DIY: Masking human scent, naturally

by Linda Gabris | October 26, 2022
Dad's Scent-Killer Spray
The brew before it’s strained into the spray bottle.

Note: dedicate an old cooking pot to these projects — you won’t want to cook in it again, unless you like the taste of pine.

Pine resin masking salve

Dad had many uses for this pitchy-smelling salve. He plastered it on cuts, sores, and blisters to prevent infections and speed healing. He rubbed it on sore muscles after a wearing day on the trail, used it as insect repellent, and slathered it on hunting boots to cover smells and waterproof the leather, making our old boots look as good as new.

How to make it:

  1. Put about 1/4 cup pine resin and 3/4 cup lard (like Dad, I use bear lard) into a small cast-iron pot or a tin can.
  2. Sit the pot (or can) in a kettle of boiling water and keep the water simmering until the contents have melted.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped beeswax and simmer to melt.
  4. Remove from stove, strain through a sieve into a heatproof dish and allow to harden.
  5. Spoon the salve into a lidded container.
Pine Resin Masking Salve

Dad’s scent-killer spray

When the late-season hunt was on, my dad would brew up a batch of his potent scent-killer spray, which he guaranteed would keep you smelling winter fresh.

How to make it:

  1. Gather a bucketful of green pine needles and stems cut into small pieces.
  2. Put into a large pot, add a quart of water, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Simmer for an hour or until liquid is reduced by about half.
  4. Remove from heat, cool.
  5. Pack the cooked pine needles (discard the sticks) tightly into a jar and cover with the liquid they were boiled in.
  6. Add the secret ingredient — 1 or 2 drops of wintergreen extract (get it wherever essential oils are sold). Let it sit a few days.
  7. Strain the concentrated liquid and funnel into a plastic spray bottle. Leftover liquid can be poured back over the needles and saved for another day.

Originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

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