Lyme’s disease has surpassed AIDS as the leading infectious disease in the United States and costs Americans nearly $1 billion per year. Worse yet, if you don’t detect it early, it can be so disabling you may never hunt or walk again. Getting into the woods for those early season hunts can be great fun as well as productive, so don’t let bug bites contaminate you. It’s easy to be macho and state “It’s only a tiny bug or tick,” yet these pests can kill you. Here are a couple of common-sense tactics to help beat the bugs:
Avoid Buggy Places: If you can, take a clear path to your stand or ground blind rather than walking through tall weeds and thick brush. If you sit in a ground blind, do not sit on the ground, as chiggers may be present. They won’t kill you, but you may wish they had.
Wear Tall Boots: Tall rubber boots are excellent for deer hunting, as they reduce human scent. Tuck your pants legs in and pull the boot top tightly shut. Also, spray repellent around the bottom of the pants.
Use a Mosquito Head Net: You can spray your face and hands with popular DEET products, but you’ll create a scent stream. That may be a necessary evil, depending on how bad the bugs are, but a head net is a scentless solution.
Use DEET on Skin: One of the best bug repellents is DEET, but be careful of the formula. One hundred percent DEET will keep bugs away, but it may also dissolve the paint on your bow. Higher numbers don’t yield proportional results, so the 25–50 percent solutions are all that’s necessary.
Use Permethrin on Clothes: Developed by the military, this remains the prominent bug repelleant for clothing and lasts far longer than DEET.
Do the Shower Check: Take a shower after your hunt and double-check your body for insects. Should you find a circular, bulls-eye shaped red rash, see your physician immediately. These insects are tiny, but their effects on humans can be monstrous.