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Make Sense of Scent

by Josh Fletcher 15. September 2009 18:14
Josh Fletcher

We all know that a trophy class buck’s greatest defense is his nose, and each year we all spend our hard earned money on scent eliminations products. But what works, what doesn’t… or is it all just a marketing scheme to sell sportsman and women water in a bottle? To better understand what marketing calls “scent elimination systems”, we first must understand what scent is and how the human body creates it.

First, as a hunter we leave two types of scent while heading into our stands and sitting in our stands. There is liquid particles (scent oil) which is individual scent track of a person walking through the woods and on objects that we touch. The other is scent that is dispersed as a gas. This affects hunters the most when sitting in a stand.

The scientific reasoning is that the human body consists of approximately 60 trillion cells, which are constantly dying and being shed off at the rate of approximately 50 million cells a second. These cells are acted on by bacteria and will give off a gas.  The human body has a layer of air, which is warmer, less dense than ambient air. This layer creates a current next to the body, which starts at the feet, rising until it peaks just above the head. That body air picks up speed, as the outside air gets colder because warm air rises. As this current rises, it picks up rafts, consisting of dead cells carrying along bacteria and a layer of body secretions, both are ingredients of scent, which are carried up the body and released plume-like from over the hunter's head.  These rafts are microscopic in size however they will be deposited down wind of the hunter. The growth of bacteria on the cells produces a gas that makes scent. So what does all this mean to a hunter?


While sitting in your stand your raft of scent molecules rises to the top of your body before being dispersed downwind.  The more you stink, the larger your scent cone will be.

Basically, we as humans are stinky critters and that we are always producing scent. Which gets me thinking, if we are always producing scent, how can we be scent free? I feel that the sent elimination system is mislabeled. I do believe it works, but we need to have a better understanding and expectations. I feel that it should be labeled as a scent reduction system. Scent “reduction” is important and worth a hunters time. If you are out mowing the lawn or doing house work and become sweated up, you will be giving off more scent, versus washing and showering, and reducing the amount of bacteria, which would create a much smaller scent cone.

Now a scent cone is just that, a cone. Its smallest point is near your body, mostly at the top of your head. Then it widens out, as it gets further down wind. We’ve all seen a scent cone. While sitting next to a campfire we’ve watched the smoke rise into the air. The smoke starts at the top of the fire, then as it rises high into the air, it widens out into a large cloud.  The more bacteria you are emitting the bigger the scent cone. The bigger the scent cone, the wider the area down wind the deer can pick up your scent.

Now we have all heard ads that basically say you can forget about wind direction and just concentrate on hunting. For me that is a misconception, because as a hunter you always need to pay attention to the wind direction because we are always giving off scent. As far as carbon suits I believe they work, and they do absorb scent molecules, but not all; scent is escaping from anywhere that the carbon is not covering. However, instead of all of your scent floating into the air, you can  capture a big part of it by the carbon suit. Also make sure that a quality company makes your carbon suit, I recommend using Sent Blocker. 

With a combination of showering in scent “reduction” soap, washing your hunting clothes in a scent “reduction” detergent, spraying down yourself and gear with a scent “reduction” spray, and a high quality carbon suit, you can greatly reduce the amount of scent that you give off into the environment, leaving a much smaller scent cone.


Reducing human scent will definitely help your odds at harvesting a nice buck this fall, but you should never rely on this method alone.  Always check the wind and only hunt your best stands when the situation is right.

I’ve used many different types of scent eliminators, and the one brand that I prefer is the Primos Silver XP Products. The reason is that Primos targets bacteria in this product. They do this by using silver to attack the bacteria since this is what human odor is caused by. Also, it is designed to attack non-bacterial odors, such as smoke or gasoline so you get a total scent “reduction”.

I first heard about this product at a local deer classic. Then one day I was at a department store with my wife and she asked me to try on some cologne. After I did so, I quickly learned that I wasn’t too fond of that cologne. After doing the woman version of shopping, off to my style, the sports shop! I was getting sick of smelling the cologne as I walked through the isle of scent elimination products. So I gave the new Primos Silver XP a test run. I sprayed a small amount over the cologne and almost instantly the smell was gone. I walked out of that sports shop with two bottles. A short time latter my child had an accident on the couch. My wife shampooed and sprayed carpet cleaner on the couch to get rid of the smell. After trying everything but burning the couch I sprayed my new bottle of Primos Silver XP on the pee spot, and instantly the odor was gone. That instance sold me on this product. The only problem is that my wife now wants to use my bottles for cleaning the house!


I personally prefer the Primos Silver XP brand of scent reduction products.  You can check them out in the Bowhunting.com cart by clicking here.

I’ve told numerous people about this product and the only way I can prove it to them and you is to take two cotton balls. Put several drops of doe pee on each cotton ball. Now spray your favorite brand on one cotton ball, and then spray the Primos Brand on the other cotton ball. This way you can be the judge and see for yourself. Even though I believe in the Primos Silver XP products and wear carbon suits, I still watch the wind and only hunt my favorite stands when the wind is right. I don’t believe that it is possible to be sent free but I do believe that you can be scent reduced. If you can make your scent less noticeable to a big buck that is the well needed edge that could make the difference on your next hunt.

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