February 25, 2023
By Christian Berg
Consistently killing mature whitetail bucks is arguably the toughest trick in all of bowhunting, and that’s why serious deer hunters are always looking for an edge. That’s also why I’ve carried an Ozonics ozone generator in my pack for 10 years.
The science behind ozone’s ability to destroy odors is undeniable. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer used in a variety of industrial and medical settings, as well as to clean homes and other buildings after disasters such as fires and floods. Ozonics pioneered in-the-field use of ozone as an odor-elimination method for hunters way back in 2007 and is still the only company that offers products specifically designed for use while on stand or in the blind.
Although the company has a long history of success, the new Ozonics HR500 field unit is undoubtedly its most impressive creation. Featuring optimized fan placement and a new circuit board, the HR500 is notably quieter than previous versions of the company’s field units. In fact, Ozonics says the HR500 is up to 50 percent quieter than its OrionX ozone generator when used in Boost or Hyper Boost mode.
The other big news about the HR500 is the inclusion of Bluetooth wireless technology that allows users to control the unit via a free smartphone app and/or an optional push-button remote that can be attached to your bow, arm or pack for easy access.
Before I dive deeper into the HR500, let’s look at how Ozonics helps conceal your presence from deer and other game. When used in a stand or saddle, the unit mounts to the tree 6-12 inches over your head and is angled downward roughly 30 degrees in the direction the wind is blowing. Because ozone is heavier than air, as the Ozonics unit generates ozone and blows it out of the unit, the ozone molecules fall down through the air column, bind to your odor molecules and neutralize them before the wind can carry them to deer. Operation while hunting from a blind is similar, except you open one window on the downwind side of the blind to exhaust your scent and set up the Ozonics unit above the window opening so it can ozonate that scent as it leaves the blind.
While I can’t claim Ozonics is 100 percent effective at preventing deer from smelling you — after all, nothing is perfect under real-world hunting conditions — I have had enough encounters with animals that came in directly downwind without detecting me that an Ozonics unit long ago became standard equipment in my pack. Much like my American Express corporate card, I don’t leave home without it!
As far as basic operation of the HR500, it's identical to previous versions of Ozonics generators, albeit noticeably quieter. Where the HR500 really stands out is when used in tandem with the smartphone app and remote. The app proved super easy to install and set up, pairing with the HR500 immediately. Not only can you turn the HR500 on and off and change modes with the app, you can also see an estimate of remaining battery life displayed in hours and minutes, and the estimate updates automatically as you change operation modes (Standard, Boost, Hyper Boost, etc.). In addition, the app displays current weather information for your location, including temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and more.
In addition to the app, Ozonics offers a compact, push-button remote that pairs with the HR500. When the button is pressed, the remote increases the ozone output one level and sets a 15-minute timer, after which point the unit returns to its previous level of operation.
I attached the remote to my bow's riser using the included elastic strap. This allows me to access it with minimal movement, and without having to take my eyes off a deer to turn around and reach up to push buttons on the unit. So, let’s say I’m on stand and I see a buck approaching. All I have to do is push the remote button and my HR500 will automatically shift from Boost mode to Hyper Boost, increasing ozone output by roughly 25 percent for the next 15 minutes as an added concealment measure. Ozonics refers to the remote as the “panic button for deer hunters,” and I’d say that’s a pretty apt description!
The final thing I want to mention is the included EZ Mount arm. Featuring a pair of ball swivels, the mount is a significant improvement over prior versions, making it extremely easy to move the Ozonics unit into the position you need. The unit also comes with an XL battery and charger for extended operation in the field.
After using Ozonics units for the past decade, I’m excited to carry the HR500 afield this fall and take advantage of its new features, because as every serious whitetail hunter knows, it's very hard to defeat the nose of a mature buck! — Editor Christian Berg