Insects can always be a problem especially in early fall hunting. Mosquitoes are the usual culprits and we bow hunters look for ways to deflect the pests without stinking up the woods with unnatural odors. But fall mosquitoes are nothing to compare with mosquitoes in Canada in early spring. On top of that black flies come out in northern climates in the spring, and have a thirst for human blood as much as mosquitoes do.
I was planning a spring bear hunt in Alberta, Canada with my bow in early 2011, and had a significant concern about how bad the black flies and mosquitoes could be that time a year. I had seen the effects of black flies on people who were allergic to their bites and seen the effects of clouds of mosquitoes making a person's life miserable during the spring season, and I wasn't looking forward to that part of my bow hunting trip.
I contacted my bear hunting outfitter and asked him about the insect condition a week or so before our hunt and he warned me that the black flies and mosquitoes were terrible this spring. I asked him for his advice on how to handle the critters, and he calmly stated, "ThermaCELL". I was a little surprised by his response. I had seen ThermaCELL advertised, seen it on the shelf at my local sporting goods store, but thought of it as more of a gimmick than a true defense against spring insects. But my outfitter assured me the ThermaCELL was the best protection against the pesky insects.
I proceeded to purchase one of the ThermaCELL units and ThermaCELL refills for my trip into Canada. However, I wasn't so trusting as to leave my deep woods insect repellent amongst the rest of my hunting stuff.
The first couple of days in our hunt the weather was cool and the wind was blowing and even though we used the ThermaCELL each day I didn't really notice or think that I noticed a distinct difference between ThermaCELL and what I would most likely have used. But on the third day my eyes were opened.
My guide and I were deep in the Alberta bush and as we climbed off of our quads the mosquitoes swarmed us. I can't remember a time when I've had more mosquitoes attacking my person more aggressively than on that evening. We were trying to set up the stand, arrange shooting lanes and get settled in for the evening hunt, but it was almost impossible to do anything because one of your hands was constantly trying to keep the mosquitoes off your face and hands. I desperately reached for some mosquito spray, squirted some on my hands and face but it didn't stop the assault. It took us 10 minutes or so to get things arranged on the ground so that we could climb into her stand and light the ThermaCELL. It takes a couple minutes for the ThermaCELL to begin working, and we continued to be assaulted by the mosquitoes for a couple more minutes.
I was astounded therefore, when after about three or four minutes the mosquitoes simply disappeared from around us. I could look beyond our immediate stand and see swarms of mosquitoes still flying around. The barrel where are bear bait was kept was surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes. We sat there all afternoon and into the evening until nightfall and never had another mosquito land on my face my hands or even be close enough for me here the buzz of their wings. As bears came in to the bait you can see the swarms of mosquitoes flying around him. But we were mosquito free! The rest of the week was a repeat of that evening. The very first thing I did upon getting off the quad each evening was light ThermaCELL and within three minutes the mosquitoes were gone.
The ThermaCELL is an easy to use device. The unit itself provides a container where an alcohol-based insect repellent is loaded into the bottom of the unit. You then click the device similar to how you'd click a lighter to light the repellent and within a few minutes the device emits a cloud of protection invisible to the naked eye and without noticeable scent for space of about 15 feet in all directions.
ThermaCELL comes in a number of different colors including camouflage. It has an accessory that can be purchased that will carry the device and can be attached to a belt or pack. Each of their refills are stated to last four hours, but my experience suggests that each refill lasts closer to six hours. The ThermaCELL units sell for around $20, and you can find a three pack of refills for anywhere between $15 and $20. ThermaCELL can be purchased in almost any sporting goods store, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, and probably hardware stores. Almost anywhere you can buy insect repellent you should be able to find a ThermaCELL.
I am generally a skeptic when confronted with outdoor accessories that promise exceptional results. It has usually been my experience that such sales pitches fall short of the actual results. However, ThermaCELL is one product that is not just bragging. It is not bragging if you can do it! ThermaCELL keeps the bugs away!
You can visit ThermaCELL's website by clicking Buy ThermaCell