Does scent control clothing for deer hunting work? Yes or No?

Scent Control Clothing for Deer Hunting: Yes or No?

As a bow hunter, I know the importance of staying hidden from deer by wearing the right camouflage. But I also know that managing my scent is just as crucial to increasing my chances of success. In previous blog posts, I’ve shared tips on how a deer’s vision impacts the camouflage a bow hunter wears and what I recommend.

Now, I want to continue this journey into minimizing detection by exploring the pros and cons of using scent control clothing for deer hunting. Do the technologies in these clothes really do enough to manage scent and make them worthwhile? What technologies are the best at doing this? Let’s dive in and find out.

Why Scent Control for Deer Hunting?

As a bow hunter, you understand the importance of taking every advantage you can to get as close to a deer as possible. That means wearing the right camo, hunting in the right tree, using the right wind, and minimizing a deer’s ability to detect you.

Deer have an incredibly keen sense of smell, making scent control crucial for any hunter looking to get close to their quarry. Without proper odor control, deer can smell you from great distances, spooking them and sending them running.

While many hunters swear by “hunting the wind” to control their scent while deer hunting, it’s important to remember that wind direction can be unpredictable and change quickly. Relying solely on wind direction isn’t always enough. Sometimes, wind direction (along with thermals) can be unpredictable or shift suddenly, and if you’re not careful, it can result in a deer picking up your scent and fleeing before you have a chance to take a shot.

READ: Outsmart a Whitetail Deer’s Extraordinary Sense of Smell

As a bow hunter, I rely heavily on hunting the wind and choosing the right location to minimize my scent signature. But even with the best wind conditions and location, there’s still a chance that my scent can be detected.

By minimizing your scent with the right clothing and gear, you can increase your chances of a successful hunt and get closer to your target without being detected. Scent control isn’t just about avoiding detection, either. When you’re not constantly blowing your cover with your scent, you may have the opportunity to make bolder and more aggressive hunting moves, observe the deer’s natural behaviors and patterns, and make more informed decisions.

Whitetail deer sniffing a licking branch

Do Scent Control Technologies Actually Work?

Yes, odor control technologies can be effective in minimizing human scent while hunting. The degree of effectiveness can depend on the specific technology used, the quality and design of the garment or gear, and how well the hunter follows a scent control routine.

Some hunters swear by the effectiveness of odor control technologies, while others may be more skeptical. I have had deer hang out by my stand for hours with swirling winds, so I am a believer. It’s not a silver bullet, but another tool to put in your toolbox.

Odor control technologies aim to fight human body odor and other scent-causing compounds that might give away a hunter’s presence. These odors can be caused by sweat, bacteria, fungi, and other sources like the smell of your car or smoke from a cigarette.

Scent control technologies are designed to target these specific types of odors, but additional measures such as wind direction management and scent elimination sprays may also be needed for optimal results during deer hunting. The only other way to guarantee that your scent is masked is by using an ozone generator.

So, let’s take a look at the technologies that are needed to make this happen.

READ: Bow Hunting Clothes: Optimizing Camo, Scent, and Stealth

Types of Odor Eliminating Technologies

When it comes to odor-eliminating technologies for hunting clothes, there are two main types: odor-adsorbing and antimicrobial.

Odor adsorbing technologies work by attracting and trapping odor molecules on their surface, effectively removing them from the air and reducing your overall scent signature. Activated carbon is a popular example of an odor-adsorbing technology used in hunting clothes.

Antimicrobial technologies, on the other hand, work by targeting and killing the bacteria that cause odor in the first place. By eliminating the bacteria that produce odor, antimicrobial technologies can effectively prevent odors from developing on your hunting clothes in the first place. Silver-based technologies, like ScentLok’s Silver Alloy™, are common examples of antimicrobial technologies used in hunting clothes.

While both types of odor-eliminating technologies can be effective, a dual-action approach that combines both odor adsorption and antimicrobial properties is often considered the most comprehensive and effective solution for scent control in hunting clothes.

Airing out hunting clothes after a hunt to eliminate scent. This is part of what I do for my scent control clothing for deer hunting.
Airing out hunting clothes after a hunt to try to eliminate the scent.

Using a Dual Action Approach to Scent Control Clothing

Using a dual-action approach to scent control is important for deer hunting because it maximizes your chances of success. By using technologies that target both odor adsorption and bacterial odor prevention, you can minimize your scent signature and reduce the chances of spooking deer. While using wind direction and other scent control methods is helpful, they may not be enough on their own.

By adding in the benefits of odor adsorption and antimicrobial properties, you can significantly improve your ability to stay undetected and get closer to your target. This dual-action approach to scent control can make all the difference in a successful hunt, and investing in the right clothing and gear can be a worthwhile investment.

READ: Stay Invisible to Deer & Insects: Scent-Free Bug Protection for Bow Hunters

Why an Antimicrobial-Antibacterial Approach Isn’t Enough

While antimicrobial treatments are an effective means of controlling bacteria and preventing odors from developing, they are not always sufficient for deer hunting scent control. This is because many of the odors that deer can detect are not caused by bacteria, but rather by other sources such as sweat, food, and other environmental factors.

Antimicrobial treatments can certainly help to reduce the presence of bacteria and the odors they cause, but they do not address other sources of odor. This means that even if your clothing is treated with an antimicrobial agent, you may still be emitting enough odor to alert nearby deer to your presence.

Quite a few hunting clothing companies only use this limited approach as it’s cheaper and they can still claim their hunting clothing has built-in scent control. For example, Sitka uses Polygiene Stay Fresh and Kuiu uses Toray Makspec®. Both are antimicrobials and even have antiviral capabilities, but do not remove all the odors that deer can smell.

That’s why dual-action technologies, such as those that combine odor adsorption and bacterial odor prevention, are often preferred by serious deer hunters. These technologies are designed to target a wide range of odor sources, making them more effective at controlling human scent and minimizing the risk of detection by deer.

Of course, it’s worth noting that every hunter’s needs and preferences are different, and some may find that antimicrobial treatments are sufficient for their needs. But for those who want to maximize their chances of a successful hunt, dual-action scent control technologies are often the best choice.

Dual Action Technologies that Work

When it comes to scent control clothing for deer hunting, there are many different technologies available on the market. However, not all of them are equally effective. To maximize your scent control, it’s important to look for dual-action technologies that target both odor adsorption and bacterial odor prevention.

One effective technology is activated carbon, which is used in products like ScentLok clothing. Activated carbon has a large surface area and can adsorb a wide range of organic compounds, including those that cause human odors. Another technology is silver, which has natural antimicrobial properties and can help prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Brands like ScentBlocker, Drake Waterfowl, and Under Armour also use these technologies in their hunting clothes.

Polygiene is another popular technology that provides both odor adsorption and antimicrobial properties through their Stay Fresh and Odor Crunch products. Polygiene Stay Fresh uses silver salt technology to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi, while also using odor-trapping technology to adsorb organic compounds in their Odor Crunch product. Clothing brands like Pnuma, Forloh, and Element Outdoors use both of these Polygiene products in their hunting apparel.

READ: Polygiene vs. Scentlok: The Best Long-Hunt Solution

Ultimately, the best dual-action technology for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It’s important to do your research and compare different brands and technologies to find the one that works best for you.

Successful morning bow hunt with 8-Point buck.

Scent Control Clothing Vs. No Scent Control Clothing

The main difference between a hunter that uses scent control clothing and one that does not is the level of scent control they have (obviously). A hunter that uses scent control clothing has an additional layer of protection against being detected by deer, in addition to using wind direction to their advantage. On the other hand, a hunter that relies solely on wind direction for scent control may not have as much control over their scent, as they cannot control the direction and strength of the wind at all times.

In a scenario where a deer is downwind of the hunters, the hunter without scent control clothing may be detected and spook the deer, while the hunter with scent control clothing may have a higher chance of remaining undetected and being able to make a successful shot. When hiking to your stand location, you never know exactly where deer are and the slightest wind shift can alert deer that you are there without you ever knowing about it. Having that extra level of protection can go a long way to a successful hunt. It is not guaranteed and every situation is different, but as I’ve said before, every little bit helps.

Asio lightweight hoody with antimicrobial scent control embedded in the material.

What are the Cons of Using Scent Control Hunting Clothes?

While scent control clothing can be effective in minimizing human scent, it does come with some potential drawbacks. Here are some of the cons of using scent-control clothing for deer hunting:

  1. Expensive: Scent control clothing can be more expensive than regular hunting clothing due to the added technology and materials used, but this barrier to entry is not as bad as it once was.
  2. No guarantee of success: While scent control clothing can minimize human scent, it does not guarantee success in every hunting situation.
  3. Requires proper care: Scent control clothing must be washed and cared for properly to maintain its effectiveness. This can be time-consuming and may require additional purchases, such as scent-free detergent.
  4. Limited availability: Not all hunting clothing brands offer scent control options, which can limit the choices available to hunters.


As a bow hunter, I believe in taking every advantage possible to increase my chances of a successful hunt. This includes using the right camouflage, hunting in the right tree, and paying attention to wind direction. But perhaps one of the most important elements of successful deer hunting is minimizing your scent. By investing in the right scent control clothing and gear, you can significantly reduce your scent signature and get closer to your target without being detected.

In this post, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of using scent-control clothing for deer hunting, and we’ve looked at some of the best technologies and strategies for managing your scent. While there may be some drawbacks to using these technologies, I firmly believe that the benefits far outweigh the costs. By minimizing your scent, you not only increase your chances of a successful hunt, but you also have the opportunity to observe and learn about the deer you’re hunting.

In the end, the decision to invest in scent control clothing is a personal one, but I believe that it’s an essential part of any serious deer hunter’s toolkit. With the right gear and the right strategies, you can improve your chances of success and take your hunting to the next level.

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