Monday, July 23, 2018

Sitka's New Early Season Whitetail

Hunting in the south is at times, unbearable. Our season here in South Carolina opens in mid August, during what is known as the "dog days" of the summer. Relentless heat and humidity that is so thick, that as we say, "you don't breathe the air, you swallow." 

Sitting in a deer stand when the temperature is triple digits, humidity pushing 90% is just plain miserable. But in order to have the chance to kill a velvet buck, you have to endure the torment. 

For over forty years, I and other hunters have sought clothing that could help with the heat. In the early days, there was only denim and cotton. It was tough trying to get a short hunt before the morning sun made it unbearable. Afternoons were worse, with the hottest time of the day being between 3:00 and 5:00, getting into the stand was not possible without leaving a strong scent trail and being comfortable. 

Thankfully, technology is advancing and clothing is getting better and cooler to wear. For over a decade now, Sitka Gear has turned the hunting garment world on its head with the technology they are introducing to the industry. Today marks a new launch into a new direction for Sitka Gear. With the introduction of their Early Season Whitetail (ESW) line, Sitka has listened to hunters and designed the lightest weight clothing available for those early season jaunts. 

“For the early season, it was important to design something that not only allows for quiet movement in the stand, but also maximizes breathability and odor control,” said Chris Derrick, SITKA Gear’s Whitetail Product Manager. “In addition to lightweight fabrics and body mapped mesh ventilation, we add Polygiene® to prevent the build-up of odor on the garments, significantly reducing the odor profile.” 
The new Early Season Whitetail Series is the lightest line SITKA’s created in the whitetail realm. It is optimized for ventilation, stealth and odor control in warm weather. With complete Polygiene® odor control and durable, quiet fabrics that are body- mapped for absolute breathability, ESW works hard for the hunter sweating it out on warm weather hunts. 
Like all SITKA systems, the ESW system is designed for layering. Streamlined cuts allow users to add insulation over the top of ESW gear as temperatures cool. It is available in the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Elevated II™ pattern
 Here is a breakdown of the new ESW line. 

ESW Pant:    

  • A technical hunting pant ready to go to work in the whitetail woods. The durable four-way stretch polyester stands up to the brush but offers great breathability and stretch to make getting in and out of the stand a breeze while body-mapped mesh ventilation in the gusset and pockets keeps your scent and body temp low. For added stealth, we incorporated Permanent Polygiene® Odor Control Technology throughout plus cargo pockets that feature silent snaps and divided panels to prevent gear from rattling around.
    • Key Features:
      • Mesh Pockets & Gusset for Ventilation & Odor Control
      • Cargo Pockets with silent snaps and gear dividers
      • Permanent Polygiene® odor control technology
      • Durable water repellent finish
      • Fabric Details: Quick Dry 4-Way Stretch Woven Polyester
      • Colors: GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Elevated II Concealment Pattern
      • MSRP: $149

ESW Shirt:

  • Optimized for warm weather performance, the ESW Shirt features a lightweight stretch polyester in the body and arms for a quiet draw, silent snaps for quiet layering, mesh pits for ventilation, and complete Permanent Polygiene® Odor
    Control Technology throughout. The ESW Shirt will be a reliable tool for the whitetail hunter and can be worn on its own in the heat or as a foundation for layered insulation as autumn sets in.
    • Key Features:
      • Button-up front with silent snaps for stealthy layering
      • Mesh pit panels for ventilation and odor control
      • Tall collar for added sun & bug protection
      • Permanent Polygiene® odor control technology
      • Durable water repellent finish
      • Fabric Details: Quick-Drying 4-Way Stretch-Woven Polyester
      • Colors: GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Elevated II Concealment Pattern
      • MSRP: $129

ESW Glove: 

  • A technical shooting glove for the discerning bow hunter. A durable Cordura nylon back and synthetic leather palm will withstand many seasons of abuse while the exposed and reinforced thumb and forefinger design enable an accurate and
    unhindered release to help you arrow the monarch you patterned all summer.
    • Key Features: 
      • Exposed & Reinforced thumb/forefinger for precision shooting
      • Permanent Polygiene® Odor Control Technology
      • Fabric Details: Nylon Cordura with Ax-Suede Leather Palm
      • Colors: GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Elevated II Concealment Pattern
      • MSRP: $79

ESW Hat:

  • Streamlined and featherlight, the ESW Hat features a rounded brim, breathable mesh back and Permanent Polygiene® Odor Control Technology to keep the sun and
    sweat at bay.
    • Key Features:
      • Breathable Mesh Back
      • Low-Profile Closure
      • Permanent Polygiene® odor control technology
      • Fabric Details: Quick-Dry Bi-Component Polyester Knit Front Panels, Mesh Polyester Back Panels
      • Colors: GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Elevated II Concealment Pattern
      • MSRP: $30

I am anxious to try the new ESW. Our season is right around the corner. I will be bow hunting in August, hoping for that elusive velvet buck, and then turn around and head to Florida for some pigs at the end of August. Both of these hunts should be a great test for the Early Season Whitetail line from Sitka Gear. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Is Perfect Scent Control Possible?

A recent discovery of mine are Pod Casts. I have found a few hunting and outdoor related Pod Casts that I really enjoy. And when i find myself traveling, which is often, I tune into a Pod Cast to listen, learn and pass the time on the long road trips. 

Image result for whitetail deer smellingAt the end of last week, I was listening to a Pod Cast (I will not name it here) and the guest the host was interviewing is a well known outdoor writer and accomplished hunter. During this interview about how to hunt and kill big mature whitetail deer on high pressure ground, the guest made the statement; "My scent control is perfect, I don't pay any attention to the wind."

When I heard this, I pulled the truck over, rewound the sequence and listened again, and again and again. Was I really hearing what I thought I heard? Did he say, his "scent control is perfect..."? Indeed he did say that, and throughout the interview he kept eluding to the fact that he does not pay any attention to the wind - because his scent control is so - well....perfect.

I know I am not the most accomplished hunter out there. Not by a long shot. There are throngs of hunters who are far more successful than me. So once I heard this, I began to poll many of them. I called, texted and emailed a dozen or so world class hunters and asked them this simple question. "Do you think it is possible for your scent control to be so perfect that you can ignore the wind when hunting mature whitetails?" 100% of those I polled said - "No I do not think that is possible."

Frankly I must concur. The whitetail deer has a nose that has been well documented. His ability to smell, and detect unnatural odors are so keen, I personally believe it is impossible to completely hide your human odor enough that he cannot smell you under the right conditions. Meaning, if he gets down wind of you, regardless of how good your scent control is, he will smell you.

Killing mature bucks is difficult even under the best situations. Totally ignoring the wind is something you do to your peril. In places of high pressure or low. Agriculture fields or big woods, small parcels or not, ignoring the wind results in an enjoyable sit in the woods with little activity.

To kill big bucks, or any bucks for that matter, the number one thing you must pay attention to is the wind direction. You must hunt with the wind in your favor - 100% of the time.

Scent control sprays, soaps and laundry detergent all help - a lot. But they do not take the place of woodsmanship and hunting the wind is lesson number one.