This is the age of hunting scent free. Which for all of us hunters makes total sense. All the land animals we pursue have been given incredible ways to avoid attack from predators. With sense of smell being their number one defense.
Years ago I heard a quote that has always stuck with me ; “If you aren’t worried about them seeing you, hearing you or smelling you, then your not hunting”. I’ve always agreed with that perspective on pursuing wild game. And then, in one trip to Kansas this month my world gets turned upside down.
Who would have the balls to go the opposite route? Making you smell so bad that you disappear. Well his name is Chase White, a Kansas Hunting Guide that banks on you harvesting a deer so he can financially survive. So this isn’t an opinion, or a friend saying “I wonder if this would work?”. Everything he does for his clients is geared towards increasing their chances of success. His confidence is so powerful in all his calculated decisions, that I had to just trust him when he said, “Alright, lets smoke your camo and then get you out in the woods”.
So here is a Q & A with the odor outlaw, for all of us to get a better understanding on why instead of taking smells out , he chooses to put smoke in.
Q & A with professional Kansas hunting guide Chase White
by A.J. Neste
Hey brother, thanks for taking the time with me today to answer these questions. You know how confused I was day one on my deer hunt when you started covering my gear in a dense fog of smoke. But after watching how the deer reacted with my own eyes, I knew I had to share this with our followers.
(Q) So tell me Chase, what is behind the concept of smoking your clothes before hunting?
I had a deer client introduce me to the concept of smoking clothes before going deer hunting. Josh as far as I could tell learned the process from the Wensel brothers who are from Iowa. They are well known for their comprehensive knowledge of whitetail deer and deer hunting in general. For us here in Kansas it was a logical idea in my mind for a few reasons. First and foremost is that in Kansas, there is a lot of prescribed burns that are done each and every year. This is used to kill some of the weeds and undesirable plants that grow over the course of a year while also putting nitrogen and other beneficial nutrients back into the soil. So with that being said, it made sense to me that the deer wouldn't necessarily be alarmed to the smell because they smell it all the time. Does smoke necessarily mean fire and danger. Well yes. It doesn't however mean that there is a human element to that danger. So the deer in most cases will smell the smoke. They may even look in the general direction of the hunter. They wont however, in most cases spook or give the gut wrenching snort that every deer hunter hates to hear.
(Q) How many deer hunters do you and your outfit guide in a season?
Depending on the year we will run as an outfitter anywhere between 120-160 deer hunters a year. Personally at the lodge I run, I will have anywhere between 30-40 clients most years over the course of about 6 weeks.
(Q) Do you smoke the camo of all your clients? And are most of them apprehensive with this approach ?
I started doing the smoking process full time about two years ago. I have introduced it to several of the other guides as well. At this point we do it for every client and do it every night. In most cases guys that haven't had their clothes smoked before are a little concerned about it. But as a guide it is my job to help make my clients as successful as they can. So I highly recommend it and everyone to this point has tried it. I have not had a single client come back in two years and tell me that they didn't want me to continue smoking their clothes. In most cases, clients clothes will be out and ready to be smoked by the second night before I have to remind them.
(Q) What kind of reports do you get back from them when they come back to the lodge?
Over the course of the last two years I have kept track on the number of deer that we have had harvested or opportunities that have presented themselves either directly down wind or a quartering down wind. And the number is crazy. Last time I calculated it, I would say close to 80% of the deer that we have had killed in archery, were directly affected by the smoking of clients clothes. This is for a variety of reasons. Either the buck came in from down wind or there was another deer in the area down wind that we felt would have otherwise blown the hunt for the hunter.
(Q) Is there a certain type of wood that you found works better than most?
I am sort of a “if it ain’t broke, don't fix it” kind of guy. I have tried a couple of different types but what we have used most by far is hickory chips. We use a bee smoker that we purchased from Amazon and put the chips in the smoker. Light it with a propane torch and put the clothes either inside a safe enclosed area or use the puffer on the bee smoker to actually direct the smoke to a specific area.
(Q) In the age of proven technology that works, I can’t help but wonder if you or your clients have tried Ozonics instead? Or is smoking just a low budget way you found that works just the same?
There is a lot of different options out their for scent control. As a guide I have seen and tried most of them. I have a couple of clients that have used Ozonics and until I found out about smoking clothes, it was in my opinion, the best option on the market. The creation of 03 which is heavier then air dragging your scent molecules directly down works very well, especially in a ground blind. But not as good as smoking your clothes. A very good repeat client of mind from Michigan, Mike, is my best example to the ozonics versus smoking your clothes. Lets put it this way. The first year that I smoked Mike’s clothes, he went home and bought a bee smoker, and uses his Ozonics sparingly now as compared to smoking your clothes. It just works better.
(Q) Have you done any research on what smoke does when added to human or other odors?
From the research that I have done the main thing that smoke does is kill the bacteria that produces the human odor. The difference between smoke and scent killing sprays is that the sprays don’t penetrate the smallest fibers of your clothing that smoke does. Once again it also provides a tremendous cover scent.
(Q) Would you say that the smell of smoke gives you complete scent control of human odor? Or just buys you a bit of time before your busted?
I think smoke is 2 fold. It attacks and kills human odor, while at the same time providing a extremely strong cover scent. I think it not only gives you opportunities you may have otherwise not had, but also gives you that extra time you may need in order to get a good ethical shot off. The toughest deer in my opinion to fool are not the bucks, they are the old, mature, big does. The ones that have been around the block a few times. The ones that have had 2 or 3 different years of fawns. Those are the wise does that always peg hunters in a tree stand or a ground blind.
(Q)When I was just in Kansas sitting in the stand and the wind shifted, and started blowing on the back of my neck. I have to say I was shocked when that 7 point kept coming in to 27 yards. He looked right in my direction several times from 75 yards out. But he did come in. So I agree, in my experience, it works. Not only with him, but the 10 does I encountered as well. So I’m a bit sold on the idea and I want to try this back home. With that said, what is a way that I can do this at home or another against the grain hunter that wants to give it a go themselves?
The best thing to do is to go to amazon and buy a bee smoker. Typically they are about 20$ and you can go to your local hardware store and get hickory smoking chips. Throw the chips into the bee smoker and get the chips burning good by themselves. Once they are burning then close the top and smoke away. You can find an enclosed area or even make something to hang your clothes in. Once the bee smoker is rolling, put it in with your clothes in a safe area and let them go for at least 10 minutes or just let them smoke until the bee smoker stops smoking. Your clothes will be ready to rock!
I cant thank you enough for your time Bud, and although my wife is making me keep my bonfire smelling camo out of the house, I have to say I will do it again. Thank you so much Chase. Looking forward to spending more time together on my next visit to learn more tricks of the trade.
To schedule your next Kansas whitetail hunting trip with Chase White and his team of guides contact
Phone : 757-438-1306
Outfit Website: www.hunthickorycreek.com