A Few Words on Ozonics

Just about everyone in the bowhunting world has heard about Ozonics.  If you haven’t, it’s a little portable ozone generator that renders your human scent inert.  Deer supposedly can’t wind you and it will turn you into the epitome of stealth in the deer woods.  It’s a popular product and has a legion of  dedicated users that swear by it, but before you go plunking down $400 on one of these units, there are a few things you should probably know.

What is Ozone?  Ozone is an allotrope of oxygen that is very unstable.  The oxygen we breathe exists in nature as two oxygen molecules that are double bonded.  This is how oxygen wants to exist.  It’s happy this way.  Ozone is the normal double bonded pair of oxygen atoms with an extra oxygen atom stuck on it.  Oxygen is not happy in this state and is very unstable.  It wants to revert to its normal state of two molecules instead of three so it will readily give the extra oxygen molecule away.  What does this mean to us as hunters?   In very, very, simplified terms, when ozone encounters a molecular compound of human smell (or any smell), it gives away its extra oxygen.  This changes the human smell to something different that is non threatening to deer.  This is oxidation and what makes ozone effective at destroying scent, mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Ozone has a variety of commercial applications, from sanitizing laundry in hospitals, to treating water in wastewater treatment plants.  Ozone generators are used in fire and water damage restorations to remove weird smells like mildew or smoke.  It is a very useful industrial tool, and like most industrial tools, it can also kill you deader than Custer’s nuts.  OZONE IS TOXIC GAS!  Ozone is listed as a primary irritant and will go to work on your respiratory system and eyes even in low concentrations.  The EPA has set regulatory guidelines on how much exposure is safe, however, and the Ozonics system “meets or exceeds” these safe levels.   Herein lies the problem.  The EPA states there is “evidence to show that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is not effective at removing many odor-causing chemicals, viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants.”   So there you have it.  Ozonics is meets or exceeds safety guidelines, but according to the EPA, anything under the limit isn’t effective at at destroying odor causes. Even more, the EPA is talking about these things in closed environments.  Trying to use an ozone generator outside to kill your scent is like trying to raise the level of the ocean by peeing in it. Further, the Ozonics company doesn’t release how much ozone the thing generates because it is “business confidential.”  You better get an industrial grade ozone generator cranked up because I smell bullshit.

The second biggest thing that makes me a non believer is there are no scientific studies to back the product up.  Yeah, there are a lot of “tests” on the internet, but there are no true scientific tests.  It is all based off of anecdotal evidence and tests that don’t utilize the scientific method.  It’s conjecture at best, bullshit at worst.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and there simply is none.  For every person who swears an Ozonics unit saved their hunt, there is another person who has had a deer walk 5 feet from them downwind with no Ozonics while smoking a cigarette and not spook.  People believe what they want to believe, hard facts and evidence be damned.

Hunters are a predictable bunch.

Hunters are a predictable bunch.

People are predictable, especially hunters.   They seem to always be looking for shortcuts or instant gratification.  The beauty of a product like the Ozonics is that it doesn’t even have to work, just give the illusion it is.  You don’t need  scientific backup or proof, just anecdotal evidence.  Couple this with some savvy marketing and you’ve got yourself a million dollar business.  I don’t fault the Ozonics people one bit for doing what they do; get that cash.  I fault hunters for being so damn desperate.  Put in your work, be patient, and you will be successful.  Drop all the extraneous gadgetry and just go hunt.  It’s more fun that way.  There’s a level uncertainty that makes hunting fun and exciting, and unlike the effectiveness of an ozone generator,  that much I can guarantee.