I’m going to talk a bit about a controversial topic in the whitetail hunting world. No, not CWD. I want to talk about ozone scent control devices. There is a ton of information out there with scientific data and test results on the effectiveness of ozone generators in masking human scent, but I want to discuss my real-world experience.
Ozone is a molecule that occurs naturally in the environment. In recent times it has been adapted for many industrial uses as an anti-odor or sterilizing compound. Ozone generators are used to cleanse residential buildings of mold and odors. It can be a dangerous molecule to people and animals, thus, when used in large quantities to clean buildings it is done when the building is vacant.
Ozone Use For Hunting Scent Control
Deer hunters have been obsessed with controlling their scent ever since the modern era of compound bow shooting camo-clad hunters has existed. Playing the wind is always a consideration of the serious whitetail hunter. Some hunters have gone to the extremes of covering themselves in cover scents such as deer urine or skunk spray. Others change into their hunting clothes only when at their hunting location to avoid any scent contamination. There is also no shortage of scent control products on the market such as odor-free laundry detergents, scent masking sprays, and thousands of other products. However, in 2007 a company called Ozonics was formed to harness the power of ozone generation to give hunters a helping hand in hiding their scent.
Ozonics is a company that markets and sells a portable battery-powered device that generates ozone. It is relatively small and lightweight and designed to be used as an active scent control device while hunting in the field. It can also be used to “scrub” the scent from hunting gear, your vehicle, or anything else you don’t want to have a smell that deer can detect. There are now many other companies that sell ozone scent control devices. Ozonics does remain the primary device designed for use while hunting. The other devices are mainly for odor elimination on gear.
First of Ozonics is not a cheap product. A full setup (Ozonics device, rechargeable batteries, tree bracket, and gear cleaning bag) can run you well over $500. Before you even think of buying an ozone scent control unit make sure you have all the other gear you need to be a successful hunter. Quality clothing and outerwear, a good weapon, treestands, quality knife, OnX subscription, and good optics should all come before you even think of buying an Ozonics unit. However, if you have all the other gear you need and are looking for a slight edge then I think it is a pretty cool product.
My entirely subjective experience has been that it seems to lead to me getting busted much less than I would before. It is not a 100% foolproof scent control solution. If you plan on smoking a cigarette while wearing clothes that your dog rolled on as you face downwind it’s just not going to fix that. However, if you play the wind and take other reasonable scent control measures I think an Ozonics unit can help. It is a masking device. The emission of ozone is meant to destroy and cover up your scent. The deer will eventually still smell you. However, instead of thinking you are close the deer may get a fainter smell than normal and assume you are several hundred yards away.
Last year, while hunting during the rut I decided to rip a few grunt calls. I was set up facing a field I expected the deer to enter before sunset with the wind blowing in my face. After letting out the grunt several deer came bounding in from my downwind side! Was it just rut behavior or was the Ozonics covering my scent? There’s no way to know for sure, but I’m a believer.
The Dri-Wash Bag
If you decide to purchase an Ozonics unit you can also buy an optional “Dri-Wash” bag. The large fabric wardrobe has a space at the top to attach your Ozonics unit and features several hangers and hooks inside. Before every hunt, I hang all of my clothes inside and run the dri-wash setting on my Ozonics unit. It runs an intense cycle of approximately 10 minutes to “scrub” the odor out of your gear. The results are pretty amazing. Everything that comes out of the bag smells fresh like just after a rainstorm (that is the smell of ozone too). I have even gone to the lengths of running my Ozonics unit inside my car briefly before leaving on the way to my hunting spot.
You don’t need to rush out and buy an Ozonics unit to kill deer. If you are smart and play the wind and keep your gear from odors you may hunt your whole career without needing ozone. However, if you are looking for an extra advantage that may buy you a few precious seconds with a deer in bow range I think its a great product. The ability to scrub gear in the dri-wash bag is almost worth the price alone, in my opinion. It is a steep price though at $600 for the newest Ozonics Orion unit. If you have the money and need to up your scent control game, you can pick one up at Ozonics’s website. I recommend getting an extra rechargeable XL battery and the dri-wash bag as well.