By Mike Willis
There is something special about hunting turkeys. Their keen eyes and the excitement of being back in the woods after a long winter is enough to get the Seasonal Affective Disorder folks back on track!
Depending on what location you are hunting, you are likely to encounter various obstacles as you try to outsmart these vigilantes of the forest. There are few things more frustrating than having a hard-earned bird closing in, and you find yourself annoyed by a full-on assault by the saber-toothed mosquito.
I have had some horrific encounters with mosquitoes and their bloodsucking relatives in the thick timber of Alaska and North Idaho. I distinctly recall caribou hunting in Alaska and breathing through a rag to filter the bugs out of the air as I inhaled.
While enduring misery is part of the fun and bragging rights of hunting, these moments will cause you to question the very meaning of life. After that trip, I was confident that I was going to need a blood donor.
Thanks to extensive research and technological advancements, hunters can elect to turn these situations around and lighten the burden of these oppressive pawns of Satan.
Many of you may have heard of the insect repelling product called Thermacell. These handheld units emit an odor that has been proven to deter these pests from invading your personal space.
What makes this so significant for turkey hunting is that turkeys do not have a good sense of smell. This is a big advantage for you. While most hunters spend the year avoiding scent at all costs, this is the one time in which you can spoil yourself.
While I would never claim that the Thermacell is perfect, I do firmly believe that they significantly improve your quality of life during those seasons which produce large bug hatches.
For under $40 you can arm yourself with one of these units. The additional recurring expenses for Thermacells are the scent mats and disposable fuel cartridges.
For those who can’t bring themselves to come off the money, put some dryer sheets in your pack. These fragrance-packed sheets are another useful weapon in your arsenal in the battle against these relentless enemies.
I have pulled some dryer sheets out of a sandwich bag on several expedition trips. While this is not an option when pursuing those critters with a keen sense of smell, they can get you out of a pinch in many other situations.
Keeping bugs away is not just a matter of morale, it dramatically impacts your ability to remain still when needed. Turkeys can detect the subtle blink of an eye. Therefore, you don’t stand a chance of staying undetected during a full-on attack of mosquitos.
Ringing in at 10.4 ounces, this device may very well be worth its weight in gold! They come equipped with a case that can be clipped to your pack strap or belt. When stationary, I like to lay it down near me.
Whenever I look at buying a piece of gear, I typically strive to get things that serve multiple purposes. With the Thermacell, you can also use it when camping, fishing, hiking, or even sitting on the back porch. Once you have it, you will find more ways to improve your quality of life.
One final point that I would like to emphasize; nothing is perfect at keeping mosquitos and other pesky insects at bay. If you are expecting to have an impenetrable forcefield around you, stay home. Otherwise, those who are looking to deploy a weapon to fight back may find this product very useful!
*This article is not a paid advertisement but rather an outdoor enthusiast’s personal experience expressed out of a desire to help his fellow outdoorsmen and women enhance their outdoor pursuits.