And squirrel and rabbit seasons, which open Saturday, and the remainder of the September Canada goose season, any fishing where you’ll be around high grasses and brush.
However, it’s during the early archery deer season going on now and through the month of October when the ticks really seem to get at it...be it the whitetail’s hide or yours.
The roster of these arachnid (spider) family of bloodsuckers in New Jersey is growing and now includes pretty much statewide the Asian longhorn tick that was discovered up in Hunterdon County two years ago. Add this to the dog tick, lone star tick, and black-legged (deer) tick, and you have a fearsome foursome that can spread the likes of Lymes Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Powassan Disease, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, all of which can prove debilitating and in rare instances, ultimately fatal.
As the cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of ticks, a good dose of a Permethrin-based spray on the clothing, including boots, face-covering, and cap, and also, in my opinion, a DEET repellent, at least 40% strength on exposed skin, will keep the disease bearers at bay. In some instances, such as with Permethrin, it will kill them.
While there are natural sprays out there that tout effectiveness on preventing ticks from hanging on or digging in, well, the jury is still out, at least from this corner. I’ve tried a few over the last couple of years and still found some of the bloodsuckers not only crawling on the clothing but also on my forearm. Nah, being a product of the Sixties, give me the chemicals. The more DEET, the better. Again, in my opinion. Permethrin is super effective on clothing and gear but is not supposed to be used on bare skin. One manufacturer, Sawyer, which produces a Permethrin spray for garments, also has a lotion, Picaridin, for skin application which will keep ticks at bay for up to 14 hours. Our spray fave for the epidermis is Repel.
What one must be careful about is handling the deer carcass. Predicated on the area, you are hunting, ticks can infest the whitetails. After the deer is down, closely inspect for ticks. In some instances (see photo), they’ll be crawling around in numbers. We’ve sprayed the hide down thoroughly with the Sawyer and have not had a problem.
Don’t take ticks lightly. Make it a point to spray the clothing (Permethrin will last up to two weeks or two laundry cycles) and gear...and get the skin covered. It only takes a couple of minutes. Follow the directions and worry about the buck, not the bug.