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A Different Approach to Scent Control
Posted By Bill Winke at 8/29/2012 12:00:00 AM
Filed under: journal

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I shot the G5 Buck last season while testing the latest version of Scent Containment
suit from Cabela's.  I started to develop this concept way back in 2001.
In this blog, I want to give you the background and the facts behind the new Scent Seal suit that I helped Cabela's develop.  You can click this link to find it in their catalog right now.  I believe they have already sold out all the accessories for this suit (gloves and hat) so things must be moving pretty well.  They didn't order a bunch of them so if you are serious about buying one of the suits, I wouldn't wait around too long. 

The concept of scent containment is unique from scent absorption or scent neutralizationIt is much simpler.  Think in terms of encasing your entire body in a scent-proof bag.  Done right, it really doesn't matter what you smell like inside.  As long as the bag itself doesn't smell and it is sealed up well, very little odor will reach the game you are hunting.  Sure, the better you control your body odor and the odors in your underlayers, the better everything works, but in theory, what is inside the bag is less important than the integrity of the bag itself.  

DEVELOPING THE CONCEPT OF SCENT CONTAINMENT

I started exploring this concept back in 2001.  I had a couple of spots on the property I was hunting where the wind always swirled, but it seemed that every big deer on the property always ended up in those spots.  I was itching to hunt there but didn't want to educate the deer.   At about the same time, my friends and I were experimenting with scent-proof ground blinds.  By covering the windows with plastic wrap and digging in the bottoms of the blinds we could make them so scent-tight that deer didn't smell us downwind.  I started using these scent-proof blinds when hunting those two magical spots in the woods.  But unfortunately, blinds have significant drawbacks when hunting in the timber, greatest of which is poor visibility.  The deer are on you before you can react

During the next off-season I got to thinking how nice it would be if I could just shrink the ground blind down to the size of my body and wear it in my tree stands.  In other words, how could I create a scent-proof bag that I could wear while hunting?  I was a creative rascal back then, or maybe I was just very inspired, because my solution was both extreme and very effective.  Going into the 2002 season, I bought a set of Cabela's Three Forks PVC waders and a PVC rain jacket.  I tucked the jacket into the waders and duct-taped the seam to keep any scent from getting out.  I then pulled the hood up, tightened the draw cords until the hood was snug to my face and then taped the neck opening thoroughly to prevent scent from getting out that opening.  Finally, I wore latex gloves and duct-taped them to the sleeves of my rain jacket.  It was far from comfortable, but very effective.

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I killed this buck in 2003 while testing the
very first ever prototype of the Scent
Containment suit.
 
I went through the entire 2002 season dressed like that.  I kid you not!  Though it was goofy looking, my success with that rig was amazing.  I beat almost all of the deer almost all of the time.  I swear to you, very few deer smelled me (I can only remember two) and when they did it was almost a curiosity response, like they picked up something way off in the distance and walked my way curiously to see what it was.  That curiosity response cost both of those does their lives!  I proved without a doubt (at least to myself) that scent containment could be done and that with the right care you could beat the deer. 

Fired up by my success, I set out to patent the concept and find a way to put it on the market.  That road eventually led me to Ev Tarrell, head of the clothing department at Cabela's.  Ev grasped the concept right away and we set out to develop something that people might actually wear comfortably based on what I had learned during the 2002 season. 

I spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours researching scent molecules and the characteristics of various membranes.  I also spent tens of thousands of dollars on the patent application!  I learned two things: patents are very, very expensive and scent molecules are large enough that with the right micro-pore structure, a membrane can be constructed to filter them out while still letting some water vapor molecules slip through.  While not super breatheable, it was possible to construct a barrier that was somewhat breaheable while still containing odors

I hunted in the first prototype during the 2003 season with good effectiveness and the suit hit the catalogs in 2004, right about the same time that Ev took a promotion and left the clothing department.  His replacement wasn't a bowhunter and didn't care a thing about the scent containment suit and it died a painful death over the next two seasons.  But before it disappeared, I picked up two more (that I actually had to purchase) that I have been wearing ever since.  So if you look back over all the many episodes of Midwest Whitetail you will see me wearing a camo coverall every time I am in a tree.  That is the suit Cabela's had in the catalog back in 2004.  I actually turned down clothing sponsors because I didn't want to have to stop wearing that suit!

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The Super Seal Scent
Containment Suit from
Cabela's
When Ev returned to the clothing department at Cabela's two years ago, we began talking about another version of the suit.  Not surprisingly, I was a bit gun shy after my first experience, but we eventually got the ball rolling and this fall marks the re-release of the Scent Containment Suit. 

I uesd a prototype of the suit last season when I shot the G5 Buck.  In fact, it was my first hunt in the new suit - so we got off to a fast start.  When the very first buck killed in the new suit is a 190, that sets the bar pretty high! 

THE KEY TO MAKING THE SUIT WORK

The key to scent containment is to keep the suit as clean as you possibly can.  I would never touch it with your bare hand.  Hang it out between hunts whenever possible.  Wash it in something that rinses very clean, like Atsko's Sport Wash and always line dry it.  Never wear the suit in your vehicle or anywhere near offensive odors.  I know this probably runs counter to what you have been trained to believe, but I am convinced that once a garment is contaminated, it is really hard to ever get it perfectly clean again.  So, as long as the suit is clean, it will be effective.  Be extremely careful to keep it that way for as long as possible

If you are interested in learning more about the Super Seal Scent Containment Suit from Cabela's, you can look at it, or purchase it, here