Bow hunters must reduce body odor to be successful

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2002

By By Ben Norman
Preventing deer from detecting human body odor has been a challenge to hunters since cave men draped animal skins over their body and stalked their evening meal. Reducing body odor is important to any hunter but especially to the bow hunter.
Rifle hunters, perched in an elevated stand and taking a shot at several hundred yards, are assisted by air currents in dissipating their odor to some extent. But a bow hunter often has deer standing within 10 or 15 yards of the tree he or she is in. At these short ranges odor suppression is a major factor.
Hunting from elevated stands offers the advantage of putting our scent above game – sometimes. Downdrafts of the prevailing winds can push human scent down from the highest tree stand to a deer's keen nose. Hunters who must hunt from the ground because of age, disabilities or fear of heights must work even harder to eliminate their scent.
Bathing with an odor free soap, including washing one's hair is the first step in reducing body odor. Body cleanserS such as the ones used by hospitals to combat bacteria growth on patients is a good choice. Hunters can make them selves almost odorless for three to four hours after bathing. After this time, odor-causing bacteria begins to grow and our body odor increases. The more activity we subject ourselves to the more we perspire and odor increases.
A good dusting with baking soda over the entire body with particular attention to under arms and feet will give you additional odor free hours. Apply a non-scented deodorant after the baking soda. Stay away from the scented deodorant. You may not detect it, but you will smell like a French flower shop to that trophy buck that managed to elude you last hunting season.
These odor-eliminating precautions will get you by for several hours after daylight. If you plan to continue hunting until mid-day, a scent eliminating touch-up is a good idea. A quick wipe off with a wet cloth, an additional dusting of baking soda, and a fresh dab of scentless deodorant will eliminate much of the recently acquired odor.
Hunters can spend a lot of money on odor eliminating detergents, but common baking soda is just as good in my opinion and is inexpensive. Once washed, clothes should be hung outside to dry if the weather permits. It does little good to wash them and allow them to pick up household odors overnight. If a dryer is used, it's a good idea to place the garments in a plastic garbage bag and dust with backing soda.
Fuel the hunting buggy up the night before the hunt. Few odors linger as long as gasoline spilled on a boot or hunting jacket. Tobacco and food odors should be avoided as well. A little soap and baking soda won't guarantee you a buck, but it will allow you to shorten the distance between you and him.

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