September 24, 2007, - 5:15 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Since I’m not a hunter (my religion forbids hunting for sport and my religious dietary laws require food has to be slaughtered and killed in captivity, not by a bullet), I don’t know a lot about masking human scents from animals when you hunt. But I can smell sleazy class-action attorneys a mile away.
Some hunters are suing a sporting goods maker because they claim that hunting clothing purporting to mask the human scent didn’t work. Like I said, I don’t know anything about hunting, but it smells a little fishy to me, since the hunters are suing at least 23 different parties, including all of the major hunting equipment retailers (Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shops).
With or without their vests, I can smell the scent of sleazy lawyers looking to make a class-action killing from hunting down big hunting industry companies with deep pockets whom they believe will settle to get rid of it:
Four Minnesota hunters are suing a Muskegon Township clothing manufacturer and the nation’s largest outdoors retailers, claiming that clothing they bought to mask the human scent doesn’t work, and that hunters have been defrauded for years.
The lawsuit was filed this month in federal court in Minneapolis against ALS Enterprises Inc. of Muskegon Township, which produces and licenses “Scent-Lok” clothing sold under that name and others. The lawsuit says the company is the largest maker of such clothing and licenses it to at least 22 others, including Gander Mountain Co., Cabela’s Inc., Bass Pro Shops Inc. and Browning Arms Co. — which are also named as defendants.
The lawsuit claims the five businesses conspired to deceive consumers and suppressed and concealed the truth. “Consumers have been duped into spending significant amounts of money on a product that does not work as represented,” it says.
The lawsuit was filed by Mike Buetow of Shakopee, Theodore Carlson of Edina, Gary Richardson Jr. of St. Paul and Joe Rohrbach of Shakopee. Attorneys are seeking class-action status, saying “tens of thousands” of Minnesota hunters have been deceived into buying millions of dollars of odor-eliminating clothing.
A spokesman for Gander Mountain declined to comment. Mike Andrews, vice president of marketing for ALS, said the lawsuit is without merit and the company would fight it.
“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.”
He added that the company has a written guarantee that says hunters will experience “unalarmed wild animals downwind.”
“You don’t build this kind of business on something that’s not true,” Andrews told The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The products are tested by Intertek Testing Services in Cortland, N.Y., and ALS says the tests, and other studies, show the fabric works as claimed. ALS is a privately held company, and isn’t required to reveal sales figures.
Buetow, a bow hunter, said attorneys advised the plaintiffs not to talk about the case.
But the question of whether such clothing works has been the topic of Internet chat rooms for about a year.
ALS has created a new section on the company’s Web site to explain how its fabric hides human odors. . . .
ALS is a privately held company, and Andrews wouldn’t reveal sales figures, but some have estimated the activated carbon hunting clothing business may be worth $100 million annually, the Star Tribune reported.
Scent-Lok is a uniquely Muskegon product and local business success story. The company at 1731 Wierengo in Muskegon Township has been producing the activated charcoal hunting clothing since 1991. . . .
A Minnesotan — T.R. Michels, 57, of Burnsville, an outdoor writer, author, hunting guide and frequent hunting seminar speaker who has his own Website — acknowledges he is responsible for raising much of the stink about the products.
So, to those who read this site and hunt, what do you think? Does “Scent-Lok” clothing not work? It actually sounds to me like using it–if it does work–is cheating. Am I wrong?
What do you make of this seemingly undue litigation? I’ve written extensively about lawsuits like this. They end up getting certified as class actions and the only ones who make out in the end are the lawyers. The plaintiff “victims” get a coupon or a few scents on the dollar, the price of the product–in this case, Scent-Lok clothing–goes up for everyone.
And it’s a complete waste of time and legal system resources . . . for everyone except, again, the lawyers.
Tags: ALS Enterprises Inc., author, Bass Pro Shops Inc., bow hunter, Browning Arms Co., Burnsville, Cabela's Inc., Cortland, Debbie Schlussel, food, Gander Mountain Co., Gary Richardson Jr., guide and frequent hunting seminar speaker, hunter, Internet chat rooms, Joe Rohrbach, Mike Andrews, Mike Buetow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Muskegon Township, New York, outdoor writer, spokesman, St. Paul, Star Tribune, T.R. Michels, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, The star, the Star Tribune, Theodore Carlson, USD, vice president of marketing