Tick Repellent For Deer Hunting

whitetail deer hunting
For those that prefer the whitetail pursuit on foot, you are garunteed to grab a few deer ticks along the way. Spray down to be safe. Hunter shown wearing Lost Camo.

Most deer hunters recognize the dangers associated with hunting. The weapons hunters use to harvest animals are deadly to humans too, hunting from an elevated position is frightening and many of the animals hunted pose a serious threat to the hunter's life. What about the dangers you can’t see, particularly nasty little ticks? Tick repellent is a necessity for many hunters during the early season, especially in the southern states. It also makes for more enjoyable turkey hunts in the spring. Ticks can pose serious threats to your health, but they can be prevented by using a quality tick repellent. Prepare to learn a little bit about ticks, the dangers associated with them and how you can prevent them to make your hunting trips more safe and enjoyabe.

Ticks Repellants

Tick repellent sprays are the quickest and most effective ways to keep ticks away during the hunting season. The first concern of hunters is scent control; will the odor of tick repellent scare away game? Robinson Outdoors makes a tick repellent product that is completely odorless and keeps nasty ticks away. No Stinkin’ Ticks, as it’s called, contains Permethrin, a powerful synthetic chemical that keeps ticks away and the diseases they carry. Permethrin is a natural component extract from Chrysanthemum flowers that naturally repels insects. No Stinkin’ Ticks comes in spray form and contains an ingredient that actively binds to your clothing and provides enduring protection for up to two weeks, even after you wash your clothes. Should a tick find its way on your clothing, it will almost instantly die keeping you tick free. The best thing about No Stinkin’ Tick is that it is completely scent free and is available in two bottles, earth scent and unscented keeping you completely scent free.

Robinson Outdoors also develops another cool product, No Stinkin’ Bugs. Similar to No Stinkin’ Ticks, No Stinkin’ Bugs is a bug repellent that keeps away black flies, gnats and no-see-ums. It also comes in two scent eliminating choices, fresh earth and unscented.

If you are a turkey hunter who doesn’t need to worry about scent control, there are several other tick repellents on the market that will work. Any product containing Permethrin effectively keeps ticks at bay. Keep in mind to only spray a Permethrin containing product on your clothes, not your skin. Since Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide and not a true “repellent”, it will not only keep ticks away, but kill them on contact. Products containing Permethrin formulated to repel and kill ticks include Duranon Tick Repellent, Repell Permanone, Cutter Outdoorsman Gear Guard, and Permethrin Tick Repellent.

DEET is a popular choice as a tick repellent, but it is not as nearly as effective as Permethrin because it doesn’t last nearly as long. While Permethrin can provide residual protection for up to two weeks, even after laundering, DEET has to be reapplied several times throughout the course of the day. Citronella Oil, the scented oil used in candles, is also an effective tick repellent, but is only effective if you apply it directly on yourself, or in the case of candle usage, if the wind is blowing. DEET and Citronella Oil also have distinct odors to them that can potentially spook deer. However, if you correctly play the wind while hunting the deer aren’t going to smell you anyway.

Permethrin- The Best Tick Repellent!

Permethrin is by far your best choice as a tick repellent. It offers 100% protection against the common deer tick, which is the primary carrier of Lyme disease in the Midwest and Northeast and the tick you most commonly find on you and your hunting dog. It also achieves 100% protection against the Brown Dog tick, American Dog tick, Lone Star tick and Western Black Legged Tick. It doesn’t only repel, but also kills ticks almost immediately should they come in contact with clothes or fabric containing Permethrin. Permethrin continues it’s repelling and killing qualities even after being washed and dried, increasing its usefulness. One application literally will last you for weeks.

Permethrin is safe to humans because of its low mammalian toxicity level and because it is poorly absorbed by human skin. When limited amounts are absorbed in the skin, it is quickly inactivated by the human body. Still, excessive exposure to Permethrin can cause nausea, muscle weakness, headache, shortness of breath, seizures and excessive salivation. It bears repeating that these symptoms only occur under EXCESSIVE exposure, the limited amount needed to repel ticks will not induce such symptoms.

Dog Tick Repellent

hunting dog
Between special collars and liquid dispensers, there are plenty of ways to protect your trusty hound from ticks. Bird dogs especially are at risk, as they will be plowing through fields of tall grass for hours on a single hunt.

There are specially formulated topical repellents that can be harmlessly applied to your pets to ensure that they don’t have to suffer a tick bite either. Frontline and K9 Advantix are two of the more popular models and both work well in keeping ticks off your beloved pet. They are also an effective repellent for fleas and flea eggs. Both products repel ticks for up to 4 weeks and don’t require reapplying after bathing, swimming or vigorously playing. Frontline and K9 Advantix both contain the potent tick repellent and killer, Permethrin.

Both products are harmless to your dog during the application process and when they are in effect. You dog won’t even know it’s there! Simply apply the topical solution between your dog’s hair and skin behind the shoulder blade. Apply the entire package in a single spot onto you’re your dog’s skin and they are good to go. These products repel and kill ticks before they can attach themselves to your hunting dog. However, it can take up to 48 hours for a tick to absorb a fatal dose of pesticide, so don’t be discouraged should you find a tick on your dog, it won’t be there for long!

While Frontline and K9 Advantix offer nearly 100% protection for your pet, if your dog also lives inside, it’s recommended to bathe them regularly. This will help keep ticks away but help with your pets overall hygiene as well.

Tick Prevention

Since ticks are extremely small in size, most people are unaware of their presence. In fact, many people don’t even realize that they have been bitten. That’s why tick repellent is recommended anytime you go in to the woods. However, you can further ensure you don’t become tick infested by “tick proofing” yourself before you go into the woods for things like hunting or hiking.

Despite the warm temperatures you’ll likely be facing during early season deer hunts and spring turkey hunts, when ticks are most active, it’s best to wear long sleeve shirts and of course pants. Tucking your pants into your socks helps keep ticks from crawling up your pants leg. Body locking yourself with clothing is one of the simplest ways to keep ticks off your skin. Tick’s can’t jump, hop, or fly so they can only attack you by crawling underneath your clothes. If your skin isn’t easily accessible then you can spot them crawling on your clothes and you can flick them away.

To keep ticks out of your home, you should first check yourself before you come inside for the day. The means thoroughly checking, and thoroughly washing, your hair and scalp, check you underarms, behind the knee, and the inside of your elbow. Ticks seek out warmth and moister settle down in, so it is very important that you check your crotch area, or any other warm concealed places. An infection in that area can result in a serious health hazard. Also, check your pets for ticks often too, even if they don’t come inside. Ticks can crawl from your pet to you without you even knowing it should you play with your pet.

There are also certain steps you can take to lessen the chances you are attacked by a tick in your own back yard. Ticks thrive in overgrown areas with high grasses, weeds, brush piles or areas with heavy leaf litter. Obviously, ridding your yard of these areas will help significantly. Contrary to popular belief, ticks prefer moist warm areas over hot, dry areas. Keeping your yard neatly mowed and trimmed will lower the humidity in the lower levels of your lawn keeping ticks away. Since deer and mice are responsible for the transport of most ticks, keeping mice and deer away from your property will also help. This may sound like an impossible task but there are actually several methods to keep these animals away. Avoid planting plants that deer and mice eat. Place bird feeders far away from your home; mice and other rodents eat the feed that falls from these feeders and it’s best to keep them away. Also, keep your garbage in tightly sealed containers if you place it outside. This will keep away mice, raccoons and other animals that needn’t be around your home.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

One of the biggest fears associated with ticks and ticks bites is Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a very painful and miserable disease, but is rarely fatal. Most cases of Lyme disease happen along the Pacific Coast, the Upper Midwest and in the Northeast. However, it is possible to catch this disease anywhere hard ticks are prevalent, as they are known carriers of the disease. Deer and mice are most commonly affected by this disease as they serve as primary hosts to a tick, however, this disease can attack humans. Lyme disease is usually difficult to diagnose and often misdiagnosed and mistreated as the flu because the symptoms are similar. A distinctive red rash first develops at the bite site. The rash is similar to a bull’s eye and is easy to distinguish. Initial symptoms include an itching sensation at site of the bite, lethargy, fever, and chills (sound like the flu?). A few months after the bite, the victim may experience muscular paralysis, joint inflammation, neurological symptoms and possibly heart related symptoms. Lyme disease affects dogs and humans, but not wild animals. Since the tick that infected the human or dog likely got the disease from another host, it seems as if wild animals have developed immunity to the disease.

Lyme disease can be easily controlled if detected and diagnosed correctly early, and then treated properly. Antibiotics are primarily used for treating Lyme disease and treatment usually takes anywhere between two weeks and a month. The threat of Lyme disease is very real when enjoying the outdoors in tick habitat, which almost every hunter is exposed to. However, taking the proper precautions including a Permethrin tick repellent and wearing the proper clothing greatly decreases your chances of getting bitten by a thick and thus Lyme disease.

Deer Ticks

deer ticks
Deer are likely a tick’s preferred host simply because deer habitat coincides with tick habitat. Tall grassy areas, thick wooded forests and areas with overgrown vegetation are ideal places for whitetails to bed and hide from danger. These are areas ticks like to call home as well.

Ticks are very different from other insects in that they can’t jump or fly. They take a more patient, methodical approach when locating their prey. They simply crawl and crawl until they find a suitable host. Mice and deer are the primary hosts of ticks. In fact, throughout the course of tick season (May-September) a deer can host hundreds of ticks. Unfortunately, ticks have claimed the lives of some deer, especially fawns. In areas where ticks are tick numbers are high, they attack fawns around the ears, eyes and mouth. The toxin released by the tick kills the fawns flesh and allows for more infection to take place, eventually killing the fawn. Deer are likely a tick’s preferred host simply because deer habitat coincides with tick habitat. Tall grassy areas, thick wooded forests and areas with overgrown vegetation are ideal places for whitetails to bed and hide from danger. These are areas ticks like to call home as well.

Deer do work together to remove ticks off one another. In a process called mutual grooming, deer will groom each other, concentrating on biting the ticks off. Surprisingly, this process is most common among bucks. Of course, this process occurs most often during the summer when bucks are calm, relaxed and traveling in bachelor groups. While does do groom each other and remove ticks, they are far less tolerable of one another than bucks are. This is likely due to the time of year as well. During tick season, does are busy nursing and raising their fawns, and it’s not until late summer do they being to tolerate other deer. Deer are able to scrape ticks off themselves with their hooves and antlers, but this process isn’t nearly as effective as mutual grooming.


Ticks are nasty little creatures that can transmit harmful diseases to your and pet. However, there are tick repellents available to hunters that offer 100% protection in a scent free formula to ensure you stay tick free while still being able to enjoy our hunts. Tick repellents not formulated for hunters offer the same repelling and killing qualities to allow you to enjoy the great outdoors. Ticks and the diseases they carry are a realistic threat when enjoying the outdoors, but you can all but guarantee yourself safety with the proper tick repellent.



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