May 23, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
Late spring hunting, whether for turkey or bear, used to be a … bear! Same for stream trout fishing back in the days of my youth when I got to do it pretty regularly. There were times mosquitoes were so bad, I actually elected not to go rather than submit myself to the bites, the welts and the itching. Hard as it is for me to accept change sometimes, especially in the traditions of the outdoors, the new technology in repelling insects is a change I’ve welcomed with open arms. We have it much better today than our ancestors did. Those who know me tell me I was born 150-200 years to late. I should have been a mountain man. I agree, except when it comes to dealing with mosquitoes and black flies.
The latest in repelling insects is twice as good as it has ever been:
Thermacell — If you’ve been doing a Rip Vanwinkle and not got yourself a Thermacell unit, stop reading right here, click on this link and go get at least one – better yet enough for the whole family in every outdoor situation. They really, really work.
We have both the personal appliances that I use for hunting, fishing, hiking, etc. and the lantern units we use around home for campfires and in base camps. They basically create a 15’x15’ area around the unit that’s 98% free of mosquitoes. And you don’t have to apply any smelly, greasy, unpleasant repellent. Because the lantern units have proven so popular with the added benefit of the lamp, Thermacell has also come up with an LED light that clips to the top of the personal appliance making it serve double-duty as a flashlight to show the way.
The knock against the Thermacell, for some, is the fact that it puts an odor into the air which could be detected by the sharp-nosed game animals we are hunting (bear, early-season deer, etc.) There are repellant pads masked with earth scent to help with this, but I don’t use them. My philosophy is that if my stand is positioned correctly and if I’m using the wind properly to make a stalk, it’s impossible for the quarry to smell me or anything that’s with me. If the wind changes, then the game will smell ALL the foreign smells anyway, so what difference is one more going to make?
Bug Tamer Leafy Suit — To double down on bug protection, I’ve discovered the The Big Leaf 3D Suit from Bug Tamer Plus, a division of Shannon Outdoors. It’s a great aid to turkey hunting, because the bug resistant suit and the leafy outer layer in Mossy Oak Break-Up completely camouflage you. These suits are sort of like ghillie suits. They camouflage you not only with color, but with texture. The leaves move in the breeze like all of the cover around you, and that can help hide any movements you make, too. If I’d have had a suit like this back in my stream fishing days, I venture to guess it would have helped me catch more fish, too, by making me look like a bush above the water rather than a rod-wielding fisherman after trout for the fry pan.
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