4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Ticks

Spring is turkey season, but it’s also tick season. Here’s how to limit your exposure to dangerous ticks while still enjoying the outdoors.

4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Ticks

Ticks can carry several types of dangerous diseases. From Lyme disease to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and even a food allergy to red meat, ticks are nasty. The good news is you can minimize the number of ticks that find you by taking a few precautions.

1. Dampen boots and clothing with a permethrin-based tick spray.

Several companies offer convenient permethrin-based sprays that are effective for ticks. Two of the most popular are Ranger Ready Repellents and Sawyer. Important note: Permethrin isn’t like traditional bug repellents that you spray on skin. You must plan ahead and spray permethrin on boots and outerwear well before heading into the field; spray clothing outside and then hang it there to dry for at least 2 hours. This is a bit of hassle, but it’s not as bad as it sounds because permethrin will remain effective on the garments for up to 40 days, even if the garments are washed a few times. Permethrin is odor-free after drying, so it also works well in the fall during whitetail season. Studies show that permethrin is tremendously effective against ticks.

LaCrosse Grange
LaCrosse Grange

2. Wear tall, smooth-rubber boots.

I have zero scientific data to support this advice, but through many decades of hiking, hunting and fishing in tick country, I’ve seen first-hand that the number of ticks on my body is greatly reduced when I wear boots such as the 18-inch non-insulated LaCrosse Grange. I tuck my pant bottoms into these tall smooth-rubber boots and tick encounters are far less than if I were wearing leather or Cordura hikers or hunting boots. Tucking my pants into the boots is certainly one reason why ticks have a tougher time hitching a ride, but I think ticks also have a more difficult time due to the boot’s smooth-rubber material.


3. Wear ElimiTick hunting garments.

During turkey season, I wear Gamehide ElimiTick hunting clothing 100 percent of the time. This clothing features Insect Shield Technology for tick protection. The active ingredient is bonded tightly to the fabric; it doesn’t come off when you wash the garments. Gamehide says it will last through 70 washes

Gamehide ElimiTick clothing protects you from ticks because the Insect Shield active ingredient is bonded to the fabric.
Gamehide ElimiTick clothing protects you from ticks because the Insect Shield active ingredient is bonded to the fabric.

When I spend the day in the spring turkey woods shoulder to shoulder with a buddy who isn’t wearing ElimiTick gear, my buddy will be flicking away ticks from his clothing and skin during the day while I’m tick-free. At the end of the day, he’ll find a few stuck to his skin. I’m not saying I never have one stuck to my skin, but it’s rare. Click here to see the many brands that partner with Insect Shield.

4. Purchase and pack a TickEase tweezers.

Fact: The longer a tick is attached to your body, the greater your risk of a tick-borne infection. One product I learned about a couple years ago works well for removing standard-size ticks as well as tiny ones. A TickEase tweezer ($11.99, or two for $20) has a thin tip for removing ticks from people, and it has a slotted scoop on the other end for removing larger ticks from pets. I own two; I keep one in my pickup and pack a second with my hunting gear.

For more about ticks, check out this informative “Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Ticks” from the TickEase website. I learned a lot and I think you will, too.

Be smart this spring. Protect yourself and your family from ticks.


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