Welcome back outdoors world! In this installment of “The Willes Way” I want to talk scent control.
With all the products on the market these days, it’s hard to tell what to use and what to avoid. I spent this hunting season field testing several manufacturers so I could come back and tell you what I think.
I would like to focus on the three most popular brands these days. Dead Down Wind, Tink’s, and Hunters Specialties Scent-a-Way. They all have sprays, soaps, deodorants, and the whole nine yards to give you the advantage in the deer woods. Some I have found, are better than others.
The sense of smell of the whitetail deer is by far it’s most potent weapon. To think even for a moment we can fool it’s nose is futile. We can only hope to better our odds. Nothing works better for this than playing the wind, but there are ways to reduce the amount of scent we leave behind. Wearing rubber boots and spraying down with scent destroying formulas are two proven ways to reduce what the deer can smell, but it should never be thought of as a 100% solution. So here is my breakdown on what I thought of these so called “scent killing products”.
Dead Down Wind
I started using Dead Down Wind two years ago. At first I bought just the field spray. I instantly noticed results. I can remember one of the first times I used it I had deer come very close while ground hunting. I instantly became a fan of the field sprays. I had many close encounters with deer using it the first year, and I knew I would continue to use this product. Last year I decided to give other items in their line a go. I picked up the laundry soap, dryer sheet, and field spray combo. Again I used these products with great success. I definitely saw more deer and had them come closer that some previous products I have used. When I finished the last little bit of body wash from my previous season I picked up the bar soap to use. It worked ok. It didn’t lather as much as I would like but it seemed to perform just fine. I then purchased the liquid body wash. This is where it lost me. This has got to be the worst body wash I have used to date. Don’t get me wrong I am sure the formula works for odor destroying, but if you want to get clean, find a different body wash. I felt like would have to use a half a bottle (exaggeration) every time I showered just to get a lather. I immediately stopped using this product. I still like their field spray and laundry products, but I can not get behind their body wash/shampoo.
I picked up the body wash/shampoo and the aerosol field spray. Although a few other companies make aerosol cans for their scent elimination sprays, this is the first one I tried. I really like the aerosol. It makes it much easier to apply in the field and makes spray coverage a snap. The product performed well. I had many close encounters without being detected. It is a product I would use again. The hair and body wash on the other hand was below par. It does not get as low of a mark as Dead Down Wind, but I still was not impressed. I still feel like it did not clean as good as it could have. When I prepare to go into the field, I want to make sure that I start out as clean and scent free as I possibly can, and that starts in the shower. I have a hard time putting my full faith into the product if I do not feel 100% clean after using it.
Hunters Specialties Scent-a-Way
For many years now I have used this line of products. The company was one of the early adopters of scent free products. The field spray always worked as it should. Or so I thought. When I started using sprays, I definitely started seeing more deer. There is not much of a doubt that; they are not bogus products. I did however see a big jump in deer encounters when I starting using Dead Down Wind, which leads me to think I does not work as good as it could.
The laundry soap worked great and I’ve never had an issue with getting odors and stains, even fresh blood, out of my garments. It is less expensive and goes farther than a lot of brands.
The shampoo and body wash are by far this lines best product. The “green soap” as we call it, far out performs any other brand on the market. It has the scent destroying properties you want but most importantly, it gets you clean! I have yet to find a better body wash. The lather is awesome! After a long day afield at night, I even use it for bubble bath! You can relax in a nice hot bath while the scent away does it’s job and leaves you worry free about fragrant bubble bath soap for when you hunt the next day. I have tried Tink’s and DDW this way also and neither worked well. This is definitely my recommendation for shampoos and body washes
So I closing I just wanted to offer some up my personal preferences. After all the trial and error I did with trying to figure out what’s what, this is what will be in the gear bag for next hunting season:
- Tink’s B-Tech Field Spray
- Dead Down Wind laundry soap and dryer sheets
- Scent-a-Way shampoo/body wash
There is no need for product loyalty here. I just want to see more deer, and with this mix of products, I see lots of success.
I hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion and makes it a little easier for you in the field. There is a big market out there so I also hope I saved you some money by preventing bad purchase choices as well.
Most importantly though, I hope I just helped you bag a giant! Good luck everyone!
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