Ticked Off: NDA Members Share their Tick Avoidance Strategies

July 30, 2019 | by National Deer Alliance

                                                                                                                                             Center for Disease Control and Prevention Photo

We recently asked NDA members to tell us about their strategies for keeping ticks off their skin during their time afield, and we received more than 350 responses! While many of the strategies were similar, there were a few unique ones as well, and probably some ideas you haven’t thought of. We summarized the similar responses and included a few of our favorites below.

Lyme disease is a serious matter, and more than half of our members reported having it at least once. We hope this information helps you stay safe as we head into the later summer months and closer to deer hunting seasons. Please note that NDA is only sharing this for informational purposes and does not endorse any of these methods. For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, we encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

  • Permethrin clothing treatments, DEET, wearing light colored pants, frequently checking clothing in the field, throwing clothes in dryer when I get home for 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks, and undressing outside house.
  • We check for ticks immediately after coming in from the outside. If we have a bite, I use a cotton ball soaked with dish soap and water to rub over the tick. this will make it so they can't breathe, and they will let go.
  • My hunting partner and I spent a good part of our hunts chasing ruffed grouse, which took us into some of the thickest gnarly tick infested parts of the forest. We both got brush pants that had "tick cuffs" built in to keep the little nasty critters off our legs and at the end of the hunt we would inspect each other’s upper bodies before we got in the truck.
  • Long underwear tucked into socks and gaiters over my boots/outer pants and a tucked in shirt leaves my neck and arms as the only exposed place one could get to my skin. If I have been in a tick infested area my outerwear goes in a bag outdoors and I take a quick shower right away. All my clothes are put through the drier on a short cycle to kill any ticks on them.
  • Since moving to the Ozarks where ticks are everywhere, I now wear the same treated clothing (Permethrin) when I brush hog, check cameras, place new stands, etc. I also use DEET on exposed skin. I change out of the treated clothing in my pole barn and do a tick check on myself. When I shower I always do another tick check.
  • Wear rubber boots or possibly rhino skins to keep them from sticking to you check yourself often when out in nature don’t wait until you get home. Chemical treatment during turkey hunting or off season. 
  • For deer, just tuck in clothing the best I can so they can't get to the body and check after coming home. I don't want any smells on me during deer season.
  • I have a sock full of sulfur that I put all over myself.
  • Sawyer’s (with permethrin) clothing spray. But my most valuable tool is (Pro-Tick Remedy) tick remover kit. I've used this tick removal tool for about 20 years, and nothing removes a tick easier than this inexpensive tool.
  • DEET! Got a bunch of the good stuff from the Vietnam War!