Scent Control Products for Hunting: Snake Oil or Necessity?

I find it quite interesting that there are so many people that are very passionate about this topic. It is similar to the Ford vs. Chevy debate. Coke vs. Pepsi. Mathews vs Hoyt. There are those who that swear by scent elimination. There are those who that swear it is snake oil. Personally, I believe it all depends.

As an engineer, much of my day consists of working within the constraints of the fundamental science we all know and love called physics. Perhaps this is why I’ve been one of the biggest skeptics when it comes to scent “elimination” and scent control products. While I understand the science behind it, what has kept me quite leery of any of these products is wondering whether a hunter could achieve the same results in the field as in a controlled environment, such as a lab.

Scent elimination v. scent reduction.

For discussion sake, when I say scent elimination, what I really mean is scent reduction. I believe full scent elimination in the field is impossible.  Scent elimination in a controlled environment is possible, but sitting in a blind or stand in your hunting clothes is far from a controlled environment. Unless you’re willing to tow a vat of scent elimination liquid in a trailer behind your truck  and fully immerse yourself and all of your gear before stepping into your ground blind or tree stand, it’s impossible to eliminate 100% of your scent.  

So what use is scent elimination if you’re not fully eliminating scent?

When your wind is good, you can smell like a bacon cheeseburger, and it doesn’t matter — you’re in good shape. When you feel the wind cooling off the back of your neck, it probably doesn’t matter what scent elimination you’re using, and it’s probably time to pack it in for the day and go have that bacon cheeseburger – you’re busted. So why bother with scent control? While you can’t achieve full elimination, scent elimination sprays can help in certain situations.

Scent elimination for marginal wind.  

While I don’t think it will cloak your scent over a long period of time, scent eliminators may disguise your scent just a few extra seconds. In hunting, a few more seconds can mean the difference between having the time to level your bow and rest your pin on the vitals and watching a nice buck turning around and disappearing into the trees, leaving you without a quality shot.  Depending on how you hunt, where you hunt, and what your set-up is, this could mean that scent eliminators could help you for one in ten sits in the field, or maybe one in a thousand — the answer varies greatly.

To be more successful, hunters will try to improve on the smallest of things to give them slightly better chances. Is it worth it to do the spray-down ritual to eliminate some of your smell in case you get into a marginal wind situation, hoping that it may give you a split second longer to prepare for a shot? For some yes, for some no.  

Gaining a few extra seconds – and then some.

Personally, when given this choice, I opt for that extra few seconds. But for the past several years, I’ve been using a product that seems to offer maybe even a slightly longer reprieve — Nose Jammer. Being the skeptic, it has taken many days in the blind or in the stand to let myself really evaluate the observations in the field, but what I’ve found is that the results in the field appear to align with the science behind the product, and I’ve had several experiences I can’t quite explain. Yes, there can always be a fluke situation where a deer does something totally out of “deer character,” but seeing it happen over and over again has gotten my attention, and Nose Jammer has officially made it onto my “must have” list.

Why I love Nose Jammer.

So how is Nose Jammer different? Their process for scent elimination can be summed up like this:

  • The folks at Nose Jammer use natural aromatic compounds, primarily vanillin (primary extract from the vanilla bean), to “jam” an animal’s sense of smell instead of trying to eliminate a smell.

  • By overwhelming an animal’s olfactory gland with a natural, unalarming smell, the animal’s “sniffer” is overloaded while processing the smell of vanillin and cannot pick up other scents, such as human scent.  

I don’t know much about olfactory glands and how smell is recognized and processed, and the explanation seems plausible at best. However, if I couple the above explanation with my personal results in the field, I’m more than convinced.

Nose Jammer in Action.

I was compelled to write this article after having deer downwind of me and in close proximity three days in a row this season. In an attempt to set up a ground blind in the best possible location, I sat in a tree stand for a few days to get feel for the lay of the land, look for good shooting lanes, and to see how and where the deer were moving. The first day, I had two deer feed their way to me from downwind and then feed about 30 yards downwind of me for nearly 20 minutes and eventually meander off. On the second day, I rattled in a small buck that came straight downwind from me. He wandered around right under the stand with a doe that had crossed through my wind as well. Day three was a repeat of day one, and deer came through without any indications of being on high alert. Does Nose Jammer work?  As I continue to have moments like this, I sure think it is a good possibility.

This year’s experiences compelled me to write the article, but it was a day in the blind three years ago that compelled me to continue to use and test Nose Jammer. On the morning of the 2nd to last day of the season, we had our blind set up in sparse timber a few hundred yards from the fields the deer would hit each night.   

That morning, we were committed to sitting at this location, but the wind was blowing straight into the field from our backs. We doused the blind with Nose Jammer and waited for daylight. Shortly afterward, we had deer slowly working their way back into the timber. I remember several deer feeding within about 30 yards straight in our wind and waiting for an opportunity for a shot. Taking their time, after about 20 minutes, a doe finally fed into a shooting lane, and I made a shot. She ran about 40 yards and tipped over.  

Before recovering the doe, we decided to sit a bit longer and see what else might wander by. Shortly after, a buck came straight in from downwind and gave me my second opportunity of the day. I shot the buck, and our day was a success. This was definitely one of those days that makes me think that the guys over at Nose Jammer may have something great — something I might even call a game changer.

It is continued results like this that give us reason to use Nose Jammer and endorse this product on our site.  Feel free to check it out for yourself. If inclined, reach out and share your experiences using Nose Jammer. I’d love to know how it works for you!