There are several major differences between rifle hunting and bow hunting, but the most challenging for me is scent control. I remember growing up I could be around a campfire all night and wear hunting clothes that were mixed with my every day clothes. I could have a heater warming my feet the entire hunt and go to the bathroom at the bottom of the stand if I needed to. The hogs would still come out 100 yards away! Scent isn't really an issue while rifle hunting because you're enclosed and usually pretty high up in the air. Fast forward to January 2013 when my husband introduced me to bow hunting and turned my world around. When you're having to be within 50 yards or less, scent plays a huge role. We have so many different ways of covering our scent, I felt it necessary to share! While some of these may seem silly, I personally don't ever want to think "Could I have done more for this hunt?" I'd rather know that I tried everything possible to stay scent free. Yes, the wind direction is the main focus on this subject, but it is never in our control. This was especially true when I was elk hunting in New Mexico. We like to make an effort to control all variables possible by practicing the following:
1. Wash Field Clothes - we typically rewash our clothes after each long trip, or every couple of weeks during hunting season. If/when we kill, everything is washed again.
2. Store in Scent Control Box - air tight hard shell boxes work great for us because of their durability and they're weatherproof, therefore easy to travel with!
3. Change Scent Wafers Regularly - we like to keep wafers in our scent control boxes, bow cases, and inside our backpacks.
4. Spray entire body including shoes - there are tons of different brands of spray that work great. It's just a nice last minute thing to do before walking to the stand, especially if you rode in a truck on the way.
5. Shower before every hunt in scent control product - for me this is huge! My hair holds more scent than anything. In fact, I start preparing a week before I know I'll be in the field by washing in all scent killer bathroom product. My husband only begins a couple days before his hunt.
6. Change into camo in the field - personal vehicles hold a ton of scent so if you have the ability to haul your clothes with you and change in the field, do it! It's not always fun stripping down in the cold but I'd rather not take a chance.
7. Scent free deodorant - this works great if you don't plan on sweating a ton on your hunt. When I was elk hunting, it did NOT matter! However, in Texas we hunt differently and it's definitely worth it.
Get out There!