It is that time of year again…..hunting season.
I look forward to hanging stands and planting food plots and even shooting my bow, but I don't look forward to all the laundry!! Unfortunately it is a necessary evil in order for us to be successful bow hunters. We must care for our hunting clothes carefully in order to remain scent free. You can't go bombing out into the woods smelling downy fresh and expect to fool the deer. Even though it sounds crazy it is better to smell like dirt then it is to smell Irish spring fresh. We have got to blend in not only with our camo, but also with our scent. A deer can smell you before it can see you. So let's get to cleaning.
To prepare for the season I wash everything, including hats, gloves socks and boots. I take every article of clothing I may wear out in the field and plan a mass laundry day. I first spray the washer with a scent free spray and sometimes even wash some sheets in the Atsko scent free detergent to get the washer smell neutralized. Then I wash the hunting clothes and either air dry outside away from barbecue grills and smokers or dry in a drier. If I use the drier I perform a similar cleansing ritual for it as well. I make sure the lint trap is clean. I dry the Atsko washed sheets in the drier and then spray again with a human scent neutralizing spray. In the drier I like to use dirt scented drier sheets. I know it sounds absurd, but it is all for the sake of the hunt. I want my freshly cleaned clothes to smell like dirt.
Once the clothes are sufficiently dry and at room temperature I place them in a large vacuum seal bag. Make sure the bag or tote you use is clean and dry. Don't use a tote that you stored your fishing tackle in or Aunt Edna's moth ball scented wool blanket. A deer has a sensitive nose! People also use plastic totes or plastic/rubber dry bags, anything unscented and air tight is sufficient. Make sure your clothes are room temperature before you seal the bag or you may have condensation develop and then your clothes will get moldy and musty....yuck. Some folks like to put a cover scent in with their clothes. I am a fan of this, I take the earth scent wafers I used that season and put them in the bag. I have also used one of the cover scent drier sheets and a piece of a cedar tree to accomplish the same goal. As long as the clothes don't have human related scents like smoke, detergent, food smells, gasoline etc you should be safe.
Other folks don't use a cover scent at all in their storage procedure, this is especially important if you have any carbon type clothing. For carbon clothing you want to keep the carbon scent free. I still wash with Atsko but I let the garments air dry and then activate in a cleaned drier with no drier sheet at the time and temperature setting on the label. Once cool I place the garments in a vacuum bag and it is safe until the opening day of bow season.
I also clean my boots and place them in plastic totes. My rubber boots I hose down with fresh water, spray with my remaining scent neutralizing spray, air dry and put in the tote. Everything is fresh and ready to be invisible next season.
I am sure many of you have your own helpful hints in regards to this yearly chore. This site is all about sharing our knowledge with each other and helping each other become better hunters. If we are scent free we are one step closer to being invisible and if we are stealth we will have more close encounters with deer, more shot opportunities and more stories to share.