Let’s start this by laying out a few ground rules.
1. Let he who has never had black-out buck fever cast the first stone
2. In the spirit of hunting, kill what makes you happy; This is my story
This, my friends, is the Instant Gratification Buck:
He was killed on a zero degree morning during Missouri rifle season in 2015. A spunky little youngster, he was sparring with an equal-size buck a mere seconds before receiving the dirt nap. He provided some really good meat, got me out of the cold, and provided a cool European mount. Over the years, though, I have come to regret pulling the trigger on this guy. Every time I walk to my basement, this mount is a constant reminder that good things come to those who are patient, consistent and put in the work. To understand where I am going with this, you need the back story.
The descriptor of “Monster Buck” is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.
The deer I was chasing that year was a Monster Buck:
I first saw him as a really nice two year old in 2012 and would have put an arrow through him then if he had given me the opportunity.
A year later I was literally climbing the ladder to my buddy stand overlooking a cut corn field at 5:30am when I hear leaves crunching. I looked over my left shoulder to see a buck that had exploded in the last year. The moon was bright and he was so close I could have leaped off the ladder and landed solidly on his back. I won’t pretend to know what he scored but I can say for certain it would have generated a large taxidermy bill had he shown up at shooting light. I watched him walk away never getting another glance at him that year. Finding his sheds in early 2014 gave me hope.
I caught a glimpse of him in 2014 during early bow season and had him broadside at 42 yards in early October. Not confident in my shooting at that range, I watched him leave the field with a harem of no less than seven does. For a moment I thought I was elk hunting.
I kept hunting hard but having to do that silly work thing, I was not able to hunt the chasing period of the rut that year and came into rifle season confident he would make a mistake and chase a doe past one of my stands. I saw a lot of deer the first three days of gun season. Tons of does and a multitude of young bucks but my monster remained a ghost.
Do you know what it is like to want something so bad and the situation just doesn’t turn out like you want it to? You start to second guess yourself and quit doing the things you had been doing that made you successful or at a minimum, got you closer to your goal. And sometimes in that despair you have a black-out moment of darkness.
I believe it was a Tuesday morning when I got up to a brisk zero degrees. I had so many clothes on I could barely move my arms and legs but I took off to the stand in the dark hopeful that this was the day I would punch my tag on my shooter buck.
I climbed into the stand in pitch black darkness. There was no wind and it was dead silent. Suddenly, a snort rang out from the east. Then another, and another and another….. she wouldn’t stop snorting.
To this day I have no idea how she knew I was there but I am certain the snorting was directed solely at me. I sat there freezing my tuckus off in disbelief that my hunt was completely ruined before the sun came up. I decided to sit and as daylight broke, a young buck came from the north and met another buck coming in from the south. They locked horns, postured a little than went their separate ways. And somewhere between the doe snorting and seeing one of those deer lying on the ground I had a bit of black-out deer fever and pulled the trigger. Tagged out, but not on the buck I had worked really hard to
kill. Not even close to the type of deer I set out to kill.
I never saw that buck again. We heard a giant had been killed in 2015 on a farm to the east of ours. It wasn’t too hard to figure out what had happened.
Are you wondering what the point of this story is? I think we can all have black-out moments and fail to stick the plan that is leading us down the road to success. We see it all the time with clients who say they want to lose weight but then succumb to instant gratification in the form of ice cream, pizza, beer, chocolate, BBQ….the list is infinite.
They say they want one thing, but when the road gets hard and they don’t see the results they think they should see, they grab a little piece of something….well actually, sometimes a big piece of something to get a momentary bit of happiness. FYI: they are never happy after the deed is done. It’s one of the reasons they call it instant gratification because after it is over, there is very little that satisfies a person who knows they bailed on their plan.
I truly regret killing that buck and this European mount helps to remind me on a daily basis that the actions I am taking to be more physically fit, a better father, husband, son, friend, business owner, boss, etc. is a work in progress and that if I deviate from the plan, I will not accomplish the big picture prize I have envisioned in my mind.
I regret the action because I took the easy way out. I wanted to brag about killing a buck when in reality, I could have killed a doe that was much bigger if I was simply after meat. I let frustration and the lure of an easy harvest blur my vision and because of it, someone else got my monster.
Had I not pulled the trigger that morning would I have killed my monster? I can’t answer that honestly because we all know that for all of the skill and planning we put into a goal, we also need a little luck. I may have eaten tag soup that year but we will never know because my monster? He is hanging on someone else’s wall.
What goals do you have in your life? Metaphorically speaking or literally, what is your monster buck? Is it weight loss, a better-paying job, a stronger relationship with your spouse or children?
Stick to your plan, people. You will get tempted to take the easy way out but please, don’t pull the trigger in the same way I did because I promise you there is no instant gratification that will ever feel as good as dropping the monster buck goal in your life.
As a kid I remember rolling out of bed and heading to the woods with clothes washed in summer fresh Tide or whatever mom was using at the time. I bathed using whatever soap and shampoo was in the shower at deer camp and seeing as 95% of the people in camp smoked, I would imagine I smelled somewhat like a summer fresh, fruity Marlboro to any deer that crossed paths with me in the woods. I did manage to kill a deer almost every year but it took a while to realize there isn’t a ton of challenge harvesting two year old basket racks. The big boys? They continued to elude me.
Nowadays a fellow could go cross-eyed with the myriad of options you can use for limiting your personal odors in the woods. Some may just go the old fashioned “play the wind” but I think if you are going to do it, go all in and if you want to kill a mature deer, it may take several strategies pieced together to fool his nose and to ensure you have a big taxidermy bill this Fall. If you aren’t contemplating it already, it is time to think about the synergy of scent control.
Synergy is defined as combined action or operation. With scent control, I don’t believe one can look at just one product or system and say they are good to go. Naturally, you should utilize the product or products that you trust and believe in but I am not sure there is one complete system that does it all….so I am going to share with you my favorites.
Please note two things:
1. I, along with #FitToHunt head trainer Nick Lape, serve on the field staffs for two of these products but we do so because we have seen first-hand the products work.
2. I write this article having not killed a deer in 2017 yet….by choice. I have had multiple
opportunities to draw and have passed.
So fully disclosing these two points, let’s move on to the real info on what (and how) I use to get close to my prey.
It all starts some personal hygiene:
As a coach and personal trainer, I know when I run into a solid case of B.O. Unfortunately, a deer’s nose is a lot more sensitive than mine and it doesn’t take a lot of stank to allow a booner to pinpoint your position and avoid you all together. I’ve used several products but have been a fan of Dead Down Wind Body and Hair Soap for years.
Why DDW? Honestly, they are a Missouri company and being from the Show Me State, I gave them a whirl. What I like about the product is that while it continues to knock out odors even after you shower, the product contains no harsh chemicals, biocides or antimicrobials. Being the CEO of a company that promotes being and healthy and fit, using products that help and not harm you is important to us.
If you asked me one year ago if I thought an orange, canvas bag and a cigarette lighter ozone blower could revolutionize my hunt, I would have laughed at you. I’m not laughing anymore. I have become a believer in Scentcrusher.
My two favorite products in this line are the Scentcrusher bag and the Ozone Go.
There are multiple types of ozone products on the market but the line from Scentcrusher is not a product you use in the field. The products kill off odors by bathing your clothes and in the case of the Ozone Go, your vehicle, in ozone. I use them as a one-two punch as I prepare for the hunt. When the alarm goes off I turn on the coffee, throw my clothes in my Scentcrusher gear bag and set the timer. It does the work while I shower. With the
option to blast ozone into the sealed bag for 5-30 minutes, the gear bag treats my hunting gear while I drink coffee. When it is done, I grab the bag, toss it in the truck and go. It really is that simple.
The Ozone Go plugs into the cigarette lighter in your vehicle and floods ozone into your car killing all odor causing bacteria including those from the McDonald’s bag in your floorboard from three days ago. As a coffee fanatic, this is a neat tool to help me blast out that last bit of odor before I hit the field. How good does it work you ask? I have tested it with multiple flatulent hunting partners riding in my passenger seat to and from the field; more out of self-defense than odor control. If the Ozone Go can handle that mess, it will do the trick for you as well. Seriously…what are these people eating?
Dampen the glow:
Another product line we rely heavily on is X-Out 360 from Pure One Outdoors. This provides another one-two punch because this product not only helps with scent control in the field, it dampens UV glow making it less likely deer will see or smell you.
What is UV glow? Humans see different than deer and the camo pattern we love is really just shades of gray to a deer. However, the fabrics that are used to create these camp patterns give off a UV glow in low light conditions and when do we often see the most deer movement? Low light conditions.
I start the process by using the X-Out 2 in 1 Laundry Detergent and finish it up in the field with the X-Out Odor-Scent UV control before I climb into a tree to get as close
as I can to disappearing. Last year I had a deer bust me in mid-draw. I had the right wind and was seemingly hidden. Looking back, I believe I was lit up like a Christmas tree. Once I learned about X-Out from Pure One, I made it a point not to get busted in that fashion again. Just yesterday I had a 2 ½ year old 8 point walk within 4 yards of me downwind and he never knew I was there. A long time ago I would have chalked that up to luck but not anymore.
Does the synergistic approach sound tedious and exhausting?
Don’t worry. It breaks down like this:
1. Wash your clothes the night before with X-Out 2 in 1 Laundry Detergent
2. Wake up and shower with Dead Down Wind hair and body wash
3. Treat your clothes in the Scentcrusher Gear Bag while you are showering
4. Continue the job with the Scentcrusher Ozone Go while you drive to the woods
5. Finish it off with a X-Out Odor Scent-UV Control spray down before you climb into your tree
What scent control products and methods do you use?
Leave a comment and let us know what works best for you!
As always, stay #FitToHunt!
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!