There is no foolproof way to beat a whitetail's nose.
I used to avoid eating meat for the week or so leading up to hunting season to keep deer from identifying my scent as that of a predator. I like to think I have more common sense today.
Don't get me wrong, scent precautions are important. The fewer smelly molecules we release into the environment around our stands, the better chance we have of getting a buck close enough for a shot ... and also the less chance of alerting the does that normally preceed the appearance of said buck. But if a deer smells you, it's going to go on alert. There is simply no fooling a whitetail's nose.
With that in mind, wind direction is still the most important scent consideration.
I have used and believe scent-masking machines like Ozonics and Zerotrace make a difference. In my book, their biggest benefit is trapping and masking the molecules from occasional errant winds or thermals – and you will get those, guaranteed. If you set up directly upwind of a high-traffic deer location and expect a machine to keep you from being detected, however, prepare to be disappointed.
Point is, scent is important, but use common sense. Eliminate as much of your human odor as you can with hunter soaps and sprays. Keep your clothes clean and scent-free. Avoid harsh-smelling chemicals (like gasoline). And stay downwind! Read Recent Tip of the Week:
• January Scouting: This is a great time to get a better read on local deer behavior.