Editor’s Note: Forty-seven year old Kevin Faver of St. Augustine, Florida, is a charter-boat captain. “But I always tell people I fish to hunt,” Faver says. “I’ve been wearing Mossy Oak my entire hunting career and been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 5 years.”
There is not much Floridians can do to prevent or avoid snakes and alligators where we hunt. I grew up in Florida and have lived there all my life. From an early age, my dad taught me that when I walked in the woods to look down for snakes and alligators. Even when I go to Kansas or Indiana to hunt, I still look at the ground in front of my feet before I take a step. I am always aware of my feet and my surroundings. I wear snake boots, and my hunting buddies and I take all the precautions we can to prevent a fanged encounter. We are not overly concerned about snakes or alligators, when we are in the woods hunting. You have to remember, there are probably more rattlesnakes in Texas per square acre than there are in Florida, but you can see the rattlesnakes in Texas better than we can in Florida.
We don’t walk through these thick palmetto swamps, when we go hunting, but instead bush hog to cut trails for the places we want to walk. We also now plant green fields. If anyone has a tree stand in a patch of oaks and must go through thick cover to get to the tree stand, he uses a machete to clear a path to get to the stand. Because I have grown up with alligators, I never really have had a fear of these big lizards. I have waded across duck ponds and swamps that have had alligators in them. I just never have worried about them.
Because we have very-hot temperatures here in Florida, from September throughout most of hunting season, I use all the scent-elimination products that I’m sure most bowhunters throughout the country use. Our weather is very-hot in Florida, especially in early bow season. However, in recent years, the weather has been hot all over the nation at the beginning of bow season. I have seen TV shows of hunters hunting in Missouri during bow season when the temperature is 100 degrees. So, the most-important thing for Florida bowhunters is to bathe in odor-eliminating soap, wash our clothes in odor-eliminating detergent and spray-down with some type of odor-eliminating spray as often as we can. The major way we solve the human-odor problem in Florida is hunting into the wind. If the wind isn’t right to hunt a particular stand on the day we want to hunt, we hunt another stand site.
Yes, we have a lot of bugs in Florida – mosquitoes, gnats, redbugs and all the bite-you bugs. I believe the greatest invention for the deer hunter during bow season is the ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent.As far as ticks and other bugs, we check ourselves after every hunt to make sure we don’t have any. If we do, we remove them. The numbers and kinds of bugs we have in Florida probably aren’t any more abundant or any worse than in any-other section of the country. We do have an abundance of mosquitoes in Florida. I don’t know how the early settlers and ranchers survived with all the mosquitoes that we have here. But using the ThermaCell keeps the mosquitoes from being a problem. If I run out of batteries for my ThermaCell when I’m hunting, I just say to myself, “That’s it. My hunt is over. I’m going back to the house.”
Editor’s Note: You may want to consider spraying the outside of your clothes with Permethrin before you put them on to repel ticks.