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There are tons of ticks in forests, in grasslands, and just about any other place where hunters roam looking for game. After all, it is mainly the animals, from the mouse in the undergrowth to the elk in the woods that are responsible for the spread of ticks. Because the ticks themselves don’t wander far, they hitch a ride on their host.
While the tick bite itself is in most cases harmless, the real risk, that must be avoided is transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans. Not only you as a hunter, but your furry four-legged friend is also at risk of getting bitten by ticks. Hence, it is important to take precautions against ticks before going outdoors.
Why Prevent Ticks When Hunting?
The small ticks, the larvae or nymphs are particularly dangerous, because they are so tiny that you can hardly see them. They sit in the grasses and undergrowth and wait for a suitable victim, that can be you or your dog too.
The problem with tick larvae and nymphs is that they are so tiny that you will not notice them for a while. Only when the tick bite causes problems like it starts to itch or the small parasite is so swollen from the blood it gorged on that you can finally feel and see it, will the uninvited guest be noticed.
But then it can already have happened. The longer a tick has been feeding, the higher the risk that it will transmit pathogens. And the list of diseases they can cause is long, so can be the suffering and the problems they cause. That’s why it’s important to prevent ticks as much as possible when hunting or generally when you go to areas where ticks are common.
Worried to Spook off Game When using Repellent
Spooking off the game to protect yourself from ticks and bug bites kills the point of hunting, doesn’t it? Insect repellants usually have a strong smell that’s supposed to irritate biting critters. So hunters might be faced with the problem that many wild animals have a pronounced sense of smell too. But in order to smell you, the game must be downwind, and then they smell you anyway, whether you add to the human smell a bit of bug repellent stink, makes little difference.
However, if you don’t sit still and fend of mosquitoes or ticks, the game can probably hear your noisemaking and see your movements before it smells your presence. Seen in this way, is repellent that only adds a little to your body odor, and can only be smelled downwind, your slightest problem when hunting. So let’s take a look at some of the options that can protect you from insects and keep your hunt productive.
How to prevent ticks when hunting
In addition to measures such as wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants, tight clothing, tucking the trousers into the shoes, and making access to bare skin as difficult as possible for ticks, the best measures to ward off ticks are a combination of tick repellent clothing and the regular application of topical bug repellents to the skin and clothing.
How Do Tick Repellents Work?
Tick repellents work by either masking human scent or by creating an unpleasant stimulus to the sensory organs of the parasites. In other words, the smell of the person using the repellent stinks so badly that the tick simply cannot recognize the potential host as such. Tick repellents are meant to either repel the tick before it attaches itself to the skin or kill the tick after it has attached itself.
How To Apply Tick Repellents?
Tick repellents can be applied to skin or clothing, or both. Tick repellents come in the form of sprays, lotions, or wipes that can be applied to skin or clothes and usually need to be reapplied after a couple of hours depending on the product and weather conditions.
Whether you choose a spray repellent for hunters, lotion, wipes, or permethrin to treat clothing and surfaces, make sure to read the instructions first before applying it. Some tick repellents may cause allergies or other reactions, so carefully follow all safety instructions.
What Is The Best Tick Repellent For Hunters?
The search for the best tick repellent for hunters depends on personal preferences, reliability, personal tolerance of active ingredients, and above all the environment in which you go. That means the higher the tick occurrence, the more effective tick protection must be chosen.
Various products are available as ticks and mosquito protection. First of all, there is special tick-repellent clothing. And then there are the repellents, either synthetic chemicals or plant-based natural stuff, that you can rub or spray directly onto the skin or on clothing.
Permethrin Tick Repellent Clothing
Insect-repellent clothing is a great way to repel biting parasites. Such clothes, jackets, shirts, pants, hats, and even socks, are treated with permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide that is highly effective on all insects and spiders. It works on the bugs’ nervous systems and paralyzes or kills them when they get in contact with treated clothing.
The advantage of Permethrin-treated insect and tick repellent clothing is that the clothing provides protection on every part of the body that is covered by treated clothing. Ticks can hardly crawl around on the material and find bare skin before the so-called hot feet effect lets them fall off. The protection lasts for many weeks once applied to clothing. Compared to topical repellent, it only rarely needs to be reapplied.
Tick Repellents Containing DEET
Tick repellents that contain DEET are usually considered to be among the most effective in repelling ticks. These are available in different concentrations in lotions or sprays applied to clothing or skin, depending on your preference.
DEET is most effective when applied directly to the skin. You could also apply it to clothing, but you have to be careful on which clothing fabrics you apply it, as DEET reacts with some synthetic blended fabrics.
If you need a really strong tick repellent then products that contain DEET are simply the best. The disadvantage is that these are sometimes a bit of an overkill, they are highly effective in scarring every crawly creature away. Some people with sensitive skin might react to it, so you have to weigh up how high the risk of ticks is, but there is nothing more effective than DEET.
Among the strong, reliable synthetic tick repellents for hunters, products with a high concentration of DEET are right at the top, as they provide the best protection against all biting crawling, and flying bugs. The protection is long-lasting, that’s good so you don’t have to keep reapplying the stuff so often. The protective effect depends on environmental conditions and physical activity such as sweating etc., and of course, also on the type of bugs you want to keep away. Overall it provides long-lasting protection 6 up to 10 hours, making it ideal for camping trips, picnics, outdoor activities.
Tick Repellents Containing Picaridin
Picaridin is clearly in second place under the best tick repellents for hunters, as far as its effectiveness in driving away biting insects and ticks is concerned. One advantage of Picaridin is that it is better tolerated by the skin compared to repellents containing DEET, there are fewer complaints about skin irritation. But where there is an advantage there is usually also a disadvantage, it is not quite as effective as DEET. So if you don’t need the best possible protection then picaridin-containing repellents are a very good alternative.
Picaridin is made from piperine, the stuff that also occurs in the spice pepper and gives it its peppery taste.
In its pure form, it is a clear liquid that must be diluted with a carrier liquid. Humans cannot smell the picaridin but for insects and spiders (ticks are spiders) the smell is irritating to the perception so that they cannot recognize their host as such.
Applied to the skin, the effect lasts for 4 to 8 hours, depending on the concentration. Products with Picaridin are generally well tolerated by the skin, there are also repellents with lower concentrations that are also suitable for small children.
Tick repellents containing picaridin repel mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, and chiggers. It allows you to concentrate on the hunt without constantly having to chase away mosquitoes and to think about the danger caused by a tick bite.
Tick Repellents Containing Natural Compounds
Tick repellent based on natural ingredients (mainly essential oils) such as lemon eucalyptus, nigella oil, citronella, and cedar oil, oregano, while not as strong as DEET or Picaridin, can be a good alternative for keeping ticks from attaching themselves to you. But they are nowhere near as effective. So tick repellents containing natural compounds need to be reapplied more often than other repellents, under certain circumstances several times an hour to ensure comparable protection. However, they could be a choice for those with sensitive skin and if the risk of tick-borne diseases is very low.
Why Use The Best Tick Repellent for Hunters
Ticks keep on spreading in new habitats and can transmit tick-borne illnesses. And unfavorably, this danger increases steadily due to changing environmental conditions. To protect yourself from tick problems, repellent for hunters is an essential safety measure. There are many options of tick repellent products available, but particularly effective protection is recommended for hunters. Hardly anyone encounters as many ticks as a hunter who spends hours or days in the wilderness. Safety should always be your number one priority, so make sure you are well protected while you are out enjoying the great outdoors!
After the Hunt
If you come home from the hunt, you should first check your gear and clothes carefully for ticks and then take a shower as soon as possible. The clothes should then be washed and dried in the dryer (if the fabric permits) as the dry heat kicks ticks quite reliably.
If you have a hunting dog with you then you should also check this coat for ticks. A spot-on for permanent reliable protection for dogs is also highly recommended.
Another problem that hunters are faced is that very often the hunted prey can be very heavily infested with ticks. Especially in late summer and autumn, ungulates can carry many and quite large ticks. Here it is important to be particularly careful not to pick up ticks or as not to spread the ticks into other areas.