Don’t Overlook Hunter Hygiene

One of the worst attributes of being a human hunter is that we stink. We emit odors through our pores, mouths, and various other orifices, and this makes us highly detectable to the animals that we pursue, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With a few simple techniques, you can eliminate most of your odor without spending a fortune on scent control clothing and products.

Nature can be a cruel place and having enough water available to bathe is not always an option. If you are lucky, you can have a portable shower available, but that is simply not feasible on most hunts. Whether you are doing day hunts or week-long back country excursions, keeping your odor to a minimum will make you a better hunter and a better hunting companion.  Understanding what makes us smell can mostly be summed up in one simple word, bacteria. Bacteria causes odor and moisture feeds bacteria.

Hot moist environments are bacteria’s best friend, so if you can eliminate moisture getting trapped in various hot-pockets on your body, you can prolong scaring away animals and humans. Even wearing deodorant only goes so far. You will have to invest in some specialty clothing.

Your body’s hot spots will have to breathe no matter what and Smart Wool and Merino wool brands will not hold on to odors, and they wash and dry easily in the field. Wool will let air get to your skin, and help retard that growing bacteria.  There are many other breathable synthetics on the market, so do your research and try to find fabrics that can breathe and insulate.

Other ‘home remedies’ to help keep odors down include, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, medicated body powder, and baking soda. The cheapest of these is baking soda, which is a proven pH (acid) neutralizer. You can use it as straight powder in your pits or you can use it to sanitize your mouth by swishing or using it as tooth paste.

Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol can be applied to a small rag and you can wipe down with them. Hydrogen peroxide is a little more effective than alcohol because it actually oxygenates the anaerobic bacteria that causes stink, while alcohol essentially removes it temporarily.

Anti-bacterial hand wipes are also a good source of maintaining field hygiene. Not only can they keep you clean, but they can double as bathroom wipes and napkins if needed. Nobody likes to stink and you don’t have to.