Beating a deer’s nose is paramount to your hunting success. But did you know you can use smoke as a cover scent? Smoking your hunting clothes is one simple way to increase your odds of going undetected in the whitetail woods.
This simple method may be the key to your success during hunting season.
I have been using smoke as a cover scent for several hunting seasons now. Why did I decide to start smoking my hunting clothes? Simply put, I was tired of time consuming routines in order to try and stay scent free. Worrying about every little detail was taking the enjoyment out of hunting.
When I first heard about smoking your hunting clothes it made a lot of sense to me. Smoke is a familiar smell in rural areas with wood being used to heat homes. Deer should be familiar with tcommonly come in contact with the smell. the smell itself shouldn’t set off any alarms as they have no reason to associate it with danger.
Smoking your hunting clothes sounded simple enough. If the scent of smoke can put deer at ease and was easy to do, what was there to lose. At this point I was done with obsessive showering and attempting to keep my hunting clothes scent free. I was ready to try it.
After only a few hunts, I was impressed with the results of using smoke as a cover scent. Obviously I am still mindful of wind direction when setting up my treestand. Wind direction should never be ignored.
However, I’d occasionally encounter a swirling wind you at the worst possible time. Despite this, season after season I saw deer unaware of my presence when I expected to be busted.
While it’s impossible to attribute my hunting success to smoke as a cover scent, after all this time I can only think that smoking my hunting clothes has slightly improved my odds.
Why Does Smoking Your Hunting Clothes Work
There is a science behind smoke as a cover scent. It sounds simple enough but there are factors at work that are important to mention. This gives the method of smoking your hunting clothes even more credibility.
Smoke releases several chemicals that have both anti-bacterial and anti-microbial effects. The two most important are being phenol and lignin.
Lignin is responsible for the lingering smell of smoke remaining on your skin, hair and clothes. After smoking your hunting clothes with a bee smoker you won’t have to do it for several hunts. Because of the chemical lignin, the smoky residue clings to surfaces long after the fire is out.
Phenol is a compound in wood smoke that is both an antioxidant and anti-microbial. As we know, bacterial growth can lead to the development of odors. If the bacterial growth can be minimized, the human scent can be reduced. Along with phenol, smoke contains over 400 antimicrobial compounds. In theory, smoke won’t only act as a cover scent but as an aid in scent reduction.
How To Use Smoke As A Cover Scent
Using smoke as a cover scent is really simple. With an inexpensive Bee Hive Smoker you build a small fire and billow the smoke onto your hunting clothes.
A Bee Smoker is used by bee keepers to calm the hive when they collect honey. When you are ready to smoke your hunting clothes, fill it with wood chips and set them ablaze.
I use the same wood chips I already had for my electric meat smoker. If you don’t have any on hand, just collect small twigs and dry leaves from outside. They make for perfect kindling. Wood chips are cheap, but this is another way to save some money.
After your fire is burning, simply billow out the smoke and let it waft over your hunting clothes. A small fire puts out a lot of smoke and can do many pieces of gear at once. Just hang them up in a row and let the smoke roll out.
The smell of smoke lasts a long time and, as an added bonus, I think it smells good too. Brings the warm fuzzy feelings of a campfire to mind when I’m sitting in the cold waiting for a big buck to slip up.
Watch our YouTube video below to see how we apply smoke as a cover scent to our deer hunting clothes.
The most important thing to consider when hunting is the direction of the wind. Bowhunting whitetail deer is up close and personal. Remaining undetected is crucial. Always try and set up with the wind in your favor.
However, it’s not always possible. Especially when you are hunting a location where deer can come to you from any direction. Deer movement can be impossible to predict at times. Hunt the wind but protect yourself from the unexpected.
In those cases, I like to increase my odds with smoke as a cover scent. It’s a simple way to up my chances of going unnoticed as deer come into bow range. Every year I see examples of it working while in the field hunting.
It is inexpensive to do and I can use the hunting clothes I already own. The campfire-esque smell you create on your clothing lasts a long time and is pleasing to my nose. To date, I have noticed no downsides to using smoke as a cover scent.
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