How to Control Scent When Deer Hunting

How to Control Scent When Deer Hunting

Scent control is an important factor to remember when deer hunting. As a hunter for the past years, I must say that I have lots of experience hunting big animals. To become a good hunter, you should pay attention to your scent.

Today, I will share with you some of my strategies and techniques on how to control scent when deer hunting. Pay attention to every tip as it may help you a lot in your deer hunting adventures.

How to Control Scent When Deer Hunting

Scent Free Clothing

Your clothing plays a big role in reducing or controlling your scent. If you use laundry detergents, such as Gain, Tide, and more, it might add an unfamiliar fragrance to your clothes. Here is a quick video on how to keep clothing and gear as free of scent as possible.

So, the first tip you should keep in mind is to use scent-free laundry detergents, such as Dead Down Wind, Primos, Scent-a-Way, and Scent Killer. I use one of these scent-free detergents when cleaning my hunting clothes. Some hunters use borax and baking soda to control their scent. But I’m not sure if this works as I didn’t try it myself.

When drying, I dry my clothes on a clothesline outside. This prevents my clothing from absorbing scents coming from my dryer. Once your clothes are dry, use a scent-killing spray. Also, spray your hunting equipment before you hit the woods. These include tree-stand seats, hunting packs, hats, gloves, and safety harnesses.

As a hunter, it’s very crucial to keep clothing scent-free and clean at the same time. Consider storing your clothing in a  sealed container or bag. I use a Zip-Loc bag to keep my clothes after cleaning and drying them. You can find a lot of rubber bags and containers sold in your local market. Make sure to store your hunting clothes properly when not in use.

Control Body Scent

It’s also important to control your body-scent. I recommend you to use scent-free body soaps to clean yourself. Take note that humans and animals have a different scent taste. So, what’s desirable for the nose of your lovey might be undesirable to animals.

You can browse the internet to find a scent-free conditioner, shampoo, and body washes. You can even use generic alternatives to deodorant and soap marketed for hunters to save some money.

If you will hunt tomorrow, use the mentioned scent-free products today. Some of my friends use these shower essentials from the start of the hunting season.

For animals, such as deer, the things we use to smell fresh is a red flag. When they smell an unfamiliar odor, they tend to run away or become aggressive. So, make sure that you do not put anything scented to your body, such as colognes and deodorants.

Our human smell, like our sweat, is enough for a buck to ward off. To make sure that you will have a successful hunt, control your human smell as much as possible. Before you go hunting, consider using an odorless soap and shampoo. After that, dry yourself with a towel. Make sure that the towel is odorless.

These things will help you to get rid of the bacteria on your body without being smelly. Some use baking soda for masking their scent, but I am not sure if it is effective. Also, I recommend you to use a scent-free antiperspirant.

Avoid Contamination

I don’t recommend you to eat in a restaurant wearing your hunting clothes to avoid contamination. The tips I mentioned above will be worthless if you will do so.

If you wish to get a cig or drink coffee, keep your hunting clothes stored in a tightly-sealed bag or container. This tip might be quite a daunting task but take note that deer are not used to smell human scents.

Mask Your Scent

Before I enter the forest, I use a scent killing spray all over my body. Before, I used to touch grasses and tree branches with my bare hands. Later on, I realized that doing so can spread my human scent, causing the buck to go away.

After that incident, I make sure to wear gloves and rubber boots every time I have a deer hunting adventure. Also, before you hit the woods, wet some fragrant and fresh vegetation. You need to rub it all over your body to mask your human odor.

Wind Direction

Here is a video demonstrating how scent travels with the wind and how you can monitor the wind while hunting.


Wind direction is an important factor you need to consider when hunting a buck. Deer and other animals have a lot of scent receptors. This means that they can pick up even the subtlest odor. For example, when a buck smells something from the wind, they will know either the smell is from a human or a coyote.

So, the techniques I mentioned above won’t be any help if you are in a position where the wind blows toward the buck. So, make sure that you will keep an eye on the wind direction while hunting. To check, use a bottle with some powder or a flag.

As a general rule of thumb, you need to be in a position where the wind blows away from the target. This is being followed by most deer hunters out there. Remember that nature does not always cooperate, so have patience.

It’s important to cover up your smell. To help you out, consider the techniques I mentioned above. I have hunted many deer without them noticing my presence. Control your human scent. Follow the tips above. Have an enjoyable deer hunting experience!

References and Further Reading

Last Updated on June 5, 2021 by Marty Prokop