Scents & Dollars

A lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minn. alleges that carbon-activated, odor-eliminating hunting clothing does not perform as advertised and that hunters have been defrauded by the company that produces and licenses it. Scentlok

An article by outdoor writer Doug Smith in yesterday’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that four Minnesota men have filed suit against Michigan-based ALS Enterprises Inc., the company that makes and markets Scent-Lok and ScentBlocker hunting clothing. Named as co-defendants are companies and retailers licensed to produce similar garments, including Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and Browning.

The suit alleges conspiracy and deception by the defendants.

“Consumers have been duped into spending significant amounts of money on a product that does not work as represented,” the suit states.

But according to the Star-Tribune article, Mike Andrews, vice president of marketing for ALS, defends the company’s products and says the suit is totally without merit.

“We’ve done years of research...we have hundreds of testimonials from consumers over the years,” he said. “We know it works. And we’re excited about the opportunity to prove to the world once and for all how effective our product is.”

If the plaintiffs get their wish, ALS may indeed be forced to prove just that.

The suit was filed September 13 by four Minnesota hunters who purchased the ALS-licensed apparel--Mike Buetow of Shakopee, Theodore Carlson of Edina, Gary Richardson Jr. of St. Paul and Joe Rohrbach of Shakopee. Not surprisingly, attorneys say they will seek class-action status for the suit, alleging that “tens of thousands” of Minnesota hunters have been deceived by the defendants into buying millions of dollars of the clothing advertised as odor-eliminating.

Questions and doubt surrounding the legitimacy and performance of scent-blocking hunting clothing have swirled around the hunting community since the apparel first hit the market in the mid-1990s.

It was probably inevitable that sooner or later lawyers and courts would become involved in the controversy.

Stay tuned on this one, Newshounders!