SNAKE OIL– A valueless or fraudulent cure, remedy, or solution. Often used in the phrase “snake oil salesman,” one who sells or promotes such a product.
Does Scent Killer Work?
Millions of hunters across the country are getting ready for deer season. With deer season comes the urge to gear up and have a better season than the crappy year you had last year.
There you are— pacing the aisles of your local hunting store, Cabela’s, or BassPro. You’re taken aback by the deluge of scent killers from nearly every big name in the industry.
There they are in all their glory, an entire aisle of scent killers. Sprays, wipes, soaps, shampoos, even laundry detergents. Did you fall through a wormhole into a Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Oh no, my buck chasing friend, you’re hunting in the 21st century. And you’re about to buy a gallon of 21st-century snake oil.
Before you start emailing me with the CAPS LOCK on, I’ve heard all of the arguments for why scent-killers work. I have one response for all of you. No, they don’t. I’m going to give you the facts.
Fact #1. A Deers sense of smell is nearly perfect. — Researchers at Mississippi State University found that a deer’s sense of smell, like a dog’s, can be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 times more acute than a human’s.
For more than 50 years Leonard Lee Rue III has observed, researched, photographed and written about deer. He has done more to educate the American public and hunters on the ways of the whitetail than anyone. With proper scenting conditions, 50-70 degrees, high-humidity, and a slight breeze.
“Under such conditions, I believe a deer could detect a human’s scent from at least one-half mile, or more,” he says.
Fact #2. No scent killer on the market has ever fooled a dog in testing. Never.
In 2015, Scott Bestul of Field & Stream did extensive testing on scent killers. Here is the final analysis based on Chance the police dog and his “not as good as a deer” nose.
The Analysis: Scent-eliminating sprays were clearly ineffective at hiding a sitting hunter’s scent from Chance’s nose, which—it’s worth pointing out again—has about 100 million fewer scent receptors than that of a whitetail. You can read the entire article here.
In my opinion, this is the definitive study on “does scent killer work”. You can read the entire article here
The responses I hear from hunters when I explain that they’re applying snake oil, range from “I agree with you.” to “You can go to Hell!” And the conversation always comes down to this.
“If it gives me an additional second or two so I can get a shot; then it’s worth it.”
I get it. Everybody wants to have a successful season. The cost of scent killers isn’t so out of control that it’s going to break most hunters budgets. And if it gives a hunter a little more self confidence, what’s it going to hurt? Nothing. But the question is, will it help?
In the end, think of a deer nose like a bank. Each time they inhale, all of that information is taken in and deposited in the bank. It may not be enough information to cause them to change direction, but with another breath, that information gets confirmed, and they’ll use that information to take an appropriate response to stay alive. The only way to beat that is to be “nothing”. The only way to be “nothing” is to play the wind.
Let me know what you think. Does scent killer work? Leave your thoughts in the comments.