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Scent control regiment and FACTS about activated carbon

John Eberhart

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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
A lot of interest in Scent Control so I'm going to post several threads in a row to address it:


1. Just Play the Wind??????

Before scent reducing and eliminating products and garments hit the market “just play the wind” was the only number in town. Even today countless hunters claim there is no other option, meaning they believe scent control doesn’t work or doesn’t work well enough to negate the wind. To put it bluntly, that is not true.

You can fool a deer’s nose and I do it dozens of times each season. Please allow me to step back in time to a typical year before implementing a strict scent control routine.

During my spring tree selection and preparation process I would occasionally ignore the best tree and set-up a secondary tree better suited for the prevailing Northwest fall winds. Secondary tree choices typically put some runways or signposts out of range, or didn’t offer as good of concealment cover.

Before each hunt I’d check the wind direction then select a location from a host of already prepared locations for that particular wind. During the hunt I’d remain hopeful the wind would remain constant and not change directions or swirl.

Swirling winds were a dilemma and always an unknown entity that could ruin the best-laid plans especially when hunting undulating terrain features such as saddles, hills, ridges, or edges and corners of timber such as along perimeters of crop fields. There were saddle and ridge
locations that I quit hunting due to swirling winds.

Prior to losing their leaves, tree foliage acts in a similar manner as a brick wall. Whether along perimeters of openings in the woods or a field’s edge, a constant direct wind will not totally penetrate through tree-line foliage and the portion that doesn’t will deflect in differing directions or possibly swirl in several directions.

In tree-line corners the wind will deflect off one tree-line, hit the corner and deflect off the other tree-line creating a swirling wind in all directions similar to a whirlpool at a river bend. Many times I would hear snorting in the timber without a sighting.

Entry routes were another issue as I would try to take routes that didn’t cross any runways I expected deer to use during that hunt. Deer have a sense of smell hundreds of times more sensitive to ours and even though I’d trapped fox and knew to wear knee high rubber boots, my faint scent ribbon was enough to alert mature deer.

On occasion non-targeted deer would appear from upwind and pass downwind or cross my entry route and spook. A few times, a hot doe being pursued by a buck would spook and that hunt was abruptly over as well.

A thin blanket of human scent also went into the area downwind of my entry trail. Mature deer approaching from downwind of the scent line would, at very minimum, be on a higher alert level than normal, and am quite certain that many deer simply smelled me and never appeared.

Lastly, with Michigan’s November 15th gun season opener falling dead center of peak rut it was not uncommon that some bow locations saved strictly for the pre and early rut phases would never get hunted because the wind direction necessary for them never occurred during that short time frame, or on my days off work.

To state that wind direction dictated where I hunted more than deer activity did, would be an understatement.

Those are all realities of having to hunt the wind that unfortunately rarely get mentioned on TV and in videos because media hunters rarely hunt in heavily pressured areas where most 2 ½ year old and older bucks have been wounded or shot at before.

In heavy consequential hunting pressure areas survival instincts are immensely greater than those of their brethren in lightly hunted or micro-managed areas. When bucks are allowed to pass by hunters without consequence until they reach an age or antler criteria before being targeted, they have a much higher tolerance of human odor and activity. When there are no consequences during hunter encounters while growing to maturity, there’s little reason to fear future encounters.

Now please allow me to describe a typical year while implementing a strict scent control routine.

During post-season scouting and tree selection process I choose and prepare the best tree for that particular location with no concern of wind direction, bringing all runways and signposts into play.

Having a general seasonal plan already in place, prior to each hunt I decide which tree to hunt based solely on current sightings and signposts.
Whether hunting saddles, hills, ridges, tree line edges and corners, or any type of terrain feature, I pay no regard to wind direction and don’t care if during a hunt it changes or swirls.

Entry and exit routes are now dictated only by the likelihood of spooking deer during entries and exits due to being seen or heard.
I’m not concerned about non-targeted deer appearing from upwind and passing downwind or crossing my entry route and spooking due to human odor.

Lastly, during the all-important pre and early rut phases I can hunt my best locations without concern of wind direction or getting winded.

Current deer movements are the dictating factor for the locations I select and the wind direction has nothing to do with it. This may seem like a very bold statement, but the proof is in the pudding. After being winded many times each season for decades, I now have deer directly downwind almost every hunt without having them spook.
 

John Eberhart

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Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
Activated carbon lined-Scent Lok suit test

Even during the stone-ages wind direction influenced how animals that relied on their sense of smell for survival were hunted and during the first 34 of my 51 bow seasons, the same basic stone-age principles of “hunting the wind” were it! Sure, there were some sprays and precautions that would help, but the thought that wind direction could be ignored was inconceivable.

Millions of deer have been bow killed while hunting the wind but make no mistake, wind direction and not current deer activity has dictated how, when, and where experienced bowhunters have hunted.

In the previous post I touched on how having to hunt the wind affects so many aspects of the hunt and in the next few posts will lay a factual foundation of technology and how utilizing that technology correctly can make having to play the wind become a practice of the past.

In the 90’s I heard about activated carbon lined suits but had serious doubts as to whether they worked as advertised. I knew what activated carbon was and how it was utilized in many worldwide industrial and military applications for adsorbing molecules. Always searching for every slight advantage that made sense, I saved up and purchased a Scent Lok jacket, pants, headcover and gloves and learned how to properly care for them and what to use in conjunction with them to achieve a non-detectable, scent-free regiment.

At first I was a sceptic and after my first few early-season hunts without being winded, I still hadn’t had a specific visual instance where it was blatantly obvious that I could let my old “play the wind” guard down during the upcoming rut phases.

During the October lull on heavily pressured public land, in a secondary location where the chances seeing a mature buck were near zero, I purposely performed getting-winded tests to see to what extent the activated carbon lined suit worked.

There were two well-used east-to-west runways coming out of a cedar swamp that lead to a bordering alfalfa field. The tree was set-up south of the runways so that with a prevailing north wind direction I would be downwind, but for the test I waited for a south wind direction that would put me directly upwind of the 15 and 25 yard runways.

For the first hunt/test I wore my properly cared for Scent-Lok suit with headcover and gloves, clean knee high rubber boots, and my backpack which I’d washed in scent-free detergent that morning.

About an hour before dark a big doe with twin fawns stepped out of the swamp, browsed along the 25 yard runway on route to the field, passed directly downwind, and never even raised her nose to test the wind. I was stunned because there was absolutely no way that doe wouldn’t have winded me before. Another doe with a single fawn passed later down the closer runway with no reaction either.

The next evening I wore a Mossy Oak Apparel brand chamois cotton suit which had been washed the previous day in scent-free detergent with my backpack. The wind was still out of the south at a similar speed and the first doe and fawns came out at nearly the exact same time as the prior evening.

This time however when she was downwind of me she stopped, immediately turned her head in my direction, and began snorting. She spent the next five minutes snorting and stomping her hooves, letting every deer within hearing distance know this was not a safe place to be. She then turned and went back into the swamp and needless to say the second doe never showed. I’m also quite positive several other hunters on the public land heard her as well and wondered what was going on.

From that moment on I was absolutely convinced that activated carbon lined suits were extremely effective. Since PROPERLY using them, I see many more mature deer than in the past and because I don’t pay attention to wind direction anymore, at least half the deer I see are directly downwind at some point, and they don’t spook.

On rare occasions I’ve had deer test the air, but within seconds they’ve always continued on their way, evidently convinced there was no immediate danger.

Another over-the-top excellent visual example happened in 1999. While perched 18-feet up a white oak and wearing full Scent Lok (jacket, pants, headcover, gloves), I had three mature does and two fawns saunter in to feed on acorns. They came in from upwind and once near the tree the curious lead doe visually picked my body silhouette and made it known that something was out of place by stomping the ground and staring at me in the tree.

Immediately the other does became nervous and soon were also staring at me, trying to catch any slight movement. While staring me down and working their noses in overdrive mode, all three does cautiously made a wide circle around the tree to get downwind.

When directly downwind they moved about ever so slowly with necks stretched and noses straight up in the air trying to pick up any hint of human or foreign odor. After about ten minutes they gave up, wagged their tails as a sign everything was OK, and moved back under the tree with the fawns to feed.

They kept a close eye on me to the point that even if I wanted to take one, I doubt I’d have been able to move enough to get a shot, but as hard as they tried, they never winded me. I positively would have been busted in the past.

The October lull wind tests not only eliminated my doubts, they solidified my previous knowledge of the molecular adsorption capacity of activated carbon. There’s no question that activated carbon lined clothing works if cared for and stored properly and used in conjunction with clean knee high rubber or neoprene boots and an activated carbon lined or frequently washed in scent-free detergent pack.

Scent is something we can’t see, so it’s impossible to judge, however since implementing a proper scent-free regiment, over the past 17 seasons I’ve probably had several hundred visual confirmations of deer being directly downwind without any indication of me being there.
 

John Eberhart

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Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
Why activated carbon?

I was fortunate to already have some basic knowledge of what activated carbon was and how it functioned before purchasing a Scent Lok suit, but most hunters that don’t own one, definitely are not. So please allow me to shed some factual light on activated carbon technology.

To assume hunting personalities, myself included, and hunting related companies always tell the truth when endorsing or advertising product technologies is extremely naïve and scent elimination rhetoric gets the grand prize as the most deceptive. Because odor is something hunters can’t see or touch, it’s easy for manufacturers to baffle us with false rhetoric and the downside is there are no federal agencies policing their legitimacy.

Scientific technologies worth their weight were researched and developed by large industries, pharmaceutical companies, and worldwide governmental bodies. For example, the average cost for a pharmaceutical company to bring one new drug to market is about $2,000,000,000. R&D laboratories and scientists are expensive and hunting companies are way too small to afford either and therefore take advantage of existing technologies.

Technology information on hunting company websites is oftentimes relatively meaningless because they have a monetary reason to stretch the truth or flat-out falsify their information. To confirm to what extent a scent reducing or adsorption technology works, it can easily be done by Googling the technology or Googling Wikipedia and then the technology.

When Googled, here are a few of the hundreds of adsorption applications activated carbon is used for outside the hunting marketplace:
Gas purification, decaffeination, gold purification, metal extraction, drinking water purification, refrigerant gas adsorption, sewage treatment, every countries chemical warfare suits, by NASA in primary life support systems better known as space suits, gas masks, water softeners, paint respirators, filters in compressed air, volatile organic compound capture, dry cleaning processes, automobile filtration systems, gasoline dispensing operations, groundwater remediation, to adsorb radon for testing air quality, for oral ingestion in hospitals worldwide to treat overdose patients, in intensive care units to filter harmful drugs from the bloodstream of poisoned patients, to adsorb mercury emissions from coal power stations and medical incinerators, to filter vodka and whiskey of organic impurities, and being researched by the US Dept. of Energy to store natural and hydrogen gas.

In 2007, West-Flanders University in Belgium researched water treatment after festivals. An activated carbon installation was built at the Dranouter music festival in 2008, with plans to utilize the technology to treat water at this festival for 20 years.

During WW I thousands of soldiers and in 2013 thousands of civilians and fighters was killed in Syria by chemical warfare. Chemical warfare suits and gas masks worldwide use activated carbon technology to adsorb these dangerous and oftentimes fatal chemical molecules. When soldiers went into Bagdad during the Iraq war, they wore activated carbon lined chemical warfare suits for protection.

Activated carbon is used in EMT units and hospitals to treat poisonings and overdoses following oral ingestion. In cases of taking oral poison, medical personnel administer activated carbon on the scene or at a hospital's emergency room.

Activated carbon is used in Intensive Care to filter harmful drugs from the blood stream of poisoned patients. Activated carbon tablets are used as an over-the-counter-drug to treat diarrhea, indigestion, and flatulence.

Both American College and Webster’s dictionaries define the word ADSORB as: “to gather a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance, on a surface in a condensed layer, as when charcoal adsorbs or sucks in gases”.

Microscopic evaluations show that if all the surface areas of the primary, secondary, tertiary pores, and exterior surface of each particle of activated carbon were flattened and laid on a surface:

-A single gram of activated carbon particles has a surface area equal to 2.17 tennis courts.

-A tablespoon of activated coconut carbon particles has a surface area of over 3 ½ football fields.

-One pound of activated carbon particles (a small butter tub) has a surface area equal to that of approximately 100 acres (more than a half mile in length and a quarter mile in width).

The amount of adsorptive surface area of activated carbon is why it’s the most adsorptive substance known to man.

A few years ago Scent Lok was sued by several hunters for false advertising and in an independent lab at Rutgers University it was proven for a United States District Court that Scent Lok garments worked as advertised and was able to be re-generated, or what many incorrectly refer to as re-activated.

The next two paragraphs were taken from the Court’s stipulation dismissal ruling.

“Expert scientific testing found that, using highly elevated odor concentrations that were likely ten thousand fold greater than a human body could produce in the course of 24 hours, Scent Lok carbon lined clothing blocked or adsorbed 96 to 99 plus percent of odor compounds, and essentially 100% of surrogate body odor compounds”.

“Expert testing also found that after drying, or washing and drying, Scent Lok carbon fabrics continue to be highly effective at blocking odor permeation”.

Just as NASA, auto industry, U. S. Dept. of Energy, hospitals worldwide, and every Dept. of Defense in the world didn’t pull activated carbon out of a hat and say, hey let’s use this stuff, neither did Scent Lok when they applied for and received the U. S. patent to use it in hunting garments.

It’s very simple, if a hunting garment doesn’t have a Scent Lok hangtag, it doesn’t contain activated carbon. US patent law doesn’t allow it.
Activated carbon technology has been around since the 1800’s and to me its implementation by Scent Lok into hunting garments in the early 1990’s has been the most significant development to bowhunting since the compound bow.
 

John Eberhart

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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
Activated carbon technology

That activated carbon is the most widely used substance in the world for the adsorption of molecules of differing structures and sizes is a fact. And as mentioned in the previous post I know of no hunting companies that have research and development labs staffed by full-time scientists, they’re simply too expensive. Hunting companies simply piggybacked on technologies researched and developed by and for large worldwide industries and governmental bodies.

Also listed on the previous post were several of the hundreds if not thousands of industrial, governmental, pharmaceutical, military, and medical applications that activated carbon technology is used for. Many activated carbon technology applications also had to be approved by worldwide governmental policing agencies such as our FDA before they could be used for anything to do with human health.

So were not discussing activated carbon technology as though its functionality requires further endorsement rhetoric from our little hunting market. That activated carbon technology is the worldwide leader at molecular adsorption has been firmly established no matter what any hunting company that falsely advertises to the contrary may say.

There is however much confusion concerning what activated carbon is, what is the process to create it, exactly how porous is it, how and to what extent it adsorbs molecules, and how and to what extent it can be de-adsorbed for further hunting purposes?

-Activated carbon is produced from carbonaceous materials like nutshells, wood and coal.

-Differing carbonaceous materials have differing pore sizes and structures.

-The general activation process of carbonaceous materials involves heating them to 1450 degree Fahrenheit while under pressure.

Side note: Scent Lok chose activated carbon derived from coconut shells because its variations of pore structures and sizes are best suited for human odor molecules

-Concerning the porosity of activated carbon derived from coconut shells. If you took the exterior surface area and the surface areas of the primary, secondary, and tertiary pores from just one tablespoon of activated coconut shell carbon particles and laid the surfaces out flat and touching each other, it would cover 3 ½ football fields. This calculation is common knowledge in the scientific world and was originally performed using a scanning electron microscope.

-Through the heating procedure the surface area of activated carbon becomes charged, meaning it has electrons that readily interact with surrounding molecules in the immediate environment.

-There are literally hundreds of different volatile molecules that can emanate from the human body.

-As our odor molecules and other molecules in the immediate environment near the charged activated carbon particles in an activated carbon lined garment they are drawn into the carbon pores or onto their surface and held with a weak Van der Waals bond named after the man that discovered the process. This bond lightly holds the molecules and for hunting garment purposes, keeps them from passing through the garment and into the outside environment.

-Activated carbon adsorption of human odor molecules is a physical process, in that there is a weak bond with the carbon which allows for partial desorption under low temperatures.

-The commonly used term reactivation has been wrongly used in the hunting marketplace. Reactivation would require saturated activated carbon (like what the carbon in a used suit would have) to go through the 1450 degree activation heat process again while under pressure, which would bring the saturated carbon back to its original pristine (no bonded molecules) state. Obviously for fabric garments, that isn’t happening.

-For activated carbon lined garments, the terms partial regeneration or partial thermal de-adsorption are more accurate. To serve hunter’s needs 100% industrial reactivation is not required for continued use.

-When activated carbon clothing is heated at household dryer temperatures (120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit), the weakly bonded human odor molecules as well as the carbon become more energetic. The more rapid (energetic) movement of the carbon causes expansion or enlargement of its surfaces allowing a portion of the previously bonded and now more energetic odor molecules to break free of the light Van der Waals bond and eventually be sucked out the dryer vent.

The easiest way to describe how the heat/energy, expansion/enlargement processes work is with commonly known and seen visual examples. Concrete highways, expansion bridges, and tall steel structure buildings, to name a few examples, either have expansion joints or take molecular expansion into consideration during construction, otherwise on warm or sunny days molecular expansion would cause the concrete to buckle and the steel to bend, causing their eventual if not immediate destruction.

The low dryer heat/energy/expansion/enlargement process of both the carbon and bonded molecules is what causes partial de-adsorption. It’s partial because not all bonded molecules are removed and for continued hunting purposes, they don’t need to be.

The activated coconut carbon liner exclusively used in Scent Lok (patented) hunting garments becomes a filter that adsorbs human odor and other molecules from escaping beyond it. Like any filter, it will saturate to some extent, but can periodically be partially de-adsorbed to extend its purposeful life for hunting purposes.

It’s not an all-or-none situation! The question for hunting is whether enough de-adsorption has occurred to adsorb your human odor molecules during the next few hunts.
 

John Eberhart

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Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
Thermal de-adsorption or regeneration of Scent Lok branded Carbon Alloy® lined garments.

In the previous post; what is activated carbon, what the process to create it is, how it interacts with and adsorbs molecules, its porosity, and how it can be thermally de-adsorbed, was factually laid out and verified.

In an even earlier post it was shown that Scent Lok, through a United States patent, owns the exclusive rights to use activated carbon in hunting garments. No other manufacturer can use activated carbon in hunting garments without a licensing agreement approved by Scent Lok.

In 2012 Scent Lok added two other adsorptive ingredients into their activated carbon liner and trademarked the name Carbon Alloy® to symbolize all 3 ingredient technologies. Scent Lok did not reduce the amount of activated coconut carbon used, however added an additional 30% of treated carbon particles and 5% of zeolite to the activated carbon to create Carbon Alloy®.

My question was, why alter what already works to near perfection? After all, in an independent laboratory at Rutgers University, expert scientific testing found for a United States District Court, that Scent Lok carbon lined (activated carbon only) clothing fabrics blocked 96 to 99% of the odor compounds, and essentially 100% of the surrogate body odor compounds tested. And the testing was done using highly elevated test odor concentrations that were “likely ten thousand fold greater than a human body could produce in the course of 24 hours”.

So why add more adsorptive ingredients? To put it simply, Scent Lok wanted to close the adsorption gap even more than their already 96 to 99% plus adsorption rate!

There is literally hundreds of differing gaseous and liquid type molecules that can emanate from the human body and while activated coconut carbon is perfectly suited for adsorbing the vast majority of them, treated carbon and zeolite were added because they can adsorb some very specific sized molecules at a higher rate than activated carbon.

Treated carbon: Through a proprietary process activated carbon becomes treated carbon, greatly increasing the carbons surface properties. The capacity and kinetics of treated carbon is better suited for adsorbing oxidized chemicals like chlorine, chloramines and hydrogen sulfide than activated coconut carbon. Treated carbon therefore has a greater adsorptive capacity for hydrogen sulfide gas which is one of the primary gaseous molecules we exhale as bad breath odor.

Zeolite: Zeolites occur naturally and form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. Zeolites have very specific, narrow pore size ranges and are best suited for very small odor molecules and when used with a primary adsorbent like activated carbon, zeolite has benefits even though they are very limited due to their small pore size properties.

Zeolites should not be expected to provide any adsorption of human odor molecules larger than its pore sizes, which makes it a less that satisfactory performer when used as a stand-alone technology for adsorbing the many differing sizes of odor related molecules that emanate from the human body.

So there you have it, Scent Lok added treated carbon and zeolite to their already 96 to 99% rate of adsorption from their activated coconut carbon liner to create Carbon Alloy® for the sole purpose of adsorbing a bit larger spectrum of specific odor molecules to bring the adsorption rate of human related odor molecules closer to 100%.

For hunting purposes regeneration is not an all-or-none situation and the 3 adsorptive ingredients that make-up Carbon Alloy® have such huge surface areas that de-adsorption of only a tiny fraction of it is necessary to allow for further adsorption of human emitted molecules for several more hunts.

The ability of animals to smell is dependent on the concentration of the substance, and the distance the substance is from the animal. No matter the amount of odor, the farther it gets from the source, the more it diminishes by convection and diffusion into the environment.

I reside about a mile from a small plant that produces wood pellets and uses a wood burning furnace for the process. When the wind is from the northeast the residents residing within a quarter mile southwest of the plant complain about the odor emitting from the stack. I reside about a mile southwest of the plant and never smell it because by the time it gets to me the odor has diminished by diffusion into a larger area of the environment to levels my neighbors and I can’t detect.

Alarming deer with human odor is similar in that it is a threshold event. Other than my annual one-week Midwestern out of state hunt, all of my hunting is done in heavy consequential hunting pressure areas. In every square mile section (640 acres) it’s very rare not to have at least 20 to 40, two to ten acre homesteads and a couple small 40 to 80 acre farms interspersed throughout. In these areas there is some form of diffused human odor floating around 100% of the time and the local whitetails have no option but to accept trace amounts of human odor without being alarmed, if not, they would never move.

In the “Reality of hunting pressure” and “Bowhunting statistics” posts several weeks ago, the differing factors that dictate what threshold level of human presence and or odor is tolerable before a whitetail is alarmed was factually laid out leaving no doubt that a tolerable amount of human odor for daytime movements in one area, may differ greatly from that of another area.

No matter the area, when wearing a complete and properly cared for Scent Lok Carbon Alloy® suit, the 1 to 3% of body odor that may pass through would rapidly diffuse into the environment to the point of non-detection or an alarming level to a whitetail.

The next post will be on the process to properly thermally de-adsorb Carbon Alloy® lined Scent Lok garments as well as care and storage instructions after regeneration.
 

John Eberhart

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Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
700
Thermal de-adsorption, care and storage of Carbon Alloy® lined garments

The bond of human emitted molecules to activated coconut carbon, treated carbon and zeolites (3 substances making up Scent Lok’s Carbon Alloy® liner) is a weak bond that permits thermal de-adsorption using low temperatures. A clean household or commercial dryer is recommended for the thermal de-adsorption of Carbon Alloy® lined garments to free-up pore and exterior surface space for further adsorption and use.

General Electric and most other brand name manufacturers of household dryers use these standardized dryer cycle temperatures:

Low Heat setting (delicate/gentle) – 125 degrees Fahrenheit

Medium Heat setting (permanent press) – 135 degrees Fahrenheit

High Heat setting (normal/cottons) – 140 degrees Fahrenheit

Commercial and professional grade dryers that are used in large households, uniform cleaning services, and laundromats reach temperatures as high as 175 degrees Fahrenheit on the high heat setting.

The amount of time a Carbon Alloy® lined garment is in a dryer along with the temperature of the cycle directly influence to what extent the garment is de-adsorbed.

The higher the dryer temperature the more energetic the carbon and adsorbed molecules become and the faster the molecules come off and the carbon is de-adsorbed. The lower the dryer temperature the less energetic, resulting in requiring additional dryer time for a similar de-adsorption result.

Example: Suppose you have a pan of water and it takes 2 hours of boiling to completely evaporate it. If you took that same pan of water and left it at room temperature, it would still evaporate, but would take much longer. If the pan of water were put on simmer, it would take less time to evaporate than at room temperature, but longer than if boiling. The exact same temperature and time effects that drive the evaporation rate of the water also drive the release of molecules, or de-adsorption rate from the carbon.

Simply put, the higher the dryer temperature, the faster and more efficient the release of molecules from the Carbon Alloy® liner. And keep in mind that activated coconut carbon, treated carbon, and zeolites (Carbon Alloy®) can’t differentiate whether you’re hunting or not and when exposed in the environment they are always adsorbing molecules of whatever is in the immediate area.

De-adsorption process, care instructions, and what to use in conjunction with your Carbon Alloy® suit to maximize your scent free regiment.
1. Because Scent Lok Carbon Alloy® lined garments are exposed in store environments prior to being sold, they have adsorbed molecules from the store environment and require thermal de-adsorption and proper storage prior to being used in the field.

2. Thermal de-adsorption is achieved by placing garments in a clean household or commercial dryer for 30 to 40 minutes on the highest heat setting available. Heat causes the carbon and weakly bonded molecules to energize and expand, resulting in a portion of the molecules to break free causing de-adsorption.

3. Once the dryer cycle stops remove the garments and put them in an air-tight storage container such as a tied off clean garbage bag, air-tight carbon lined bag, commercial air-tight bag, or my preference, a Scent Tote. Those $5 to $10 Rubbermaid and Sterlite tubs found at mass merchant stores are not air-tight. Never put scent wafers, pine boughs, scents of any kind, other garments, or anything other than Carbon Alloy® garments in the container as doing so will prematurely load the carbon with odor molecules from whatever you placed in the container requiring more frequent de-adsorption cycles as well as shortening the garments saturation life expectancy.

4. The thermal de-adsorption process (step 2) of a Carbon Alloy® suit should be repeated every 4 to 6 hunts. The term “Carbon Alloy® suit” refers to an exterior jacket, pants, head cover with drop down facemask (covering your mouth, face, beard, neck, and all your hair), and gloves. Any missing part of the suit will compromise your scent control regiment.

5. Unless in the field pre-or in-season scouting or hunting all Carbon Alloy® garments should always be stored in an air-tight container so as not to contaminate them. Do not wear Carbon Alloy® garments in the house, vehicle, getting gas, around the campfire, in restaurants, etc., just during pre-and in-season scouting and when hunting. When finished scouting or hunting all Carbon Alloy® garments immediately go back into their air-tight container prior to getting back into vehicle or entering the house.

6. Washing Carbon Alloy® garments is not done for thermal de-adsorption and is not recommended as a standard practice. Carbon Alloy® garments can be washed periodically if they have physical dirt or blood on them (once or twice per season). Wash on gentle cycle using a small amount of Scent Lok’s carbon detergent, put garments in dryer on air-only cycle and once dry, refer to step 2 for thermal de-adsorption.

7. It’s advised to wash all non-Carbon Alloy® undergarments and layering garments in a scent-free detergent and store them in a similar air-tight manner as your Carbon Alloy® garments, but is separate air-tight containers. This is only a preventative recommendation that adds longevity to your exterior Carbon Alloy® garments.

8. If you use a pack frequently wash it in scent-free detergent, reload it and keep your loaded pack in its own air-tight container when not in use. Hunters typically reload or reorganize their packs using bare hands before and or after each hunt, yet never wash their packs. Having a contaminated pack is like having a large human scent wick with you at all times and will compromise a scent-free regiment. My preference is a Carbon Alloy® lined backpack that can be de-adsorbed like the garments.

9. It is imperative to wear clean knee high rubber or neoprene boots and drape your pant legs outside them instead of tucking them in. Every time you take a step air is displaced out the throat of your boot and the carbon in the pant legs will adsorb the odor.

10. It is advised, but not mandatory, to shower and shampoo with scent-free soap and apply scent free anti-perspirant prior to hunting. If you get off work, stink and don’t have time to shower, the Carbon Alloy® suit will do its job and adsorb your odors. Showering simply decreases the amount of strong odor molecules the Carbon Alloy® has to adsorb, lessening the length between de-adsorptions.

*Important: If you wear face paint to look cool like many of the TV and video personalities do, wear a non- Carbon Alloy® lined logo cap to promote a sponsor like many of the TV and video personalities do, don’t keep your pack scent-free, don’t wear clean rubber or neoprene boots, don’t use carbon lined gloves when ascending trees, and you get winded, blame it on yourself, not the Carbon Alloy® lined suit.

I can’t quite grasp why so many TV, video, and hunting media personalities endorse, preach, and advertise “scent control”, yet when filming hunts, they hunt the wind. The definition for scent is “odor” and for control is “to have power over”, so if they have power over their odor, why play the wind?

Some common TV and video visuals are; wearing logo ball caps with exposed hair hanging out the back, having exposed beards and neck, having exposed faces covered in face paint, spritzing with sprays as a total scent control regiment, and wearing breathable Cordura or leather boots both of which allow foot odor to pass through due to their permeability. Any one of these lapses throws a serious scent control regiment totally
out the window.

TV and video hunters can get away with these lapses because most of them hunt in managed areas where bucks are allowed to pass by hunters without consequence until they reach a specific antler or age kill criteria. In areas where bucks encounter hunters while growing up yet don’t get targeted until maturity they naturally have a higher tolerance of human odor before being alarmed and spooking. Their vulnerable daytime movement habits while growing to maturity also remain somewhat intact, making them very vulnerable and relatively easy to kill.

More than likely most hunters reading this post are somewhat on the same page as me and don’t have the luxury of hunting such pristine areas. You have to pay attention to detail and work hard for what you kill and I guarantee that if you follow a serious scent control regiment that your odds of seeing more mature deer and taking them will go up tremendously.
 

John Eberhart

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What’s in your vehicle?

Just as being detail oriented when scouting, preparing locations, and laying out seasonal and daily hunting plans is critical to success in hchp areas, so is it when preparing to go into the field hunting.

For hunters like myself that have to travel somewhere to hunt, I’ve put together a list of what I keep packed in my vehicle during season.
While trucks look cool, I’ve always been on the side of using what’s most effective for the chore at hand and for that reason my hunting vehicle of choice is a Toyota mini-van. Yes, I’ve heard the soccer-mom mini-van thing many times and just as I don’t care about the cosmetics of my fleece pants having stick-tights on them, neither do I care about the cosmetics of driving a soccer-mom mini-van.

The first thing I do when I get a new mini-van is take out all the rear seats making it into a mini-hotel room. I slide between the front seats into the back and no-matter the weather outside, stay warm and dry while taking my time changing into my hunting clothing and you can’t do that with a truck.

My list is rather extensive as I hate to need something and not have it.

While I use air-tight hard ScenTotes ($79.99) for storage of all my differing garments and gear, as well as to sit on while changing in the van, they are expensive and any air-tight containers or bags will work.

Each of my 4 ScenTotes is labeled and loaded with the following:

ScenTote #1 is labeled: Scent Lok garments - and contains my properly cared for Scent Lok suits for different weather conditions. While it’s not necessary, as an added precaution I keep each suit within the Tote in its own air-tight bag.

A pair each of Scent Lok’s lightweight and heavyweight BaseLayers are also in Tote #1 and each is in a sealed 1 ½ quart Zip-Lok bag. No matter the brand, performance base garments are expensive and Scent Lok’s BaseLayer’s, with their Carbon Alloy® liner and anti-microbial treatment not only give added molecular adsorption protection, they add longevity to the exterior Scent Lok suits adsorptive lifespan. Nothing other than carbon lined garments are put into Tote #1.

ScenTote #2 is labeled: Backpack and Scent Lok accessories - and contains a single air-tight bag loaded with my extra Scent Lok head covers, beanies, gloves, washed in scent-free detergent hand warmer muff and military belts, and an extra Scent Lok backpack for swapping out if I feel the one I’ve been using needs regenerated.

Tote #2 also contains my ready-to-hunt loaded Scent Lok backpack which contains the following items: an inhale and an exhale grunt call, rattle bag, doe bleat call, folding saw, water bottle. pee bottle, tissue, 35 foot rope, a dim single AAA battery flashlight for entries and exits, a three AA battery flashlight for trailing, extra batteries, extra key to vehicle, knife, laser rangefinder, 8X32 binoculars, gutting gloves (don’t laugh until you’ve tried them), compass, reflective tacks for marking recovered deer so easily found on return trip to get it out after dark, gallon Zip Lok to put sweaty bottom layers in after long entries if needed, Grabber hand (2) and adhesive body warmers (4) all of which have been opened and sealed in a quart Zip-Lok freezer bag (bags they come in are too noisy to open on stand), wrist watch strapped to D-ring on outside of pack for easy time recognition, whatever layer garments I need for the next hunt and my hybrid sling/saddle hunting harness.

In a small fanny-pack kept within the backpack are 5 screw-in bow holders, screw-in quiver adaptor, antihistamine pills (for when I’m stuffed up), cough drops in a Zip-Lok bag, 2 release aids, armguard, Spando-flage facemask, Scent Lok head cover and gloves.

ScenTote #3 is labeled: Undergarments – and contains light to heavily insulated undergarments such as army surplus wool sweaters, merino wool undergarments, fleece vests, heavy Refrigiwear insulated layering garments, and lightweight Rivers West windproof jackets used as my underlayer just beneath my Full Season jacket during moderate temperatures.

ScenTote #4 is labeled Waterproof garments - and contains three Rivers West suits for differing rainy weather conditions. I use the Pioneer ($150 per suit) suit for 50 degrees and above, the Frontier ($200 per suit) for 30 to 50 degrees, and the Ambush ($350 per suit) for severe weather. I’m quite sure that Scent Lok’s new Covert windproof suit will be replacing my Rivers West Ambush for severe weather conditions from minus whatever degrees up to 30 degrees as it would be snowing, not raining

Tub #5 is a shallow plastic tub loaded with differing weights of socks, underwear, and T-shirts to wear as bottom layers on long walks in during warm weather that will be replaced once on stand.

Every garment in tubs 3, 4, and 5 has been washed in scent-free detergent and once used, is not put back into its tub. If I’m going to wear the garment again, it will go in an air-tight bag and be kept outside the Tote. Most frequently they get re-washed in scent-free detergent and put back in their appropriate Tote.

Used Scent Lok and BaseLayer suits are put back in their air-tight bags and back into their labeled ScenTote. Once a suit has been used on 4 hunts or I feel it needs regenerated sooner due to sweating a lot, it will be regenerated.

Other items in Van: A homemade ramp, an Otter sled sitting on top of it, and a Versa Cart is upside down within the sled. These items are used for getting deer out of the field and into the van.

There are always at least 6 pairs of clean rubber or neoprene boots for differing weather conditions and they are scattered within the sled along with a 50 foot 4 pulley block & tackle, a loaded freelance pack, a small tub loaded with extra hand and adhesive body warmers, a small plastic tub loaded with miscellaneous extra junk, Slim-Fast used as a quick breakfast, and a Rivers West weather beater ultra-light packable rain suit for recovering deer in the rain.

My extra bow (set-up identical to main bow) is against a side panel and my cased bow and quiver lies on a 3 foot by 3 foot rubber matt on the floor just behind the front seats. That matt is also what I change on.

To date I can’t think of a time when I needed something I didn’t have other than help getting a deer out.
 

John Eberhart

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Scent Lok garments of choice

Scent Lok requested a post regarding their garments and accessories I use throughout the season. As a pro-staffer I have the advantage of accessing their complete line-up of garments, however, I still gravitate to the same styles I used to purchase at full retail.

Other than Scent Lok’s socks and knit beanies (due to their stretch), all Scent Lok branded garments and accessories have the same Carbon Alloy® liner in them and that includes BaseSlayer undergarments. So no matter the garment, you’re getting the same coverage of Carbon Alloy®.
BaseSlayer undergarments are also treated with an anti-microbial to aid in killing bacteria and are to be worn as bottom layers against the skin so the garment comes in contact with the bacteria. Killing bacteria keeps it from multiplying as rapidly and therefore aids in lowering odor related to bacteria. Anti-microbial only garments (made by any mfg.) do nothing in adsorbing the hundreds of other odor molecules emitted from the human body or the odor molecules from the bacteria it kills. That’s what the Carbon Alloy® liner in BaseSlayers does.

For 2015 there’s a new Scent Lok logo and most garment series have new sub-names.

Savanna series (Crosshair $100 per piece and Quickstrike coverall $200) is their lightest weight garments and were originally designed for southern warm weather climates. When temps are over 60 degrees I wear Savanna garments. If walking long distances through open terrain, I’ll wear a Savanna coverall and tie the arm sleeves around my waist and when I get to where I have to enter the woods and contact brush, I’ll untie them and put them on so as not to leave odor on anything I may brush against. Savanna head-cover ($30) and gloves ($30) are used during same weather conditions.

Full Season mid-weight series has been around for years and if I could only own one suit, it would be Full Season Velocity ($150 per piece). This suit has a micro-tricot exterior and a micro-fleece interior and is for temperatures between 30 and 60 degrees. During the colder spectrum I have undergarments in my pack that are put on once on stand and my body has cooled down. Full Season head-cover ($35) and gloves ($40) are used during same weather conditions.

A few years ago after many years of me requesting it, Scent Lok came out with a windproof fleece suit called Rampage and for cold inclement weather conditions, it was fantastic. While I requested a moderately priced suit, they added several unneeded features escalating the retail up to $200 per piece, putting it out of reach for many hunters.

Last year Scent Lok came out with a more affordable Vortex fleece windproof suit ($150 top and $140 bottom) and because I prefer basic styling with no unneeded bells and whistles, I prefer it over the Rampage which is no longer available. Vortex garments have deep napped fleece exteriors and interiors and polyurethane windproof membranes and I wear Vortex when temperatures are below freezing. During extremely windy days when temps are 30 to 50 degrees I’ll wear Vortex instead of my permeable Full Season suit because it blocks the wind.

For 2015 Scent Lok added a Covert Deluxe fleece windproof suit ($200 per piece) and it has a deeper napped exterior and interior than the Vortex and has more pocket features. The Covert uses the same polyurethane windproof membrane, but due to its depth of fleece is a warmer suit than the Vortex and one I will try.

Depending on the temperature, a Full Season or Radar ($40) fleece head-cover is used and oftentimes a Scent Lok beanie ($20) will be worn over a Full Season head-cover. Scent Lok’s Savanna, Full Season and Radar head covers each have drop down face masks that cover everything on your head and neck except your eyes. I pull down the front of the facemask to below my chin prior to a shot so the fabric doesn’t impede my anchor or release.

I would never wear a Scent Lok beanie or Carbon Alloy® lined ball cap as stand-alone head-covers because they leave my face and neck exposed and that’s unacceptable for a scent-free regiment.

During cold weather I wear Full Season gloves and will use a washed in scent-free detergent hand-warmer muff for extremely cold conditions.
The generous cut on all Scent Lok’s jackets and pants leaves ample room for a couple under-layer garments. I purchase medium when buying casual shirts and wear medium Scent Lok exterior garments.

The deeper the exterior of any garment, the more it will pick-up burrs and stick-tights. Savanna exteriors are sheer and have few burr/stick-tight issues. Full Season’s micro-fleece exterior will pick up burrs and stick-tights but because the nap is short, they can easily be brushed off using the back side of a folding saw blade.

The Vortex and the Covert have deep napped fleece exteriors and they like burrs and stick-tights and will require time to remove them. Before using Scent Lok I wore Browning Hydro-fleece (extremely deep napped) for bitter-cold weather and cotton/chamois (medium-napped) for warm weather and to date I’ve never had a deer spook or deviate their routine because I had burrs and stick-tights on my garments. They hamper a suit’s cosmetics but do not in any way affect the killing end of a hunt.

Packs can be a huge scent regiment issue. Most hunters get into their packs before and or after each hunt to reload or re-organize and likely 95% of the time, do it with bare hands. I would also dare say that well over 95% off all hunters using Scent Lok garments use non-technology packs.
If a hunter does everything perfectly correct concerning care, storage and proper wear of Scent Lok garments and wears clean rubber or neoprene boots, yet takes a human odor scent wick in the form of a contaminated backpack, their entire scent control regiment has been immediately compromised. Of course when they get winded, Scent Lok will take the hit where blame is concerned because packs are not typically considered where odor is concerned.
 

d_rek

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rr79 said:
I may have missed it but anyone know how long a scentlok suit will last?
I believe the active shelf life including field use, if cared for properly, is 7-8 years? I can't remember where I gleaned that from though. Maybe someone else can confirm.
 

d_rek

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John,

I have some specific questions for a scent routine. I am already practicing many of the same steps you are, but have a few areas that are of concern to me personally:

1) Release Aids for compound bow - I am fearful of laundering my wrist-strap index trigger release aid in the sulfide rich well water that chews through softer metals. I have since purchased a dedicated hunting release aid so that I have 1 that I keep with my archery gear to practice with and 1 that never leaves my hunting pack. However I am wondering what is the best way to launder and care for wrist-strap release aids for scent control. I have heard of individuals using carbon and/or zeolite powders and rubbing it into the strap or storing in a container with the powder. I'm just not sure I want to submerse my release aid in any liquids. This may be an irrational fear but I did have a release aid get a sticky trigger because of oxidation (rust) and i'm almost positive it helped me make a poor shot on a deer last season. I have been practicing with a thumb trigger handheld release that is all metal (no cloth) and while shooting well I am not shooting well enough to take this device afield.

What is your recommended method for storing and laundering release aids?

2) Boot scent control regimen - Currently I am wearing neoprene upper / molded rubber bottoms lacrosse boots. I usually have to hike several hundred yards through AG fields and across ditches that may or may not have standing water. I wear my boots with my scentlok garments draped over the top of them, but am wondering to what degree I need to be concerned about the portion that is not covered. I have historically used sprays on the boots, and have wiped them down with field wipes, and (rarely) washed them outdoors with scent-free detergent and a scrub brush.

I am admittedly a very sweaty foot guy and there is nothing that has prevented me from sweating and ending up with soaked feet. The best solution I have come up with is merino wool and activated-carbon fabric aside is basically a miracle fabric for my feet. After a hunt I typically do not store my boots inside of a container or tote. I usually let them air out or will occasionally run a boot dryer. Unfortunately running a boot dryer after every hunt is not a luxury I am afforded at the moment (maybe next season).

I am wondering to what degree i need to be worrying about my boots. I have heard of guys storing them in totes but that doesn't make any sense to me especially if they are wet both inside and out. I will use a dead down wind boot powder after I let them dry and that does seem to mitigate funky foot smells quite well.

What would you recommend here? It sounds like you leave your boots out in the open in your vehicle. Is that correct?

Thanks,
d_rek
 

John Eberhart

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Derek

First off you're correct on the 7 to 8 year life span before compromising any scent issues. That's if the hunter hunts every weekend of season and cares for the suit properly of course. Then the suit can be used for any pre-season or in-season scouting, searching for wounded deer, or preparing of locations prior to or during season.

Concerning boots I just keep them in the back of my van in the Otter sled and I've never had an issue and have deer cross my path all the time and even walk down the same path I entered on. I use Muck boots a lot as they are so lightweight but for severe cold I wear Baffin Titans, they are the best pack boot made.

I actually shoot fingers so I use a calf hide tab but for my watch and grip on bow I use either Tink B-Tech or Dead Downwinds scent eliminating sprays. I never use the sprays for anything else though. Clothing never gets sprayed.
 

Stykbow1

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John great information and thanks for sharing! I have been using ScentLok Savana coveralls for about 8 years now and try to do my best to keep them clean and scent free right out of the dryer and into my Scentlok bag until I get to my hunting location. Last year I got caught in a downpour while bowhunting the early season in NJ and put my Savana coveralls back in the scent free bag and left them in my truck. We had extremely hot weather and when I pulled the suit out it was covered in mold I washed it repeatedly but you can still see the mold spots will this degrade the suits ability to adsorb odor and can I wash it in a product like MiraZyme that is supposed to kill mold? Also my scent regimen includes washing every day with scent free products by Dead Down Wind and using their deodorant from the beginning of the season in September to the end in February have there been any studies showing if this significantly helps or improves a carbon product in reducing odor? Thanks again for all your research and setting the record straight and looking forward to more of your articles.

Thanks,

Roger
 

bioguy

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Aug 26, 2015
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John Eberhart said:
You can fool a deer’s nose and I do it dozens of times each season.
So here's my question...how do you know you are beating the deer's nose? I say this because all I do is play the wind...no sprays, no scent-lok...nothing, and I have deer get in close all the time, and sometimes the wind is blowing directly at them. Just so you know where I'm coming from, I have captured >700 deer for research purposes. I have probably darted more deer than most hunters will shoot in a lifetime, and if you have never darted deer, the range of the dart gun is about 20 yards max. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time in tree stands with deer at archery distances observing what they do when they catch my wind, and what they do when I think they should be catching my wind but don't. In fact, just last week I had deer come in from directly down wind of me. They didn't bust. They fed at 10 yards behind my stand and passed through the area as calm as could be. I don't know why they didn't wind me because the wind was blowing directly at them, but they certainly did not act like they caught my wind. Had I been wearing the sprays and the clothing, I probably would have given those items credit, but I wasn't, so it had to have been pure luck, or they smelled me an just didn't care...or perhaps my wind may have been blowing in their general direction, but not reaching their noses down at ground level. Regardless of the reason, this happens often, and I can't help but think that people who wear all that stuff give the sprays and clothing too much credit.

In a scientific study where researchers tested the effectiveness of a scent-lok full body suit there was no significant difference in the amount of time it took a search dog to find a subjects wearing a scent-lok suit versus the controls (http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784224?seq ... b_contents). On myth busters, they tried to beat a blood hound's nose using a wide variety of techniques including the sprays and clothing hunters wear (including rubber boots)...they failed miserably. Drug sniffing dogs can detect drugs wrapped in layers of hunting clothing no problem. If a fellow hunter farts in camp while wearing scent-lok clothing, does it not stink? That alone should give reason to be skeptical. Unfortunately, none of the sprays or clothing have been tested against a deer's nose in a controlled setting. However, a deer's nose, has about 100 million more scent receptors than a dog.

I'm not here to discredit you, these are just the facts. I can't argue with success, and you certainly have the trophies on the wall to prove your success, but you also have a few things all successful deer hunters have regardless of their gear...you have passion, patience, a strong work ethic, above average knowledge of deer, and some pieces of ground to hunt that have big deer (can't kill 'em if they're ain't any there...right?). I think those things alone contribute to your success and will continue to do so throughout your life regardless of whatever clothing or sprays you choose to use, but that's just my opinion. As for me, I'll continue to be skeptical until these products start beating a dog's nose...or at least until my I can't smell my uncle's farts in deer camp :) .
 

drew13

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With all due respect to John E. (And I do respect him very much due to what he is able to do and how he does it) - I have to agree with bioguy in asking how you know scentlok is why you have fooled deer's noses. In particular, hunting as high as John does (30 feet up) has a profound effect on where your scent goes. I know many of us have heard of and use milkweed seeds to be able to see the true effects of wind and thermals - I myself have watched a six point buck recently get downwind of me and thought he'd wind be but he never did. I checked the wind with milkweed immediately after and it showed that the wind was blowing right toward where he had been but the thermals pulled that milkweed seed (and my scent!) right up over him. The higher up you are sitting, the more likely your scent is to go right over the top.




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BassBoysLLP

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I believe in activated carbon clothing. I've repeatedly demonstrated it with thistle, milkweed, etc. It isn't fool proof, but the clothing provides a reduction and I have a lot less strong busts. I've demonstrated the reduction personally in a lab setting and have even developed my own suit. I work with activated carbon regularly on the job (as an engineer).

There is a threshold at which whitetails find human odor alarming. They have the ability to smell to non-alarming levels. Activated carbon pushes you closer to those levels. Hunting high and the dispersion it provides helps a lot. This dispersion can be modeled.

I went no scent control for a while after practicing for a long time. I'm never going back to no scent control. It simply works.
 
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