The key to the effectiveness of a cover scent is how well it matches the aromas of the area you hunt. Commercial scents work fine, but they’re not always regionally accurate. However, you can make your own scent for next to nothing and tailor it to your hunting grounds.
Collect vegetation from your home woods and put it in a pot of water. Aromatic plants make the best cover scents because they’ll infuse more oils and resin into the solution when cooked. This usually means evergreens like balsam fir, spruce, pine, and cedar, though you can use deciduous leaves or forbs like sassafras, sage, or goldenrod. If there aren’t any strongly aromatic plants around, gather duff from the forest floor, and don’t be afraid to throw in a little loose soil. You can also use fruits and nuts and make a solution that works as both a cover and an attractant.
Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. The longer you boil it, the more concentrated your broth will be; however, boiling for too long might vaporize some of the aroma you’re trying to capture. It’s best to use as little water as possible.
Strain the solution through cheesecloth, a piece of game bag, or an old T-shirt to remove any particulates that might clog your applicator. Once it has cooled, pour into a clean spray bottle. If you use scent-eliminating spray, save your empties for this purpose and relabel them.
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