Mosquitoes can be hunters’ worst enemies.
Rain = mosquitoes.
After a rain, the mosquitoes breed in the woods. And fast! By now, most people know that mosquitoes can potentially carry the West Nile virus, but I’d like to share a few other helpful facts.
A mosquito can go from an egg to adult in just five days, but it usually takes a couple of weeks. So after a hard rain like with Tropic Storm Lee, pretty much all of the woods in Louisiana will be infested with endless amounts of mosquitoes.
They’ll live from one week to sometimes six months, depending on weather conditions.
Unfortunately the females, which are the ones that bite us, live six to eight weeks on average.
So you better be ready to deal with swarms of skeeters throughout the beginning of this hunting season.
At temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit, mosquitoes become lethargic, and at under 50 degrees Fahrenheit they shut down completely. Just another reason why I love cold fronts so much!
Get over your fear of heights when climbing trees with your stand, as mosquitoes generally stay within 25 feet of the ground.
Camo clothing doesn’t keep you concealed from mosquitoes. It actually attracts them. Mosquitoes have sensors that detect heat, and darker clothes tend to hold more heat.
On a positive note, mosquitoes typically fly at speeds of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 mph, which is slower than normal walking pace of 3 to 4 mph, so if you walk briskly through the woods you shouldn’t be troubled. But if you’re traveling with the wind you may have to pick up the pace.
Mosquitoes are not attracted to all people equally. Scientific studies show that 85 percent of mosquito bites are due to our genetics. I’m always getting bitten, so I must have these unfortunate mosquito loving genes. Everyone has different types of body chemistry on the outer skin that may or may not attract mosquitoes, as the human skin emits around 340 different substances.
People who have cholesterol on the skin have a higher likelihood of attracting mosquitoes. When processed by the body, cholesterol leaves a byproduct on the skin’s surface. Its not whether you’re cholesterol levels are high, but how well and how much your body is processing it.
Mosquitoes also go after people who have high uric acid, which has an odor. That’s not the only acid they smell. Lactic acid emits from your sweat glands and attracts them, too. Lactic acid builds up in the body while exercising, so the more you walk in the woods the tastier you will become to these blood suckers.
Most types of perfumes and colognes will attract mosquitoes. Another attraction is beer, so lay off the brews or expect to get bitten.
Mosquitoes also can smell carbon dioxide emitted from a person (i.e. through breathing) from up to 50 yards away. Imagine how many mosquitoes are within a 50-yard radius while in the woods.
The larger a person is the more carbon dioxide they emit. Not good for me since I’m a big guy. Kids and smaller people are more fortunate with this.
Once you get bitten, use hydrocortisone cream because it counteracts the effect of the histamines from the bite and helps reduce the swelling and itching. Or take a Benadryl.
Applying household ammonia works great, too. An anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen will help reduce inflammation if you get bit by a number of these bloodsuckers.
Other remedies I heard of is using the inside of a banana peel, sucking on the mosquito bite with a straw and putting tape on the bite.
Last weekend I made a trip up to the Three Rivers/Red River area to do some final pre-season scouting, check cameras and plan my opening-weekend hunting strategy.
On my previous trip weeks earlier the mosquitoes weren‘t numerous, so I left Friday morning after work to make it up north by nightfall, grabbing a few sets of lightweight clothes to deal with the heat.
As soon as I got out of my vehicle once arriving I regretted not bringing my new bug suit. I had driven too far to turn back due to some bugs, so I pressed on.
Luckily I had a bug net hidden at the bottom of my hunting bag, but that was no match, as mosquitoes kept biting through wherever it touched my skin. I had only brought one long sleeve shirt so I put a pair of knee socks over my hands and forearms, but still they bit through both layers.
My hands, arms and face were bitten countless times.
After a couple of hours of running to each camera, getting viciously attacked at each stop, I came out the woods, looked in my rear view mirror hardly recognizing myself. I took a quick picture then went back in the woods to endure more.
The next morning I ventured off into another section of the management area, hoping for fewer bugs. No such luck. They were just as bad at every location I went. Luckily the swelling went down by Sunday.
For opening weekend I’ll have my new bug suit I bought at Cabelas for $35, a Thermacell and medium-thick gloves. That’ll keep me from experiencing another brutal attack by the mosquitoes.
I find Thermacell is the most effective when sitting still in the deer stand. The mat inside the system emits allethrin, a synthetic duplicate of all-natural mosquito repellent found in chrysanthemum plants. I haven’t had any deer spook while using it, but I usually play the wind correctly so I can’t be sure.
Needless to say, I wasn’t able to do much scouting but I did check my cameras. Luckily I found a spot with a few nice bucks walking and hogs walking in daylight several times a day, so the trip was worth it.
And the best news is a cold front is coming through for the weekend. That should keep the mosquitoes at bay for a few hours of the morning hunts.
I already took off Monday morning so I can enjoy a nice three-day bow opening weekend.
Good luck to all, and remember to bring mosquito gear.