If there’s been any advantage to this crazy, mixed-up, spring-that-never-gets-here weather it’s the fact that bug season has been pushed back. There’s not too many mosquitoes flying around here in the North Country dodging May snowflakes. But now with all the water that’s sitting around out there and some warm days the mosquitoes and gnats (read blackflies) are sure to come. And they’ll likely come on with a vengeance to make up for lost time! The last days of turkey season and spring bear season will probably be downright scary.
It used to be that your only option was to lather up with potent insect repellants. On the clothes worked OK, but most effective was right on your skin. It might not be the best for long-term health, but it sure cut down on the nasty, itching welts. Yet, it sometimes seems the bugs consider insect repellant nothing more than meat tenderizer.
A universal laws of spring bear hunting is the bugs will be bad. It’s simply part of the price you pay to take a monster bruin. Thankfully, a combination of old-school and new-school technology takes a serious “bite” out of the insect annoyance.
First is a good, fine-mesh bug suit. I wear mine almost all the time while both turkey and bear hunting. While affording good protection against mosquitoes and black flies, it’s more important to me that the suit is the best defense against ticks. Tape the suit secure around your wrists, ankles and waist with duct tape and you make it nearly impossible for ticks to get to your skin. A good shake and inspection when you’re out of the woods makes doubly sure.
I’m not hinky about ticks because they crawl or bite, but I ended up in the hospital back with some kind of infection they never were able to pinpoint, though we’re pretty certain it came from a tick bite on my scalp. Ticks aren’t a laughing matter to me.
The first line of defense against flying insects is a Thermacell—a couple of them if you want. It may seem like “magic,” but the heat-activated Thermacell formula really, truly works. One unit will clear the flying, biting bugs out of a 15-square-foot zone to allow you to sit a lot more comfortably on the stand for a lot longer time.
While a bug suit alone does a great job of keeping bugs from reaching your skin and biting, there’s still the swarm that hovers and buzzes annoyingly close to your eyes, nose and ears. That makes sitting still very difficult and can ruin your focus. The Thermacell keeps them at bay outside of annoying distance.
If we cross paths in the woods yet this spring, you’ll see it’s true—I’m a much happier and better hunter because I wear a bug suit and fire up a Thermacell in combination.