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      Four Scent Control Principles for the Whitetail Woods

      by Shawn McCardell

      Over the course of millennia predators have mastered the ability to hunt undetected. As modern-day hunters we have adapted many of their characteristics in our own effort to pursue game. We have created scientifically engineered camouflage to become invisible to our prey. We employ noise reducing techniques to ensure we can slip silently through the woods. We even perform complex ceremonies and rituals to eliminate any odor we might emit, all in the name of bagging that trophy whitetail.

      But you don’t have to resort to hocus pocus in order to fool the nose of that shooter buck on your list this year. Below are four hunting principles for any hunter to use to reduce their scent footprint.

      Personal ProblemS

      At the most basic level, controlling your scent boils down to eliminating and masking your odor. This starts at home well before the season begins. Reducing the amount of scent you have on your body and your clothes can help reduce your scent signature in the woods.

      Solutions can vary from scentless shampoo and body wash to deodorant to specialized detergent for washing your clothes. Most of these products work because they contain perfume or fragrance for you to carry with you in the woods. Incorporate these products in your daily routines before and during the hunting season to maximize your personal odor elimination.

      Clothing Optional

      From your head down to your toes, your clothing isn’t just a form of optical camouflage — it can also be a form of scent camouflage. Because let’s face it, you can use as many products on yourself before you walk into the woods, but at the end of the day you are going to sweat and stink. That's where you need to rely on a set of clothes that can help reduce and eliminate that odor.

      There are many clothing choices on the market today, from carbon-activated to silver-impregnated to your granddad's favorite: wool. Essentially these fabrics, whether natural or man-made, aim to prevent scent from escaping into the wind by either trapping or masking them. Combining scent control clothing with odor eliminating personal care products can provide a formidable one-two punch to beat-down your scent in the woods.


      The best way to reduce your chances of being winded while hunting is to stay on the downwind side of the animal. Always staying downwind can be challenging, to say the least, as whitetail are unpredictable and so are the wind patterns. Each can change at the blink of an eye. But if you practice all four of these scent control principles you will increase your chances of going undetected this hunting season and hopefully bag that shooter buck before he slips away.

      Gear Up

      While combining the two aforementioned principles can certainly help you win the fight against odor, they don't always lead to a knockout. Most hunters overlook one critical area that leads to scent detection — their gear. 

      Unless you can effectively eliminate the odor from your personal hunting gear, you risk being exposed at the most critical time. Many hunters have gravitated to using scent-eliminating sprays on all of their gear, and even themselves, prior to walking into the woods before a hunt. This can help to initially mask the odor of your gear but will need reapplication in the field.

      Another solution is to purchase gear created with materials already impregnated with a scent eliminating product such as ElimiShield®, which can be found in products from safety harnesses to our very own line of Extreme whitetail packs. Unlike other odor eliminating products, ElimiShield® doesn't poison bacteria or absorb human odors; it kills the odor on contact.


      The Contender X is the ultimate day pack featuring ElimiShield® technology for whitetail hunters. With a host of other features to optimize your hunt, the Contender X is perfect for the tree stand or the ground. Learn more about one of our favorite whitetail packs below.

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      Shawn McCardell

      Shawn McCardell

      Shawn McCardell is an outdoor writer who lives in the western mountains of Maryland with his wife, Dawn, and four boys. He is an avid hunter, angler, and conservationist. Shawn is a board member and the R3 coordinator for the Capital Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. When not pursuing his next adventure he can be found instructing future generations as a certified hunter safety instructor.

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