Tested True — Ozonics HR500

This beefed-up ozone generator will give you an edge on wily whitetails and other big-game critters by nuking your scent molecules.

by Darron McDougal

Two dots appeared across the winter wheat field about 500 yards away. My binoculars revealed two muley bucks aimed my way, and one was a dandy. I was positioned 20 feet up a lone cottonwood tree in the middle of the field, and given the tilled-up snow revealing tender, green winter wheat shoots beneath my treestand, I believed the bucks would wander within bow range. 

Then, it occurred to me: The wind was wrong. It was blowing directly towards the deer. Regardless, the duo just kept coming. The bucks made it to 400 yards, then 300, then 200. At 100 yards and still closing, I realized I’d outfoxed their noses. The smaller buck passed by at 42 yards and began grazing on winter wheat; he was calm. 

I drew my bow as the larger buck walked by at 42 yards. The brute took two more steps and fed at a slightly quartering-away angle, putting him at 44 yards. My arrow arced and made contact. Perfect placement yielded an easy 40-yard recovery. How did I avoid detection as the bucks cut the distance from 500 to about 40 while being downwind the entire time? I’d been running Ozonics’ HR300 ozone generator in Boost mode. That’s how.

This late-season muley buck and another one came from downwind during the author’s DIY hunt a few seasons ago, and they never detected McDougal because he was running his Ozonics HR300 in Boost mode. (Photo by Darron McDougal)

Ozone Science 

It’s not new, but ozone is one of the most revolutionary advantages for deer and other big game hunting. In addition to those mule deer bucks, I’ve had many different animals directly downwind while running my Ozonics unit, and the results speak for themselves. 

The first time I used Ozonics was when a friend borrowed me his early model, and that afternoon, I had a 1-1/2-year-old buck directly downwind and only 15 yards away. He spent 15 minutes right there. He smelled the ozone, but it obliterated my human odors because he remained calm the entire time. 

In another instance, I was bowhunting elk over a natural seep in Idaho’s mountains. A cow elk came in for a drink. Due to the slope, my treestand was at eye level with the seep. For about 10 minutes, she stood 7 yards away and displayed the same calm behavior as the buck I just referenced. She smelled the ozone, not me. Not once during the encounter did she grow suspicious. 

The Magic Box

If you don’t have any experience with ozone, then you’re probably wondering how this “magic box” exactly works. A few years ago, when using ozone was new, I got some education from Ozonics’ Buddy Piland. He told me, “Ozone technology is a scientific principle at the molecular level. Ozone is created when you use high-voltage electricity to crack an oxygen molecule. When that molecule breaks up, the pieces want to reattach to something. When they reattach to another oxygen molecule, O3 is created, which is ozone — a powerful oxidant.”

Ozone’s discovery happened about 150 years ago and has been used extensively in industrial applications. It destroys bacteria. Human odor is bacteria, which brings us to how ozone makes scientific sense as an effective hunting tool.

“In hunting applications,” Piland continued, “Ozonics units flood the downwind airstream with powerful oxidizing molecules. Those molecules do what God created them to do. The molecules want to return to their normal state and search for anything to connect to. Ideally, the molecules want to connect with another single molecule and become O2 again, but they often connect to pollen, dust, and moisture. In this case, they connect with odors — bacteria — you release into the downwind airstream.”

In simpler terms, Piland said that an Ozonics machine essentially cleans the air between you and the animal, drastically decreasing your chances of being detected, as the anecdotes I shared earlier exhibit. 

The HR500 has a few different modes depending on the situation. (Photo by Darron McDougal)

 The Most Advanced Ozonics Is Here

I’ve had a lot of downwind success stories using the Ozonics HR 300 unit. If I could complain about anything, it would be the fact that having the machine running above me is just loud enough to make it challenging to hear animals approaching. But, the ability to stay undetected makes the noise a worthwhile sacrifice. 

Ozonics followed up the HR300 with the OrionX, which is quieter and has a more substantial ozone output. But the new HR500 is even better. It’s just as powerful and has all the features of the OrionX, including Pulse Technology, which ensures proper ozone output. 

However, it’s a whopping 40 percent quieter in Boost mode than the OrionX. The secret is in the noise-dampening rubber overmold. The HR500 also delivers a 25-percent increase in ozone output over the HR300, making it even more effective at thwarting odor molecules. 

Get this: The HR500, which comes with an Ozonics XL battery, is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing users to control it through the Ozonics app. In the past, you had to power Ozonics units by pushing the power button. In a treestand, this entailed standing up, turning around, and reaching up into the air. That’s a lot of movement, and Ozonics solved the problem by putting control in the palm of your hand. 

Accessorizing the HR500

If you’re not into apps, the HR500 Remote is a sweet accessory (sold separately) that gives you the same advantage of operating the unit with practically zero movement. The remote has a clip to be linked to a belt loop or perhaps a binocular strap so that it doesn’t slip from your hand and fall to the ground. 

Sold separately, this HR500 Remote allows you to control the unit with virtually zero visible movement. (Photo by Darron McDougal)

As for mounting the HR500 in hunting scenarios, there are several options. When hunting from the ground, I thread in a tripod shoe and mount the unit to my tripod. This allows the HR500 to set up virtually anywhere — hint, hint, elk hunters. An alternative for the mobile hunter is the Kinetic Pack, which will enable you to run the HR500 on your back while moving. 

For treestand hunting, the Smart Arm Mounting System allows for easy and quiet connection. If you’re hunting on public lands where screwing anything into a tree is illegal, the Ozonics Cam Buckle Smart Tree Mount is your ticket. You’ll need the EZ Mount for these options. If you hunt from a pop-up blind, get the Blind Bracket, and if you’re hunting from a hard-sided blind, go with the Hard Side Blind Mounting Bracket. In other words, there are options for all types of hunting. 

The Carry Bag has storage compartments for the HR500 plus a tree mount, remote and extra battery. (Photo by Darron McDougal)

It might seem like a hassle to haul an Ozonics HR500 (plus the accessories) afield every time you hunt, but Ozonics offers streamlined and organized ways to keep your ozone ducks in a row. I already mentioned the Kinetic Pack, but for a smaller setup, consider the Carry Bag, which has plenty of room for the unit and accessories, including a second XL battery for all-day hunts.  

Get the Edge

It’s undeniable that carrying an Ozonics unit with accessories and setting it up when you hunt adds another layer to your gear bag. However, the advantage of using an ozone unit such as the HR500 is that it can save your hunt. I’ve used Ozonics units since 2016, and I’ve had downwind encounter after downwind encounter, proving that harnessing ozone’s effectiveness could be the difference between following a blood trail or hearing deer snort and watching white tails going the other way. 

 To that end, if you aren’t using an Ozonics unit or are ready to upgrade to the latest and greatest, the HR500 is the edge your hunting strategy is missing.  

 

 

 

 

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