A few years ago, my hunting season ended up becoming slightly terrible. First, everything went seemingly perfect: the weather was all sunshine and rainbows, the game was mind-blowing, and the views were to die for – but it was tough to relish any of it because every time I tried to take a breath, it felt like a colony of minuscule devils had set up shop in my windpipe.
This resulted in me becoming sort of an anti-mosquito vigilante. I have dedicated my life to minimizing the harm they have on my enjoyment of the great outdoors, and in this article, I hope to share some of my learned lessons with you as well.
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Repellents is the number one thing to keep strapped to your body when headed out into the wilds. The most important thing to ensure is that whichever repellent you choose has a high level of DEET in it.
DEET is an active ingredient found in mosquito repellents that interferes with a mosquito’s ability to detect human sweat and other bodily secretions. When applied to the skin or clothing, it essentially creates a barrier that makes it difficult for mosquitoes to find and bite a person.
The higher the DEET, the longer you’re protected from those blood-sucking demons. And let’s be real, we’re not playing tea parties in the backyard here. We’re hunting in the great outdoors, where the mosquitoes are bigger and badder than ever. And the depending on your state, even bigger and baddier.
The downside of repellents, of course, is that it smells like a gym locker after a triple overtime match. This means that for small game and waterfowl, it’s completely fine, but if you’re trying to bag a deer or a predator that happens to have a slightly more acute sense of smell, you might as well wear a sign that says “Hey, I’m a human coming to shoot you. Also I’m scared of getting bitten.”
There are some repellents that claim to have a “cover scent” built in, which works great to keep your hunting buddy happen – but a deer will still spot you from miles away.
Personally, I think the only cover scent you need is the smell of fear.
TLDR: DEET repellent is more for when you return to camp because of the smell. But it helps.
Permethrin is a real insect killer. It’s not like those fake mosquito repellents that just make the bugs a little dizzy. This stuff straight-up murders them. But don’t get too excited and start rubbing it all over your body like some kind of insecticide addict. Permethrin is incredibly toxic, and you don’t want to end up looking like a science experiment gone wrong, so don’t apply it to your skin.
Instead, spray it on your clothes and let it dry. Then, when the mosquitoes land on you, they’ll get a one-way ticket to mosquito heaven. Plus, it’s odorless, so you wont alert any game of your presence.
But remember, it won’t actually prevent you from getting bitten, it just kills them after if they do. It’s more like playing God with mosquitoes – creating life only to destroy it right before their tiny eyes.
Sorry, I get a little carried away some times.
TLDR: Cover yourself in this literal poison to kill mosquitos. It doesn’t smell. But wont prevent bites.
Thermacell essentially creates a 15-foot force field around you, protecting you from any mosquitos trying to ruin your day. It’s powered by a disposable butane cartridge and a repellent pad and is an excellent weapon against most bugs.
Do keep in mind that this force field comes with limitations, the biggest one being it’s weakness to wind. But beware, young hunter, for this weapon has its limitations (works great on calm days though!). It also takes a good 15 minutes to warm up, and it can get really hot, so don’t use it while it’s attached to you.
If you’re a stand hunter, you’re in luck, but if you’re a still hunter, you might as well stick to old-fashioned mosquito slapping.
TLDR: Keeps the mosquitos away with expensive magic if you’re a stand hunter. Weak to wind.
If you want to feel like a walking tent, then bug suits and special bug-proof clothing might be the way to go. It can break the bank however.
For a cheaper alternative, you can don a camouflage raincoat and pants, and top it off with a head net that will make you look like a giant beekeeper. I personally recommend Froggs Toggs for this, as they are lightweight, breathable, and impenetrable to mosquitoes – but don’t expect to be winning any fashion awards.
Also keep in mind that protective clothing can be a bit toasty, especially in weather over 70 degrees, and in low light conditions head nets can make you feel like you’re peering out of a submarine’s periscope.
TLDR: Mosquitos cant bite you if they can’t access your skin, just be aware that it can get toasty.
Other options and tips
Mosquitoes are like Goldilocks when it comes to temperature: too hot or too cold and they won’t bother you, so below 45 or above 90. But when it’s just right, they’ll swarm around you like you’re a 5-star buffet.
Most tactics used to keep mosquitos away are only so effective, so one of the greatest things you can do is to learn to just be okay with their presence. Once you can get over the bump of having a billion tiny, loud, and demonic watch your every move – hunting, hiking, and camping becomes more pleasurable anyways.
May the mosquitos fear you, and may your skin remain not-itchy.
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