Interview: No-Nonsense Odor Control

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing hunting camp with Mike Jordan twice. He’s a no-b.s., firm-handshake, look-you-in-the-eyes kind of guy, and I would venture to guess he’s not capable of telling a lie.

by Josh Dahlke

Content Director MORE FROM Josh

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing hunting camp with Mike Jordan twice. He’s a no-b.s., firm-handshake, look-you-in-the-eyes kind of guy, and I would venture to guess he’s not capable of telling a lie. He’s one hell of a hunter with decades of whitetail experience. He’s also the head cheese at Atsko—a company that has been making odor-control products since red flannel was replaced with blaze orange. It’s always refreshing to speak with Mike and tap into his deer knowledge, especially as it relates to tactics for duping their noses.  Here’s what he had to say during our recent chat …


HuntStand: Let’s get down to brass tacks. In your opinion, what are the best ways for deer hunters to minimize their human odor?
Jordan: Odor control is a system. It’s not a “spray something on and you’re done” kind of deal. You have to start with a thorough shower with an odor-eliminating soap. You need to scrub. The cleaner you can get with the less bacteria on your skin, the less odor you’ll emit. A base layer with silver is helpful because it kills bacteria. Make sure you wash your hunting clothes with a scent-free and UV-free laundry detergent. You have to be very careful about product labels.

HuntStand: How does bacteria affect human odor?
Jordan: Bacteria are odorless, but the waste products of bacteria create odor. When you perspire, you’re feeding the bacteria on your skin. It’s always on your skin. The colonies are continuously growing. Some are very beneficial, but they still generate a waste product that has an odor to it.

HuntStand: Can you think of any part of a hunter’s scent-control system that is often overlooked?
Jordan: Yes … the inside of your body has to be taken care of as well. Your diet is important. If you’ve been around people who eat a lot of garlic, it will come out of their pores. You need to watch what you eat coming into deer season. Also, don’t touch anything when you’re traveling to and from your stand. A lot of people will move brush or other objects out of the way on a trail, but you need to weave your way around stuff and try to not touch anything. Leave as clean of a trail as possible.

HuntStand: You mentioned that consumers should pay attention to product labels. Can you explain what you mean?
Jordan: Most of the odor-control products on the market today work well. For your shampoos and body washes, you want to stay away from anything with fragrance. Also, I’m not a fan of enzymes simply because they can be too damaging to skin. I like products that contain silver. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” that comes from the olden days when sanitation wasn’t plentiful, so eating off of silver helped people to stay healthy. For your clothing, it gets more complicated. Again, I won’t use enzyme-based detergents or sprays for my hunting clothes because they leave too much residue.

HuntStand: So, what’s the magic behind Atsko scent-control products?
Jordan: Sport-Wash laundry detergent is a straight-chain vegetable surfactant made with a coconut-based product. The straight chain is one of the keys to it. Without getting technical, it’s able to go into clothing material, grab odors, and get out. Other products that aren’t straight-chain surfactants will get stuck in the material and leave a residue, and that usually creates an unwanted odor. We created our body wash and shampoo with straight-chain surfactants, too, but we had to add some additional ingredients to be gentle on skin. Our No-Odor spray is an oxidizer. If you look at steel rusting or things rotting in the woods, that’s oxidation going to work. When you spray on No-Odor, it oxidizes odors and changes them into a salt. You can spray it on your skin, or even in your mouth. If you’re using a scent-control spray, it should always be safe to put on your bare skin.

HuntStand: Do you use cover scents?
Jordan: I’m not a fan of cover scents at all because they just tell a deer there’s something strange in the area. They’re not natural and will usually make deer alert, and that’s not something I want.

HuntStand: How do you factor wind into your whitetail hunting strategy?
Jordan: I always try to consider wind conditions when deciding where I’ll hunt. But wind is tricky, so you need to understand how wind is blowing from a particular stand. I blow bubbles from my stands—the kind in a bottle with a wand, like kids use—to see where and how the bubbles travel around trees and other objects. The terrain will influence where the wind blows and how it affects your scent cone. The wind might be at your back, but you need to realize what the terrain and temperature are doing. In the morning, currents go up as the heat rises. Later in the day, the air sinks. Just remember: A buck won’t always walk with his nose to the wind. I don’t know who ever came up with that, but it’s nonsense. If that was the case, all the bucks would be in Canada by now!

HuntStand: Do you have any final words of wisdom for whitetail hunters?
Jordan: Keep in mind that, even with the best scent-control system, all we’re doing is trying to make a deer believe we’re farther away than we actually are. That’s all scent-control products really do.



HuntStand is the #1 hunting and land management app in the country. It combines advanced mapping tools with powerful map layers to allow users to create and share the best hunting maps possible.