatment is shed hunting. April and May consist of food plots, turkey hunting, and morel hunting. The summer months entail supplemental feeding, setting up mineral stations, and running trail cameras. For some outside this passion and sport it may seem like we are talking about steps to a rehab program…and well yes, that’s exactly what it is. Deer hunting is an addiction, and satisfying that addiction during the off-season can be pleasant (therapeutic) for you, but in some instances bad for your hunting. While the activity needs to be done and benefits your hunting, not practicing scent control during the off-season could be detrimental to your deer hunting success.
The biggest mistake made by hunters in the off-season, other than not getting the to-do’s like food plots and mineral stations done, is not having an effective scent management program in place during the off season.
Are you one of the traditionalist, still not believing in the science and importance of scent management methods and products? If so, read some research then come back to learn how to hold and kill mature bucks. If you know the facts and already practice scent control for deer hunting, it’s now time to learn these scent management tips and techniques, specifically for the off-season.
The first round of your treatment will be to finally return to the woods in search for shed antlers. Shed hunting is extremely unique and useful in different ways. It not only works as a solution to satisfy the deer hunting itch and lull in winter, but creates the opportunity for post season scouting. The late winter/early spring months of February and March are the farthest you will be from deer season, but the closest you will be to last season…Understand? While you can go out and walk miles across your property, you are able to do so without the worry of messing up next year’s deer hunting, but also see the deer sign from the past season. Rubs, scrapes, runs, and beds are all fresh and easily seen against the dull winter background. These observations, properly noted can become an extremely important part of the rest of the year’s management plans and more specifically part of next season’s success.
While the observations made during shed hunting can be useful bits of information, it’s true that deer sign that is fresh during the hunting season is more useful. But the best part about shed hunting is that you are able to scout without the worry of messing up next year’s deer hunting. Well although it may be true in some senses, in others you could not be more wrong.
You have to treat your deer hunting property very delicately at all times of the year, especially during the winter months. Treat mature bucks and the habitat on your property like a time bomb waiting to explode. You never know how much dancing around and wire cutting you can achieve before blowing all your hard work away. Human pressure causes big time stress to your deer herd, and yes that includes human scent molecules, and even more so for mature bucks. During March, a buck is coming off a diet and experiences weight loss from the rut and winter, they are socially stressed with the tight congregation of animals in quality bedding areas and winter food sources, and have been harassed by hunters for weeks. They are looking for a thick place to bed down, with no human pressure whatsoever.
While shed hunting is a must for any successful deer hunter, practicing scent control by wearing rubber boots and eliminating human odors on your clothes and accessories is absolutely necessary to minimize your impact while you comb through your property. But, with the advent of the new Kinetic Backpack from Ozonics, you can now be mobile and scent-free during the off-season shed hunting journeys on your property.
Turkey Hunting? Absolutely!
Now before you ruffle your feathers too much, we are not saying scent control is essential for hunting turkeys. While turkeys have unparalleled eyesight and hearing, sense of smell is not their strong suit. What we are again reiterating, is if you are tromping around in the woods and through your fields and food plots, you might as well do it scent free.
Turkey season is a lot closer to October than shed season. The neon green growth has deer up and moving again, feeding heavily on fresh budding life of your food plots and the woods. By paying attention to scent control and your scent management while turkey hunting, you again minimize your impact on the deer herd. If you’re the diehard turkey hunter chances are you will be in the clover plot or that oak flat every morning chasing that tom, don’t sacrifice that mature buck being able to come out that evening and feed in the plot or on the forest growth because of your scent! With warmer temperatures likely getting you to work up a sweat, adding a HR200 or new HR300 unit above your setup can’t do anything but help your future deer hunting by reducing your odor footprint and in some instances eliminating it all together.
Supplemental Feeding and Minerals
One thing comes to mind when June hits…antlers! Velvet growth is like a drug to whitetail hunters in the summer, and we will do anything to get them bigger before the season. For many hunters in states where legal, supplemental feeding and mineral stations will be set up. High protein food sources for antler development as well as lactating does and sprouting fawns are essential this time of year. Equally as important is minerals and more importantly salt. Placing out salt licks puts sodium back into a deer’s body and cells, essential for the water logged diet, metabolized from the content of plant growth during the summer.
As you can probably guess by now, practicing scent control during the setup and maintenance/fill up of the mineral and feeding stations can be effective. Deer will already be shy to mineral stations and feeding sites, due to the fact that it’s a social interaction hotspot. You can use your Ozonics unit and wave it over and around the feeder after fill-up to eliminate, alter and reduce any scent left behind. If not, adding human scent to that scenario creates a high stressed environment, meaning that mature buck will not only spook but will not be receiving his crucial “daily vitamins”.
Next to actually deer hunting, the importance of scent control and scent management when you are setting up, running, or checking your trail cameras is vital. This is not only to keep, hold, and get pictures of mature bucks, but a necessary part of keeping your trail camera strategy effective.
If a mature buck associates the form, sound, and (in some models) the flash of a trail camera, with your human scent or human scent in the same area, the buck will completely avoid that area, trail, or mineral/bait station. He might still be in the area, just working around the camera, but you will never know that once he is educated on what and who the trail camera is. Like the feeder, wave the unit over the area you are setting up just to make sure scent molecules are eliminated from a deer’s range of interaction.
The Importance of Ozonics in the Off-Season
(Video) With 45% more odor-destroying output, Ozonics has stepped up their game with the HR-300. This new product is nearly silent thanks to the quiet fan and Integrated EZ Mount technology.
As deer hunters we know whitetail season isn’t just 3 -4 months, it’s a year round addiction. All the above undertakings run the entire 365 whitetail season gauntlet, and practicing scent control and correct scent management without Ozonics is unfeasible. The amount of scent control products needed to entirely eliminate odors and human scent on equipment for the whole season would put a healthy dent in your wallet. Rather accumulating a stockpile of scent sprays and/or cover “wafers,” acquire one product that provides exactly what you need year round. The new HR- 300 does this. The new unit is more effective, easier to use, and last longer giving you the ultimate tool for off season scent management.
Now this Ozonics unit is paired with two new accessories to truly take your scent management to the next level. The new Kinetic Backpack confronts the issues of continuous scent elimination while on the move. The compartments, detaching ability, and padded backpack makes it possible to carry in your off-season equipment while being scent-free and in comfort. The new Ozonics Driwash Bag now makes it possible to harness the power of Ozone to reduce scent on all your hunting gear. Simply hang your clothing, kinetic backpack, and boots in the bag turn the HR-300 Ozonics unit on the DRI-WASH setting, and after one or two ten minute cycles your clothing and equipment will be ready for the field.
Scent control is critical for deer hunting success, but the same can be said for the off season. If you do not have a proper scent management program in place for the entire year, you may be severely effecting your ability to hold and kill mature bucks.