October 07, 2007

You Didn't Need 'Scent-Lok' Anyway

This cracks me up: ALS Clothing, maker of "Scent-Lok" hunting clothes, which are in all the catalogs (Cabela's here), is being sued on the grounds that its product does not work.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota alleges the clothing doesn't work and hunters have been - and continue to be - defrauded. . . .

Attorneys are requesting a class-action status for the suit, saying that "tens of thousands" of Minnesota hunters have been deceived into buying millions of dollars of odor-eliminating clothing. . . .

The question of the efficacy of scent-blocking technology has, indeed, been one that has been heavily debated since the introduction of the technology more than a decade ago. Now, it seems the question may be one with millions of dollars at stake.

Honestly, I sometimes wonder how ancient hunters with their atlatls and bows killed anything at all, considering that they lacked Gore-Tex, GPS positioning systems, all-terrain vehicles, binoculars, and Game Ear hearing amplifiers.

Since I suspect that they rarely bathed, perhaps they just watched the wind?

Nature writer Dave Petersen of Durango, Colorado makes that point in his new book A Man Made of Elk:

In order to hunt safely, comfortably, with dignity and success, we don't need an $8,000 ATV perched on a $3,000 trailer pulled by a $40,000 SUV to get us there and home. We don't need "scent-proof" designer camo clothing, electronic trail-timers and infrared cameras, automatic game "feeders" (in fact high-tech bait stations), optical rangefinders, cell phones, Taj Mahal portable ground binds and tree stands and on and on el barfo.

Dave's book is worth buying though.


mdmnm said...

I shouldn't be surprised at the lawsuit, but I am. I've always thought that a certain amount of hyperbole is part of the charm of outdoor product advertising- that magical lure that fish can't resist, those shotshells that pattern so perfectly you never miss, the aforementioned bionic ear that will take you right to the game. I've been reading that the legal profession is in a hiring slump right now, perhaps this is a symptom of hungry lawyers.

I, too, doubt that our ancestors used scent suppression very much, but, although it is a pain to practice, it can really help when you're on a steep hillside with a swirling breeze. Some of the laundry soaps and scent killer sprays seem to work pretty well. I've never gone to the effort of washing down with baking soda and putting on clean clothing isolated in plastic bags just before going out, but I've known bow hunters who have done all that to substantial success.

Anonymous said...

Is hunting still a sport when you've been outfitted with all of that gear? Where's the fun? Where's the challenge?

It'd be like playing a baseball game against 4 year olds. Does it still count?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Moe, as long as elk-hunting success rates hover around 20 percent, I don't think we are playing that hypothetical basketball game yet.

If we did, it might look like the hunt described in Will Baker's excellent Shadow Hunter.

mdmnm said...

Chas- Just to pile on, as I'm sure you know not only do the success rates hover around 20 percent, but that 20 percent consists of a minority of really hard working guys who put a lot into it (w/ or w/o technology) and fill out just about every year, a fair number of guys who get lucky once in a while (me!) and a bunch of folks who might stumble upon an elk, but for the most part are lucky to fill a tag in a decade or two. It is not an even distribution.
I decided a while back that any legal bull taken in a unit with a large draw or across-the-counter tags is a trophy.