If you’re like a lot of other hunters, you’re breaking out your hunting clothing or buying new duds in preparation for archery deer season. This year we witnessed an explosion in the technologies used in scent-control clothing. Manufacturers are putting everything from revamped carbon to synthetic zeolites into fabrics to trap human odors and prevent them from reaching game.
The biggest question I get is whether the scent-control clothing works. Recently a court decision came down in favor of Scent-Lok Technologies, a leader in scent-control hunting clothing. A group of Minnesota hunters had sued Scent-Lok over claims made by the company on the efficacy of its clothing. I’ll cover this topic in a future column. But suffice it to say that, yes, scent-control clothing goes a long way towards preventing hunters from being winded.
The next question I get is, “How does the technology work?” If you’re curious, here’s how.

Zeolite Technology

Zeolites are naturally minerals formed when volcanic ash reacts with alkaline groundwater. Ancient Greeks and Romans used zeolite to purify water and treat excrement streams, and North American Indians used it to extend the shelf life of bison meat.

Zeolite is highly porous, enabling it to capture and hold odors. Today zeolite is used in laundry detergents, to clean aquariums and to treat nuclear waste. In its new Scent Control clothing, Under Armour (www.underarmour.com) chemically engineered synthetic zeolite to target human odors.

Encased in each Zeolite molecule is silver antimicrobial technology that stops bacteria – the cause of many human odors – from growing. Silver antimicrobials have no effect on odors. They penetrate the cells walls of bacteria and prevent reproduction.

“The result is a one-two punch against human odors,” said Eddie Stevenson, owner of Driftwood Media, Under Armour’s marketing partner. “The zeolite traps and holds human odor molecules, and silver prevents human odors from forming.”

Activated Carbon Technology

As far back as 2000 BC, Egyptians used activated charcoal to purify air and water. Today carbon is used for industrial clean-ups, sewage treatment and even to treat poisonings and drug overdoses.

Twenty years ago, Scent-Lok Technologies (www.scentlok.com) changed the face of hunting with its carbon-based scent-control clothing. This year the company released Carbon Alloy, a technologically-advanced trifecta of odor busting science. Carbon Alloy starts with activated carbon derived from coconut shells. Through a process called adsorption, odor molecules bond to carbon particles found in hunting clothing.

“The adsorbing molecules do not change the physical properties of the odor molecules, they just bind them to the carbon,” explained Scent-Lok president Greg Sesselmann.

Zeolite is then used as a polisher to adsorb ammonia compounds found in human odors. Finally, the carbon is treated with a sodium hydroxide wash that captures sulfur compounds commonly found in human odors emanating from feet and underarms.

The result is super-charged carbon that traps a broad spectrum of human odors.

In 2011, Scentblocker (www.robinsonoutdoors.com) placed released Cold Fusion, a micro-powdered activated carbon fused onto all its hunting clothing to stop odors dead in their tracks. Developed in partnership with Freudenberg, a worldwide leader in carbon technology, Cold Fusion attracts a broad range of odors and bonds them to activated carbon. Like Carbon Alloy, throwing Cold Fusion clothing into a dryer purges trapped odors and regenerates the fabric.

Ozone Technology

Know that fresh, clean smell you detect after a lightning storm? That’s ozone, nature’s air purifier. Discovered in 1785, today ozone is used to disinfect hospitals, destroy bacteria in food, and purify air in public restrooms.

Today Ozonics, Inc. (www.ozonicshunting.com) manufactures ozone generators for use while hunting. Each ozone generator changes oxygen molecules into ozone molecules and projects them downwind with a fan, where the ozone bonds with human scent molecules. When ozone comes into contact with human odors, ozone changes their chemical composition, creating molecules that no longer smell human.

“Testing has revealed that about 50 percent of all deer won’t react to ozone odors at all, while a small percentage will smell something, but not recognize it as human,” said Dennis Fink, co-owner of Ozonics, Inc.

Ozone is heavier than oxygen, so mount the generator above your head and angle it slightly downward.

Regardless of the scent-control technology you use, there’s no substitute for hunting smart.

“Play the wind as best as possible and don’t waiver, no matter how bad you want to hunt a spot,” said Ohio outfitter Dave Lusk (www.southernohiooutfitters.com).

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