Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007
If deer were not so numerous in Mississippi — 1.75 million estimated, fifth highest population density in the U.S. — you might think Greg Hood was providing hunters with an unfair advantage.
After he built his Southern Game Calls business, perfecting duck and turkey calls in competition and in the field, he turned his attention to the development of a deer grunt call and to techniques of its use that consistently lure big bucks into range.
And now here he comes with this shirt — the Activator Shirt designed to eliminate the human odor of the hunter.
“There’s nothing out there even remotely like it,” said Hood, who parleyed his love for hunting and an understanding of animals into a reputation as “the number one wildlife communicator in the country.”
But the Activator Shirt is designed for what it does not communicate to wildlife — human scent. It incorporates the Activator Scent Control System, a combination of an anti-microbial shirt and an odor eliminator.
It was a lengthy process. Hood found a manufacturer to make his shirt and found a chemical scent manufacturer who experimented with him and his staff. Over a five-year period, as they studied deer while filming, they field-tested their shirts. Even though there were two people filming while their subject hunted, they noticed “more deer coming to us,” Hood said, and continually asked themselves, “What makes these deer come and just stay?”
“The two most important things to a hunter should be movement and scent,” Hood said. “It doesn’t matter what age deer, they think through their nose and mouth,” he continued. “If I can make you smell like your surrounding area, then I can make you invisible.”
Southern Game Calls offers smells of the surrounding area in flavors of acorn, corn, pine, cedar, earth, persimmon and so on. The smells are impregnated in the shirt before the sale. The shirt is then placed in a plastic, air-tight tube in which it is sold and to which it should be returned following each washing. The original scent impregnation last 20 to 25 washings. A spray bottle of scent is also included in the purchase to renew the scent after washing.
Hood, whose Clarksdale-based Southern Game Calls has incorporated Batesville manufacturing expertise of Accu-Tech Plastics and the woodworking skill of Batesville resident Eldon Montague into his game calls production, has also found a Mississippi-based manufacturer for his garment. Gator Athletic, Inc. of Clarksdale is located less than two miles away.
“My whole thing is to bring more attention to our area; to use it to bring more attention to Mississippi,” Hood said. suppliers to produce this garment development.
We’re just rednecks that hunt,” Hood continued. Most hunting products, he said, are produced by conglomerates that have teams of scientists, marketing specialists, hunters and millions of dollars. Yet none of them considered the source of human scent.
“For five years, we didn’t know what we had,” Hood said of the development by what he describes as his “Mickey Mouse” company of the scent-arresting Activator shirt.
“The whole point is that scent is created from the gland,” Hood continued. The scents imbedded into the shirt mix with human odor and “confuse game by multi-layering body scents with scents the animal is used to.”
“You cannot be invisible in the woods with an odor,” Hood added. “As long as there have been hunters, there has been a desire to get closer to and be undetected by the game, Hood said. “This was done by the native Indians, market hunters and even professional hunters of today. Wildlife have their own camouflage and often they are undetected until they move. Scent has its role in wildlife too, that is what sets predator and prey apart. The neutral smells between predator and prey are the ones that truly become undetected,” he continued.
The Activator Shirt came to the market late for this year’s deer season, but as soon as word spread of its availability, Hood said, Southern Game Calls heard from all over the country: “‘We want to know about the shirt.’”
It is available directly from its developer at southerngamecalls.com., 662-627-1967.