Technology to beat the bugs

photo (52)Take your pick of synonyms that go with the opening of bow season or teal season. 
Along with warmer temperatures, mosquitoes, gnats, and other insects that hunt the hunter are out in full force.
For years, I tried to stealthily kill mosquitoes while in the treestand, or boldly went through all sorts of unabashed gyrations to slap the suckers while hunting teal.
But this weekend, I found a solution I wish I had known about for a long time. 
ThermaCELL has a multitude of products, but the most popular one for hunters is the hand-held model. The device has a butane cartridge the user turns on, which then heats up a pad saturated with the repellant, thereby releasing the repellant into the air. 
“The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers,” the ThermaCELL website says. “It repels up to 98 percent of mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums, and will not harm humans or pets.”
For a first use, I was baptizing the ThermaCELL in fire. The Arkansas farm I was bowhunting this past weekend is right on the Ouachita River. The farm holds dozens of acres of standing water that is stagnant and a mosquito paradise during the summer.
I was hunting out of a pop-up blind. I opened the window of the blind just enough to be able to shoot through if a deer came out into the field. But when I opened that window, it was like I-10 through Houston at rush hour, except the mosquitoes were all lining up bumper to bumper to get to me.
Within a couple of minutes of turning on the ThermaCELL, the mosquitoes disappeared. Instead of moving around trying to avoid being bitten, I was able to stay completely still and watch for deer. Last year, my hands were polka-dotted by mosquito bites. This year, I did not get bit one time.
The ThermaCELL is going to the top of the list of mandatory early season products for me, and if you are used to being attacked by mosquitoes while hunting, I would recommend it for you, too.

ThermaCELL retails for around $25.