Highly Contested Topic of Ozone: What you need to know!

by Eric Hall
Open any whitetail magazine, watch most whitetail hunting shows or google whitetail hunting and you are bound to find advertisements promoting ozone scent eliminating products.  Ozone products come in all shapes and all sizes using ozone to reduce and/or eliminate human odor while afield.  Let’s explore what ozone is and how it is used.

What is Ozone

Photo Credit: ozoneengineers.com

Ozone is the second most powerful oxidant in the world.  Ozone is created by using either a UV light or electrical charge across an emitter plate/coil to fracture oxygen molecules.  When fractured, oxygen (O2) is split creating a third oxygen molecule O3 or ozone.  The fractured third molecule seeks to re-attach itself to once again become O2.  It is through this process of seeking re-attachment that the third oxygen molecule will attach itself to bacteria, viruses, and odors, destroying these through oxidation.

Does Ozone Work
Ozone was discovered 150 years ago and is used in hospitals, dentistry, and industrial applications to name a few.  These applications use ozone to sanitize items and clean the air. This process has been proven effective.  Hot tubs use ozone to assist in the removal of contaminants from the water thus reducing the amount of chemical sanitizer needed to keep the water safe.

I was introduced to the power of ozone working for a company that provided heating and air conditioning to commercial truck drivers.  Drivers would smoke in their truck and our heat/air modules would hold that smell for the next driver.  The company created ozone machines that attached to the module drawing O3 through the unit.  I was skeptical this new item would have an impact but was quickly proven wrong.  We ran the units for 30 minutes and the module was as clean smelling as the day it was installed.

Ozone for Whitetail Hunting (In Field)

Ozonics in a ground Blind

Ozonics pioneered the use of ozone in the hunting industry.  Their infield ozone generators cast a blanket of ozone in the air reducing the amount of human odor that travels downwind.  The concept is that because ozone is heavier than oxygen, the falling layer of ozone creates a curtain between the hunter and the downwind side.  Human odor has to pass through the curtain of ozone allowing the O3 molecules to attack and destroy human scent before it reaches the whitetail’s nose.  The issue with the original Ozonics is that higher wind speeds can dissipate the ozone curtain before your scent can pass through.  Ozonics created a more powerful HR300 model to help combat this scenario.

Because ozone is an oxidizer you DO NOT want to be directly breathing it in.  When using a ground blind, you want the ozone blowing out of the blind.  An occasional whiff of the ozone is ok, but a constant smell means you need to relocate the Ozonics to ensure the O3 is exiting the blind.

I own one of the older Ozonic’s HR200 unit and have used it the past 2 seasons.  I can attest that I have not been winded using the Ozonics unit despite having deer on my downwind side.  I play the wind but we all know deer still will end up downwind of us.

This past season (2017) I set up off of a bedding area during Ohio’s firearms season.  The wind was blowing away from my stand adjacent to the bedding location.  Eleven deer funneled in – all doe and fawns.  One mature doe picked me off in the tree and stood downwind smelling the air.  The other deer simply fed and she continued to smell, circle and smell some more.  Eventually, all 11 deer ended up downwind anywhere from 15 to 50 yards away with not a single deer blowing and running off.  The old doe knew something was off, but never alarmed because she could not smell me.  The deer were downwind for 45 minutes after the first doe picked me off in the tree.  I credit my Ozonics for not getting busted.

Ozone for Whitetail Hunting (At Home)
The company Scent Crusher entered the ozone arena by introducing a system to “wash” your gear in ozone prior to entering the field.  The idea is using the oxidizing power of O3 to remove odors from the gear allowing you to be as scent-free as possible while hunting.  Other companies including Scent Lok and Ozonics have introduced machines, bags, and totes all designed to eliminate odors on gear before
going into the woods.

Ozonics tree stand useSome things to consider when treating your gear with ozone:

  • Ozone can break down natural rubber and elastic so avoid your rubber boots and items such as binocular straps
  • Avoid putting your safety harness in an ozone environment (mine actually says do not expose to ozone) to ensure its integrity
  • Ozone can cause rust on metal so I never put my firearms or bow into an ozone environment
  • Inspect your clothing, bib straps, waistbands, and cuffs to ensure the material can withstand ozone treatment (most can using the proper amount of ozone the above machines put out)  If you are unsure, google search the material name and ozone to make a determination

In 2017, I built an ozone closet in my garage.  I used a small ozone generator on a timer to pre-treat my clothing and some gear such as my pack, quiver, arrows, and tow ropes.  I treated all of my equipment for an entire season without any issue with the garments or my gear.  I was mindful of the above rules and sprayed my boots and binocular strap and safety harness instead of treating with ozone.  I can say my clothes never held a scent and the deer never smelled me all year long.

Final Thoughts
Scent control is a hot topic in the hunting circle and is not a one size fits all proposition.  Playing the wind should be first and foremost on a hunter’s mind as nothing is 100% full proof when it comes to scent elimination.  We all know deer upwind cannot smell you and, for years, hunters have had success simply by playing the wind.  If that is how you hunt, perfect, it fits your style and who you are. I agree with Mark Kenyon of Wired to Hunt when he talks about all the things that are out of your control when hunting and that it just makes sense to control the ones you can.  No matter if that consists of only playing the wind or adding the use of ozone, we all agree that if you cannot beat a whitetail’s nose it is game over.

Good luck in the upcoming season everyone.


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Author: Eric Hall

Afflicted with Whitetail OCD, I have been addicted to the Whitetail Deer since the late 1980s. It is an all-consuming and never-ending passion to learn about and ultimately preserve the heritage of whitetail deer hunting. Now I feed that addiction with the Whitetail OCD blog.

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