By Shane Chuning
If you have been hunting long enough, I’m sure you have encountered situations when you get busted by the wind. I am still amazed at how well some of the big game animals we pursue have such a keen sense of smell. Every time I go out, I am consistently checking the wind on a stalk to try and stack the cards in my favor.
Even then, I can think of one recent incident this year, while on a archery elk hunt, where I spotted a 370+ bull about two to three miles away. I made a conscience effort to identify wind direction before even planning my stalk. The bull was working his way through heavy timber to a feeding area for the evening. Planning my stalk accordingly, I made my way out on the ridge line, closing the distance fast, since it was in the evening and didn’t want to lose light. When I got within 100 yards I spotted the bulls rack and knew without question it was him. I then proceeded to take my pack off and forgot to spray down with Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike, after that long 2-3 mile trek in very warm conditions.
Everything appeared to still be good and he never knew I was even there. Just as I started closing the distance, trying to get within 60 -70 yards, the wind switched directions as I felt it hit the back of my ears. Within seconds after that I saw his rack tip upward in the air, catching wind of something he smelled. I never saw his body due to the terrain, but knew exactly what he was doing. Shortly after that, all I could do was watch that 370+ bull completely run out of sight due to all the perspiring and odor I put off. He never saw me, but knew something was not right and I was sure wishing I had sprayed down before that stalk.
On this same elk hunt, I encountered another opportunity where I had a big bull about 600 yards away. Checking the wind as usual and spraying down this time, helped me stack the odds in my favor as I closed the distance on the last stretch. With open sagebrush flats and aspen grove pockets throughout, I managed to get within 400 yards. Knowing I needed to close that distance even more, I belly crawled another 290 yards. This put me at 110 yards with the wind swirling and that bull with 30+ cows never even knew I was there. The only problem I had on this encounter was running out of legal shooting light, so I had to pull out.
I went through a 5 day period wearing the same clothes in some very warm weather in the backcountry. With prior treatment of the Bio-Strike laundry detergent and Odor Shield laundry additive on my clothing and spraying down mornings and evenings, I found this combination worked amazingly well at keeping the human odor down. I pulled out after that 5-day stretch to take care of some work. After getting home, I had my wife test out my clothes for odor and she could barely smell any sign of body odor. This stuff really works better than anything I have used in the past.
On my last day of a long, hard backcountry elk hunt, I made a plan to stalk up on one of the bulls I had previously encountered. I determined he would be with all those cows in the same general area. Needless to say, they were nowhere to be found. I was quickly running out of time on the last evening. I remember sitting there contemplating on making a last ditch effort to locate a bull. In preparation, I sprayed down completely with the Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike before heading out.
After moving about 500 yards from my original location, I threw out a bugle and got a response immediately. With light closing in fast the last hour and wind swirling on the mountain, it was all or nothing. I closed the distance on that bull with a few more bugles and knew he was getting closer by the minute. With my gear completely sprayed down this time, I had that bull come within 15 yards. I made a clean shot, as the arrow passed straight through him. I honestly believe if it wasn’t for spraying down everything an hour prior to that shot, the situation may have been different due to the swirling winds on the mountain at 10,000 ft.
In saying all this, we can definitely stack the cards in our favor when we are pursuing big game animals every year. I have not experienced anything better than Hunter Specialties Scent-A-Way Bio-Strike. During this year’s archery elk hunt, I put the Bio-Strike products to the test with over 20 days in the backcountry. This was in very warm conditions for most of the hunt and included extended periods of not showering. Not to mention, my wife was completely shocked at the lack of odor over that 5-day stretch with the same clothes. I would highly recommend implementing the Bio-Strike line of products to assist you in your future hunts. In doing so, you will increase your success rate. These are excellent products that are definitely worth checking out.