Hunting is as much a relaxing pastime as it is an adrenaline rush. When you’re out in the woods bow hunting, it is nothing but you, your bow and nature. Unfortunately, especially early in bow hunting season, mosquitoes and insects can be a real nuisance. Nothing can ruin your serene hunting trip like biting insects. Here are several tips to help combat pesky mosquitoes and insects before they make a meal out of you:
ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent
This type of insect repellent keeps mosquitoes away before they have the chance to get to you. This device is compact and simple to use. It has a 15-foot zone of protection and works great in the woods, as it is also scent-free.
It requires a fuel cartridge and ThermaCell repellent mats, which use a natural mosquito repellent. This is advantageous to the bow hunter who is not interested in bug sprays. This type of repellent is great for bow hunters who are going to be stationary, such as hunting in a blind or a stand. It is not quite as efficient if you are on the move.
Spartan Mosquito Control
Spartan Mosquito Control works by emitting the same attractant that people have that draws mosquitoes to them. The eradicator attracts the mosquitoes and feeds a special chemical formula, which kills them before they can reproduce.
This is a continuous mosquito control system and only requires the water solution without the need for batteries or a power source. In the first 15 days of use, the population of mosquitoes in an area dramatically decreases. It then keeps the population at roughly 95 percent below the starting threshold for up to 90 days.
Spartan Mosquito Control is easy to install, doesn’t require any maintenance, provides continuous protection and is extremely effective. It works best for hunters who hunt on their own property, as this type of repellent is meant to control the mosquito population in a certain area.
Traditional Bug Spray (Scented or Unscented)
Traditional bug sprays come in both scented and unscented versions. These sprays contain an active ingredient that repels mosquitoes and insects from landing on your skin and biting. These sprays are applied to both skin and clothing.
There are several different kinds of active ingredients in bug sprays, the most common of which is DEET–also called diethyltoluamide–which is effective at repelling most insects, including mosquitoes. Traditional bug sprays are effective, and since the protection is on your skin and clothes, you are protected no matter where you go.
A con of traditional bug sprays is that they can leave scents that might tip off prey to your presence. This is true of both unscented and scented versions, since the smell of the active ingredient is strong enough to be detected by animals with sensitive senses of smell. If you choose to hunt with traditional bug spray on, be extra mindful of wind directions.
Natural Bug Spray (Scented or Unscented)
Natural insect and mosquito repellents have risen in popularity due to consumers not wanting to use synthetic chemicals. Natural sprays can have several mosquito-repelling ingredients. Lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the most common natural ingredients found in mosquito repellents. Sprays with this ingredient control mosquitoes at a rate of 95 percent for up to three hours.
As you might have guessed, the scents in natural bug sprays are going to play to your disadvantage. Most of the natural ingredients used in these types of sprays are very aromatic, so you will stand out like a sore thumb out in the brush with these sprays on you. This is true even for “unscented” versions, which might be undetectable to human noses, but are still strongly aromatic to more sensitive animals. At the shorter ranges you hunt with a bow, any protection they provide isn’t worth the risk of always losing your quarry.
Insect-repellent clothing is a great way to repel mosquitoes and other insects. Outerwear, including shirts, pants, hats and gloves, are treated with an insecticide called permethrin. Permethrin is the man-made version of an insect repellent made from the chrysanthemum flower. It functions by paralyzing or killing insects when they land on your clothes.
The advantage to insect-repellent clothing is that hunters have protection wherever they go, on every part of their body wearing the treated clothing. The downside is there is no guarantee the mosquito can be paralyzed or killed before it bites you. It is not a repellent. Scent control is also less of an issue compared to sprays, since it can be washed with scent remover before use.
Clothing with Net Features
Wearing clothes with netting helps to prevent mosquitoes and other insects from having access to your skin, thus preventing bites. There are different types of clothing with nets built in, including head gear to prevent mosquitoes from biting your face. Certain kinds of shirts also have netting features as well.
The pro to clothing with netting features is there aren’t any chemicals on the skin whatsoever. The downside is, parts of the body might still be exposed and it works more as a barrier than a repellent.
Eating Certain Foods
Studies have shown that eating certain foods can naturally repel mosquitoes. Two of the most common are garlic and onions. When you eat garlic or onions, allicin, a natural mosquito repellent, is released through your pores. The longer allicin is exposed to heat, the less effective it is. For this reason, experts recommend that you consume onions and garlics raw for maximum effectiveness.
Apple cider vinegar works by altering your scent, making your scent less appealing to mosquitoes and insects. Apple cider vinegar can be taken with honey or diluted in soups, salad dressings and drinks.
Lemongrass contains citronella, which is a mosquito repellent. Consuming lemongrass provides similar benefits as spraying it on the skin.
Eating foods is a natural way to repel mosquitos. The downside is the length of time these foods can protect you. Once the food is no longer in your body, the protection does not exist. Scent control might also be an issue, but it should be less so than spraying bug spray all over yourself.
Plants That Grow Wild (American Beauty Berry)
The American Beautyberry is a shrub native to North America. It was used by the Native Americans as a natural mosquito and insect repellent. Studies have shown that the extract from the leaves of the American beauty berry has the same effectiveness for repelling mosquitoes as DEET. Fresh leaves that are crushed and then applied to the skin repel insects for a maximum of one to two hours.
There are many other plants that repel mosquitoes and insects. These include citronella, catnip, marigolds, basil, lavender and peppermint.
Wild plants offer the advantage of being completely natural, so you won’t have any nasty chemicals on your skin. They can, however, be aromatic, but not necessarily in a bad way. If you find these plants in abundance in your regular hunting grounds, then it’s likely you won’t spook your quarry if they smell the scent of these plants lingering in the air. Of course, moderation is still important to avoid smelling too strongly of these scents that it no longer seems natural to the environment.
Importance of Mosquito Repellents
Mosquitoes are not just a nuisance to bow hunters. They also pose a health hazard. Mosquitoes are vectors of many nasty diseases and viruses, including the West Nile virus, Zika virus, yellow fever and so much more. Taking steps to protect yourself not only reduces your risk of contracting an unwanted disease but makes your hunt much more enjoyable.