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Treatment tells ticks to bug off

Friends, I’m really tired of seeing my hunting buddies and colleagues of the outdoors industry struck down by a little, teeny-tiny, disgusting bug. Yes, I’m talking about the creepy-crawling and bloodsucking ticks.

Fortunately for me, after spending years peeling ticks off my skin, I’ve never tested positive for the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, otherwise known as Lyme Disease. I haven’t, but I very easily could have, and subsequently forced into submission to its adverse effects on the human body. That said, there are a variety of tick-borne illnesses in addition to Lyme that can have crippling effects on the human body.

According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control in May 2018, the number of tick, mosquito and flea-borne illness cases reported in the U.S. are growing at a high rate. With more than 600,000 of these cases reported from 2004 to 2016, around 400,000 being tick related, this number is believed to be much higher based on cases that have gone unreported during this time period.

So what is a hunter or outdoors-oriented person to do? First, I have to note that I have really tried nearly everything. Spray with deet, thermacells, which are great if you remember to pack them. I also tried much, much more to no avail. You name it, I had tried it and would still come home and discover ticks. Then, about two years ago, it was suggested to me by a friend that I should try a permethrin spray. Two words: game changer.

Now those of you that know me know that my primary and most favorite outdoors activity is spring turkey hunting. That has left me spending countless hours fending off all sorts of bugs while trying to enjoy some time afield. When it comes to permethrin, there are a few different brands out there that will all seemingly do the job, but it’s very important to be attentive to and follow the instructions very closely. I spend a few minutes prior to each hunting season treating my clothes with this spray, and I couldn’t have been any happier with the results.

Take for example my last afternoon hunt. I slipped across a moderately high hay field and slid into the area I wanted to set up in. I placed my decoys, sat down and began to get ready. I looked up above me and the swath of bugs radiating about a foot about my head was a little unsettling. Mosquitoes, gnats and flies all buzzed around, but we’re apparently very aware of what would happen should they land on me and my clothing and come into contact with the permethrin treatment. That led to me being able to sit calm and motionless on an 80 degree afternoon with no problems other than the sweat running into my eyes.

With the estimation that this treatment will last through a few washes in the laundry, and the fact that I’ve gotten through four treatments with one can of spray, it’s very cost effective. I highly suggest that you all take a few extra moments of prep to protect yourself from bug borne illnesses — you’ll be glad you did.

Hunt hard, hunt safe, and shoot straight, friends.

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John Knouse writes about the outdoors for The Sentinel.

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