John's Journal...


Controlling Body Odor, and Overdressing

EDITOR'S NOTE: Good bowhunters can become better bowhunters if they don't commit 10-deadly sins that decrease their odds for bagging any deer and especially trophy deer. Here's 10 of the most-common mistakes that even good bowhunters – sportsmen who have taken several deer with their bows and who have hunted for four or five years - make that I've identified by hunting with through the years.

Controlling Body Odor:

Notice that I didn't say you need to eliminate odor. Dead folks are the only people who don't have body odor. However, the hunter can control how much odor he emits. I don't think that most hunters pay enough attention to body-odor control, which begins with taking a shower each day with odor-eliminating soap. Besides keeping the body clean, every effort should be made to have clean clothes. In my opinion, clean clothes don't solely mean keeping the clothes dirt-free but more importantly odor-free. If you store your hunting clothes in your house, the clothes you hunt in will pick up smells of deodorizers, food cooking, and pets. So I recommend storing your clothes that Click to enlargeyou'll wear hunting in plastic bags in the vehicle you'll use. Then put your clothes on just before you hunt. Be sure not to store clothes in your hunting club, because the night before a hunt there probably will be wood smoke from the fireplace as well as tobacco smoke and food smells from breakfast cooking. Having those odors in your clothes can alarm the deer you're hoping to take. And one of the worse things you can do if you come in from hunting with wet clothes is to hang those clothes in front of an open fireplace to dry out and then plan to hunt in those same clothes that afternoon. Your hunting clothes may be dry, but they're also full of every odor in the lodge. I'm convinced that deer can detect those odors.

Now I like a dog as much as anybody, but when I get ready to go hunting and put on my clothes, I don't want the dog rubbing up against me. I don't want to pet him, and I don't want him around me, because I know deer don't like dogs. And if I smell like dog, deer won't want to some around where I'm hunting. Too, be sure to leave your boots in your hunting vehicle too, and don't carry them into the house. Hunting clothes are designed to wear in the woods while a sportsman is hunting. Wear other clothes in a house or hunting lodge.

Click to enlargeOverdressing:

The hunter has two problems with body odor and body heat as they relate to hunting. He must wear enough clothes to stay warm as he walks to his tree stand. But if he wears too many clothes and perspires while he's walking, then the clothes he's used to keep himself warm have caused him to sweat. The evaporation of moisture from the seat actually makes him cold. As the hunter walks to his stand in his warm clothes, he's like a radiator, giving off human odor in all directions along the path he walks. Too, many hunters overdress when walking to their stands. When I'm hunting in cold weather, I wear insulated clothing and underwear. If I put my goose-down vest on and walk maybe a mile to my tree stand, by the time I arrive there, I'll be sweating and giving off too much human odor. This problem keeps me from hunting with any confidence at all, and within 30 minutes, I'll feel cold too. So even if a deer does come in, I won't be comfortable or able to shoot accurately.

In my opinion, a bowhunter needs two types of clothing - the clothing he wears when he walks to his stand and warmer, heavier clothing that the hunter carries in a pack and doesn't actually put on until he reaches his stand. By using this system of dressing, the hunter won't give out nearly as much human odor and can hunt warmer and more comfortably than if he wears all that clothing into his tree stand. Even if you're wearing a human scent cover-up and sitting in a tree stand sweating, the very-best cover-up scents won't hide the human odor you're giving off. To put it simply, I haven't found any cover-up scents that can mask the human odor of a sweaty body.

Click to enlargeTo learn more about bowhunting, order “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” which contains information from more than 50 top bowhunters, written by John E. Phillips. You can send a money order or a check for $13.50 to 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243 and specify the book you’re ordering, or pay by PayPal by sending the money to You also can learn more about the book by going to where you’ll also find a direct link to PayPal.


Check back each day this week for more about "ROOKIE ERRORS - 10 DEADLY SINS OF NEW BOWHUNTERS"

Day 1: Starting To Trophy Hunt Too Quickly, And Shooting Too Quickly Or Waiting Too Long
Day 2: Ignoring The Wind, And Overusing A Stand
Day 3: Controlling Body Odor, and Overdressing
Day 4: Not Knowing Where To Put Lure, And Not Understanding When To Rattle
Day 5: Not Being Alert In The Stand, And Waiting On A Perfect Day



Entry 317, Day 3