A few years ago, I was spring turkey hunting in my home state of Kansas. I spent several hours walking, standing and sitting in grass and brush, lying in wait for a big Tom. I don’t remember if I got a bird that year, but what I do remember is coming home and discovering that I was crawling with ticks. My wife made me sit on the back porch, while she treated my clothes and then spent hours picking ticks off of me with a pair of tweezers. We lost count somewhere past two hundred. 

I was lucky that none of the ticks got a good hold of me and I avoided illness, but ticks can be a definite hazard for hunters. This two part article will explore how to avoid tick bites and what to do if you get one.

When doing some research on tick borne illnesses, I found the statement that to avoid being sick you should avoid areas with ticks. I laughed. Any hunter that goes outside in tick country is going to get a tick at some time.   

The best way to avoid a tick borne illness is not to avoid the outdoors, but to practice some simple prevention techniques. First, invest in a good set of bug proof clothing such as Rynoskin. (After the event above, I invested in a set. They actually work and don’t contain chemicals).

The Rynoskin website states that the underwear are “specifically designed to provide the wearer with comfort, breath-ability, stealth movement and eliminate snags against brush. This armor will stretch to accommodate all different body sizes. Rynoskin is ultra-lightweight (9 oz.) body-forming, cool, and comfortable. Rynoskin has an impenetrable fabric and snug fitting elastic cuffs that provide complete protection from the following insects: Sand Fleas, Flies (Biting Midges), No-See-Ums, Black Files, Ticks, Chiggers, Ants & Gnats and many other biting insects.”

I found the underwear to be exactly as advertised. They have tight cuffs that prevent insects from crawling through, and the material is cool, lightweight, and woven so tight nothing can get through or bite through. They are truly great at eliminating tick bites (avoiding chigger bites was a definite bonus).

Another preventative measure is to seal cuffs at the ankle and wrist with tape and spray cuffs with insect repellent (don’t forget the neck, waist and hair). Of course this exposes you to chemicals, but it is a quick fix if you don’t have bug underwear.

The next article in this series will explore what to do if you get a tick.