As the young Kansas buck ambled toward me along a travel corridor, I knew I'd soon learn if my buddy's Ozonics unit is all he, and the company, claim it is. Downwind the entire time, the buck stopped at less than 15 yards away. I expected that he'd toss his nose in the wind, but he didn't. He just stood there, dazed and licking his nose repeatedly, never once acting alert. He was there at least 20 minutes.
I believe the Ozonics unit not only kept me from being busted, but it kept the buck around longer, and sparked some peculiar behavior I hadn't previously witnessed. I mean, the buck had no reason to stand in that place for that length of time — the area wasn't baited or anything like that.
I experienced similar results two mornings later when a 2-year-old 10-pointer fed directly downwind from me for half an hour in another location. Like the other buck, he never once became alert. These two encounters made me believe that ozone technology was the missing element in my hunting strategy.
Perhaps you're considering purchasing an ozone unit, or maybe you know nothing about them. Either way, let's discuss how they work and how using one can make you a more effective, and successful, bowhunter.
What is Ozone Technology?
Is there a better way to understand ozone technology than to discuss it with those who pioneered it into the hunting world? I believe not. So, I visited with Ozonics' Buddy Piland.
"Ozone technology is a scientific principle at the molecular level," Piland shared. "Ozone is created when you use high-voltage electricity to crack an oxygen molecule. When that molecule breaks up, the pieces want to reattach to something. When they reattach to another oxygen molecule, O3 is created, which is ozone — a powerful oxidant.
"Ozone was discovered about 150 years ago, and it's been used extensively in industrial applications," Piland said. "It destroys bacteria. Human odor is bacteria, which brings us to how ozone makes scientific sense as an effective hunting tool."
Ozone for Hunting Applications
Though it wasn't discovered until 150 years ago, ozone has been around since the beginning of time. "Every time lightning strikes the ground, thousands of pounds of ozone are created," Piland said. "Ozonics units create that same fresh smell you inhale outdoors after a storm.
"Ozonics founder Dr. Scott Elrod is a dentist by trade," Piland said. "He'd been using ozone machines in his dental practice for equipment sterilization, room sterilization and to kill odor. One day while cauterizing tissue on a patient with a laser, which creates a repulsive burnt-flesh odor, Elrod had an assistant bring an ozone machine into the room to see if it would help reduce the odor. To Elrod's amazement, the machine completely destroyed the odor, and he could no longer smell it."
Being an avid outdoorsman and passionate elk hunter, Elrod's wheels began turning. "He felt that if ozone destroyed the unsettling smells of cauterization, perhaps it had hunting applications," Piland said. "For about three years, Elrod continued thinking on this concept, and the first Ozonics prototypes were designed and built in 2007. We tested the units on free-range whitetails in South Texas. The results blew us away."
According to Piland, many misconceive that when game animals bust hunters that they are smelling the hunter. "The reality is that the animal doesn't smell you," he shared. "They smell the odor you create or have come into contact with as it flows into the downwind airstream. The primary difference between us as a scent-elimination company and the others in that niche is that we don't worry about what you're wearing, what you smell like or what you're spraying onto yourself — not saying those things won't help or aren't important. The fact is that if we can keep the air between us and the animal clean, it doesn't matter what we smell like.
"In hunting applications, Ozonics units flood the downwind airstream with powerful oxidizing molecules," Piland said. "Those molecules do what God created them to do. [The molecules] want to return to their normal state, and they search for anything to connect to. Ideally, [the molecules] want to connect with another single [molecule] and become O2 again, but they often connect to pollen, dust and moisture. In this case, they connect with odors — bacteria — you release into the downwind airstream."
Piland used a scaled-up illustration to explain that interaction. "Imagine your human-odor molecule as a huge pickup truck and the ozone molecules as tiny BBs," he said. "When all of the 'BBs' attack that 'pickup truck,' they destroy it. Almost instantly, the human-odor footprint dissolves. We always say that human odor in the presence of ozone for the right amount of time, and at the right concentration, will be eliminated. Aside from that, ozone always alters and reduces human odor."
Ozone Creates Opportunities
While visiting, Piland discussed how thousands of products annually enter the hunting world, but few actually create opportunities. "Most products are designed to help you maximize existing opportunities — faster bow, better rest, etc.," he suggested.
"Ozone, when used correctly, becomes powerfully effective, and even creates opportunities to hunt in situations where the wind is shifty or marginal. In the past, I'd never hunt stands on poor winds, even if I had only a couple of days to hunt, because I knew I'd see few deer, if any, and the ones I would see would spook. Now, I do hunt stands on marginal winds, and I do it successfully. Again, Ozonics creates opportunities to hunt that didn't previously exist."
After using an Ozonics unit last fall and seeing it work, plus understanding the technology more clearly by discussing it with Piland, ozone has found a permanent place in my hunting arsenal. I'm here to tell you that if you're not using it, you're missing a critical component to your approach.
Don't Overlook Your Vehicle
You use scent-eliminating products religiously while you hunt, but did you forget about your ride to and from hunting locations? Fuel, coffee, perfume and exhaust all make your vehicle into a scent factory. With Scent Crusher's Ozone Go ($49.99), don't be fooled by its minute dimensions, which are .76x4.33x1.6 inches.
With it you can remove odors, bacteria and contaminants from your vehicle. This nifty little tool simply plugs into a 12-volt outlet in your car or truck. Ozone Go has a 30-minute automatic timer, then cycles generated ozone after that. And, it has an LED Ozone Emittance Light. The unit has a two-year warranty and is maintenance- and chemical-free.
45 % More Ozone
Ozonics' HR-300 ($499.99) is the company's latest in-the-field ozone generator. It's slightly larger than the proven HR-200, which results in 45% more ozone output. The HR-300 utilizes Pulse Technology, which is designed to balance time and ozone concentration to optimize scent elimination.
The HR-300 is compatible with Ozonics' multiple ozone delivery platforms, including the Kinetic pack and Dri-Wash Descenting System. And, with the new Smart Battery, users can monitor their remaining battery life. The unit weighs merely 16 ounces, and that 1 pound could spell the difference between blowing deer or a broadside shot opportunity.
Scentlok fans: one of the market's most versatile ozone generators has arrived. Enter Scentlok Enforcer ($99.95). This personal-sized ozone generator is designed to quietly produce balanced amounts of ozone that seek out and destroy odor and bacteria molecules in its path. The Enforcer is ideal for use in enclosed areas such as totes, closets and gear bags.
The Enforcer goes a step further by offering a power bank with which to charge tablets and smartphones. The rechargeable, pocket-sized Enforcer gives you 8 hours of battery life along with 1- and 3-hour operating modes. Bar none, the Enforcer solves your odor-control needs.
The Big Mouth
Kill odor on your clothing and gear overnight in Whitetail'R's ScentPURGE BigMOUTH Bag Kit ($140). Designed durably and with weather-resistance, the BigMOUTH Bag has taped seams and a rip-stop lining.
In the past, hunters had to wash clothing after each hunt in order to eliminate bacteria-producing sweat. With the BigMouth Bag, which features dimensions of 24x17.5x12 inches, simply toss your gear in and turn the ozone-generating unit on low overnight to destroy all odors and bacteria. It's that easy!