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Scent Lock, or am i just blowing my money?


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I am looking for new camo for archery season and year after year i watch shows and hear of people with their new Scent Lock, and i am wondering from all of you, do you believe it works.

I would like to hear from the people who believe it works and the people who do not becuase it is a lot of money but if it works it is a great investment.

I know that scent control is probably one of the most important aspects of bow hunting and i am just trying to get better at it.


Andrew Shae

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Do an Internet search on the topic and you'll quickly find that there's good evidence to support that fact that it is a complete waste of your money. Others will disagree and I firmly believe that mostly this stance is taken to defend the fact that they just blew a ton of money on a product that doesn't work. I don't wear scentlock gear and had many, many deer come from downwind of me again this year- wo when you hear stories of how deer came from downwind BECAUSE of the scentlock gear, be skeptical.

Buy it if you'd like, but I believe you're wasting your money. Others can feel free to chime in and tell me why I'm wrong.

BTW, for those who take the stance that scentlock is useful because it makes your more confident in what your doing, I couldn't disagree more with this belief. If spending your hard earned money on products that don't work makes you more confident, I'd suggest that you're confused.

Boy, I must be grumpy this morning! Just my opinions above- have a great day!!! laugh.gif

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Well I take the exact opposite stance and say it is worth the money. I rarely step into the woods without my scent lok on. I've taken my 3 largest whitetails (as well as drawing other mature bucks within range) with a bow in the last 7 years and I was wearing my scent lok every time.

Has a deer ever winded me, YES. As a human we can't comprehend a whitetails ability to detect odors.

I think where a scent lok benefits a hunter the most is after you leave the woods. Think about it, you leave your stand at quitting time and Mr. Big walks by a half an hour later. I hope he doesn't smell my lingering scent, get onto the fact I'm hunting him, and then go completely nocturnal on me.

If you have enough land to hunt and can use the wind in your favor every time then maybe it isn't necessary. I hunt a couple of bottlenecks where a deer can go by me on either side, so sometimes that deer may be downwind of me.

Just my $.02 worth.

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I didn't spend a lot of money on a Scent Lok suit. I got it as a gift. So I am not out anything, if it did't work, I wouldn't use it. However, I love it, and will by another even though I now know the literature out there debunking activated carbon. Those that have it, always seem to talk highly of it, those that don't have it, seem to talk bad about it. Who do you think you should listen to?

It is not necessary if you have the time to follow a perfect scent regimen, shower before hunting with scent free soap, wash clothes in scent free detergent etc. I don't always have the time hunting in the evening after work. Its nice to throw it on and go.

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I have read the anti-scent lock stuff and the fact they fail to mention is that re-activating carbon in a dryer will have SOME effect. Will it be as good as the professional carbon companies, no, but will it do something? yes. How much is the question. I have used it for 3 years. I feel that it helps. It does not completely get rid of your odor, but in my opinion, it is a marked improvement over nothing. I would guess 60%-75% of the deer that I thought would have winded me, didnt. The remaining 25%-40% did anyway. But hey, that is an improvement.

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IMO I can't say how they work one way or the other cause I don't have them, BUT with that being said, this was my first year archery hunting.

I read a great deal about scent control and people's nazi-like scent elimination routines that had me worried. I didn't pay much attention to it and went out like I've rifle hunted every other year. I do pay attention to scent, but not to the extent of bowhunters.

Opening weekend I got busted 2 times by deer from the same stand. Once by a doe and her fawn and again by MR. Big. Seeing that buck snort and blow at me will never leave my mind. My buddy (also his first year) was a complete disbeliever in scent control and went out in regular clothes washed in regular detergent with no other scent control other than a standard shower. He got busted by a fawn that sniffed the exact spot he set his pack and stand.

2 weeks later we went back with a whole scent control plan. I arrowed a small buck at 5yds who approached from downwind and my buddy got to miss 3 times, twice on the same deer also downwind of him.

SO, you will be hard pressed to convince me on using carbon activated clothing. I've proven that beign responsible and conscious of my scent is more important than putting on some magic suit. You can't controlo all your scent anyway so save your money and buy something else. Get an extra stand or two, find something that will ighten your load in the field. Less sweating will mean less scent.

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You are just blowing your money.

Do a google search for "corrigan/scent_suits" pour a cup of coffee, and read.

/P.T. Barnum

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Wow this is great, i am getting the answers that i wanted from both sides. Now the deal is what camo do i get. Do i get the cabela's leafy wear or a ghilli suit. I like coyote and fox hunting so thats why i say the ghilli suit but i don't know. I guess i hunt a lot of swamp bottoms and river bottoms for deer so i think the leafy wear is a good choice. What does everyone else think, Thank you for you answers.

Andrew Shae

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Huge post. Sorry. you've got to read it. I've made a career revolving around activated carbon. He does not lie.

from the author Michael C. Corrigan:

activated-carbon comes in several forms and is used in many applications as a filtering or cleansing media. activated-carbon can be manufactured from carbonaceous material, including coal (bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite), peat, wood, or nutshells (i.e., coconut shells or walnut shells).

The manufacturing process consists of two phases: carbonization and activation. The carbonization process includes drying and then heating to separate by-products, including tars and other hydrocarbons, from the raw material, as well as to drive off any gases generated. Heating the material at 400–600°C (752-1472°F) in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere that cannot support combustion completes the carbonization process.

activated-carbon comes in the form of a very fine powder, which is impregnated or weaved into the textile fibers of garments. It also comes in a granular form. Both forms are used in various applications including to purify both water and air. Some of the popular drinking water filters and mechanical air filters on the market use activated-carbon as a filter media.

activated-carbon is an extremely porous material with high ratios of surface area to unit weight. One pound of activated-carbon contains up to 100 acres of surface area!

activated-carbon has a particular affinity to organic materials such as volatile organic compounds or VOC’s. Human odor is composed of different gaseous molecules of VOC’s and other chemicals such as hydrogen sulfides, which are absorbed by activated-carbon.

Think of activated-carbon as a common sponge that you would use to wash dishes with. Take a sponge and place it in a cup of water. What happens? It soaks up the water. The sponge, like activated-carbon, has thousands of little pores and channels running through it. When activated-carbon soaks up human “stink” odors, it does so through a process called adsorption.

Stinky gasses (i.e. human odors) are adsorbed into the many micro pores on and within the activated-carbon and are retained there. Now, what happens when a sponge becomes saturated?

A sponge that is saturated with water cannot adsorb any more. Hold a saturated sponge full of water in your hand and you will observe water dripping from it. When activated-carbon in a water or air filter becomes saturated it is called breakthrough.

Forms of activated-carbon

In short, when a water’s or air filter’s filter media (i.e. activated-carbon) becomes saturated with contaminants, the filter is rendered useless and the contaminants contained in the water or air stream pass through the filter. After a while, you will be drinking dirty water or breathing stinky air until the filter is replaced. Makes sense right?

Think of activated-carbon as a molecular sponge. As is the case with any sponge, activated-carbon can only hold or adsorb so much stinky stuff. Once activated-carbon becomes saturated with contaminants, it must be reactivated or replaced entirely.

What do you do with a sponge that is saturated with water? You squeeze it to release the adsorbed water so you can reuse it. Or, you simply get a new dry sponge. Like the sponge analogy, activated-carbon must be “squeezed out” so to speak, in order to reactivate it for reuse.

Now you know how activated-carbon works. Most of the information I just provided can be found on some of the more popular scent elimination garment manufacturers’ web sites.

So far you might be thinking to yourself “Wow, activated-carbon really works”. Well, it does work, sort of.

activated-carbon is a fine filter media, but using activated-carbon as the key component in a scent elimination garment is not a practical application.

Unlike a common kitchen sponge, you can’t just leave it on the counter and let it dry out. In order to re-activate activated-carbon, it must undergo a process called Pyrolysis. To fully re-activate saturated activated-carbon, you must heat it to approximately 800 °C or 1,472 °F, in a controlled atmosphere of low oxygen concentration to reduce the possibility of combustion.

This is scientific fact and is even stated in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Engineering and Design, Adsorption Design Guide, Design Guide No. DG1110-1-2, if you’d like to check it out for yourself. This fact is not however mentioned on any of the popular scent elimination clothing manufacturers’ websites.

One of the most popular scent elimination clothing manufactures instructs consumers to simply place worn garments in a common household clothes dryer for 20 to 30 minutes to re-active the carbon in the garment. The average temperature generated by a clothes dryer does not even come close to being able to generate the extreme temperatures necessary to drive out contaminants absorbed in the many micropores and channels of activated-carbon. In fact, most residential clothes dryers only heat up to a temperature that is well under 200°F.

Those of you, whom use water filters or air filters in your homes, think about it. Why can’t you just boil your filters in hot water or throw them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes to re-activate the carbon filter media. You can’t; that’s why. You don’t own special multi million-dollar pyrolysis thermal regeneration equipment that produces enough heat to re-activate carbon. Therefore, you have to buy new filters every now and then.

Re-activating carbon for industrial uses is big business. Type in the words “activated-carbon” in your favorite Internet search engine and you will see what I’m talking about here. In order to fully reactivate the activated-carbon in one of the many scent elimination garments on the market, you might as well just throw the garment in your campfire, because the extreme heat necessary to re-activate the carbon would likely destroy the garment anyway.

Forgive my sarcasm, but I tend to get irritated when I see good folks getting duped. And as a class, I think bow hunters are a pretty good bunch. So as a product, I think all the activated-carbon scent elimination clothing products on the market are nothing more than gimmicks.

I do not believe, based on sound science, these garments are even effective the first time you use it. Think about it. Each garment would have to be manufactured and placed in a sealed, scent proof bag when shipped and remain sealed on the shelf at retail stores. This is not the case, however.

From the minute the clothing is manufactured, it begins to adsorb “stink” and continues to adsorb “stink” while awaiting an ignorant, misinformed consumer to purchase it. It is likely that the activated-carbon contained in the garment is already completely saturated with “stink” upon being purchased.

Many of the scent proof garment manufacturers somewhat acknowledge this, in an attempt to bring some legitimacy to their product. They recommend that you immediately wash and re-activate garments by placing them in a clothes dryer as soon as the product is purchased. Funny, they also happen to recommend their own brand of laundry detergent that is special made for these special garments.

As I explained above, washing and drying the garment is merely an exercise in futility. At best, the only way these garments could be manufactured and utilized effectively would be if they were designed for one time use. In other words, they would have to be disposable.

The military actually uses activated-carbon suits as a kind of chemical protection garment, but they’re a single-use, disposable garment and not intended for multiple washings.

Here is something else you should consider before purchasing one of these products: activated-carbon’s adsorption effectiveness when used in an air filter application becomes greatly reduced when it is wet. So what happens when you sweat during those humid early season bow hunts? That’s right, your clothing gets wet and becomes even less effective.

A leading manufacturer of activated-carbon garments admits that no laboratory testing has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of the clothing when it is wet from hunter’s perspiration.

So why the craze? Why are so many hunters rushing out to purchase these garments, when the science-based fact is that they don’t work?

As I mentioned earlier, consumer ignorance is one reason. I think another reason is that many hunters so badly want to believe that they can purchase something that will render them invisible to a whitetail’s or elk’s nose.

As I said earlier, many of you have read articles by authors that claim their scent elimination clothing was pinnacle in helping them tag the biggest buck; with out it, the hunt would not have been successful. I truly believe the fact that these hunters who wore these garments while achieving success, can be chalked up to being merely a coincidence. Many of the authors who wrote these type articles failed to mention they were wearing their lucky hat and that their lucky rabbits foot was in their pocket at the time.

All sarcasm aside, I think many successful hunters who wear these special garments fail to recognize that they have been consciously paying closer attention to personal hygiene techniques before every hunt.

You must understand that none of the success story articles that push these special garments are based on science studies. They are opinions; misinformed ones at that.

I’ve talked to a few technical representatives with some of the more popular scent elimination clothing manufacturers and none of them have performed controlled scientific studies to demonstrate the true effectiveness of these garments. However, they claim to have “field tested” the garments. Come on folks. How do you field-test these garments?

It is said that a deer can smell nearly 1,000 times better than humans. You cannot legitimately observe the effectiveness of these garments or read a whitetail’s mind. No one, to the best of my knowledge, has contracted a non-biased independent laboratory or university to demonstrate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this clothing.

It is my belief that the manufacturers of these specialty garments know what the results of such a study would show; therefore it would not behoove them to undertake such an exercise. So they just claim the garments are field tested by the product-pushing pros.

As stated earlier: This is just my opinion, but it’s one based on sound science, education and a realistic view of product marketing techniques.

Now you can form your own opinion. Good Hunting.

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Exactly what I said in my post. He does not address partially regenerating the carbon. I dont for a minute believe you can 100% regenerate, but I do think you can do some regeneration. So as quick as he is to quote science, he misses some. Also, in industrial applications, carbon is used to remove contaminant levels typically below part per billion and certainly below part per million concentrations. We certainly cannot achieve that with a jacket, but some reduction is better than no reduction. So in my mind that is the key, you will likely get some reduction. How much? Who knows. You will have to be the judge of that yourself.

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Another angle, if Scent Lok or Blocker clothing gives me 1 chance to shoot a big deer, where I may not have that chance without it,,,,its worth it.

I wear both!

Great post!

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Whether you believe it is worth the money or not is definately in the eye of the beholder. Scentlok is not the total answer. A whitetails nose will detect your scent most of the time no matter what you are wearing. This being the case; how important is it to have "some" of your scent eliminated. I believe it is the difference from being picked off and the deer snorting and carrying on, to maybe just turning around and walking the other way. I have seen this countless times. A deer will come downwind of you and simply will just act a little nervous and turn and walk the other way. At least there is a chance that the deer will come back! I think if you hang your stands high, wear rubber boots, climb the stand with gloves on and wear scent-loc you will be better off than not doing any of these things. The key here to avoid all of this is PLAY THE WIND! Scentlok (in my mind) helps a little, but it makes you think about the wind and scent like never before. And that can't be a bad thing.

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Here's a lucky penny. ($) I swear it works. You'll just have to believe me.

Go ahead. Put it in your pocket while you hunt. It'll give at least SOME immeasurable advantage.


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Lovers and Haters. Why can't we all just get along? tongue.gif

I have the stuff. I bought it at 50-70% off so it probably cost me the same or slightly less than normal clothing. I still take all the precautions. I think it works to some degree. I have been busted before but I have seen more deer and closer wearing it than I have ever seen not wearing it. Placebo? Maybe, but I don't care. I still have seen more deer and closer than I ever have. I'll continue to wear it along with taking all my other precautions. Personally, I think the face/mouth part is the most important. I've read articles that say 75% of our human stink comes from our breath. Even if it helps 1% more that's enough for me.

I love hunting... come on September!

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Well, you've pretty much covered everything there is to cover in this post, but I'll still give you my two cents worth. Yes, I wear scent-loc clothes. I have for about 4 years. Yes, I go through a pretty anal routine of showering, spraying the outside of my clothes and gear with a scent killer. Yes, my buddy and I hang about 10 stands throughout the properties we hunt, so that we can play the wind when we go hunting. Yes, I'm the biggest Green Bay Packer fan in Minnesota....I guess we didn't need that one. As far as wasting your money or not, I liken wearing scent-loc and not wearing scent-loc to confidence and superstition. I shot a 135 class buck on Nov. 5th this year at 19 yards. He came in down wind of me, and smelled me, but didn't bolt, never to be seen again. Had I not gone through my scent reduction routine, would he have offered me the shot? I don't know. I'm quite pleased he did though. To make a short story just a little longer and more monotonous, if it makes you more confident, buy the scent-loc. If not, you'll have something to ponder when that 160 class buck comes in downwind and doesn't offer up that 19 yard, slightly quartering away shot.

Good Day

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