Hunting is one of the best pastimes around if you love spending time in nature and procuring your own meat. When hunting, it is important to keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
This makes it easier to spot your prey and observe anything else that might consider you to be prey! Mountain lions, bears, and wolves are large and can be quite easy to spot under the right circumstances.
However, large predators aren’t the only things you need to worry about while hunting; sometimes, the smaller creatures like ticks have it out for you even more.
That’s why I’ll be discussing the best methods you can use to keep those pesky ticks off you while hunting. I’ll also be discussing which ticks you should be most worried about and why.
What Types Of Ticks Carry Diseases?
There are estimated to be around 850 different species of ticks, but thankfully, only 90 of these species can be found in the United States. Of these 90 species, only seven different ticks carry diseases that are harmful to humans.
Below, I will list each of these tick species and make a note of where they are normally found.
Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick looks similar to the American Dog Tick, but they differ in the fact that they aren’t as prevalent.
They can be identified by their bright red, teardrop-shaped bodies. Females feature white shield markings, while males feature white and gray spots on their bodies.
As their name suggests, they are mainly found in the Rocky Mountain states, like Montana, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. In these states, these ticks are normally found in grasslands, shrublands, lightly wooded areas, and along trails.
Blacklegged ticks or Deer ticks are very common, as they can be found anywhere in the Eastern half of the United States. Deer ticks are normally black in color when they have not consumed blood, but when they have, they are light gray to blue in color.
They are normally active from October to May and can be found in moist, shaded areas close to the ground. However, they also hide on the tips of branches of low-growing shrubs, which is when it is easiest to pick them up.
Blacklegged ticks are often found on deer, as their other name would suggest, and their numbers depend greatly on deer distribution.
American Dog Tick
The American Dog Tick can be found throughout most of North America and are rather common. Their favorite places to be are forest edges, grassy fields, scrubland, and trails.
They are reddish in color, and both males and females feature dark markings. They usually like to feed on medium-sized mammals but will latch onto a human if they are given the opportunity.
Brown Dog Tick
The Brown Dog Tick is the tick species most commonly found in homes. In the US, they are found mostly on the Eastern side of the country but are also found in a few areas on the West coast.
While they can spend their entire life cycle indoors, they are also found on bushes, grass, and trees near human settlements. Both males and females are dark brown in color.
Lone Star Tick
Lone Star Ticks can be found mainly in the Southeastern parts of the United States. The Lone Star Tick can usually be found in woodland areas that feature dense undergrowth.
They are reddish brown in color, with males having black markings and females having a white spot on their backs. The Lone Star Tick is also specifically known for feeding on humans.
Gulf Coast Tick
As its name suggests, the Gulf Coast Tick is found mainly around the Gulf of Mexico but can also be found on the Atlantic Coast. These ticks are light brown in color, with light-grey markings.
They can be found in grassy meadows and shady forest edges. They are quite often confused with American Dog Ticks.
Western Blacklegged Tick
The Western Blacklegged Tick is quite closely related to the Deer Tick. They are normally found in the Pacific Coast States. Western Blacklegged Ticks prefer to live in forests, grassland, and near water.
Both male and female variants are light brown in color with some black markings.
What Tick Diseases Do These Ticks Carry?
The ticks I have listed above carry a number of concerning tick-borne diseases. Below I will list what diseases each tick carries.
Rocky Mountain Wood Tick – Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado Tick Fever Virus, Tularemia
Deer Ticks – Lyme Disease, Powassan Disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis
American Dog Ticks – Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia
Brown Dog Tick – Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Lone Star Ticks – Ehrlichiosis, Heartland Virus, Tularemia, STARI, Alpha Gal Syndrome
Gulf Coast Ticks – Rickettsiosis
Western Blacklegged Tick – Anaplasmosis, Lyme Disease
What Tick-Borne Diseases Are Most Common?
While there are a number of tick-borne diseases, the most common ones you can get from ticks are:
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the US, and many hunters are affected by it every year. The symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, headaches, fatigue, and a skin rash called Erythema Migrans.
While Lyme disease isn’t life-threatening, it is certainly unpleasant and should be treated as soon as possible. Make sure you learn the symptoms so you can look out for them – it could be the best piece of hunting advice you receive!
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by ticks and causes symptoms like fever, headaches, and rash. While it is uncommon for people to die from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, it is possible, so it should be treated early with proper antibiotics.
How To Avoid Ticks And Prevent Tick Bites?
When you’re out hunting, the last thing you want to worry about is being covered in ticks. Thankfully, there are quite a few methods you can use to avoid ticks.
The most important part of tick prevention is preventing ticks from getting to your skin in the first place. The best way to go about this is by wearing tops with long sleeves and tucking them into your pants. You should also tuck your pants into your boots or socks.
This will help with preventing tick bites, as it prevents the ticks from actually making their way to your skin to bite you.
Another important part of tick prevention is making sure to use scent-free detergents on your hunting clothes. Ticks are attracted to certain scents, so if you wash your hunting clothes with some flowery detergent, you may end up covered in ticks!
Therefore, using scent-free detergent won’t just stop you from scaring away game; it will also help you avoid ticks.
One of the most obvious ways to prevent ticks from biting you is by using a tick repellent. Tick repellent will make you a much less appealing target for ticks, as they contain chemicals that ticks and other pests are not fond of.
Just make sure to spray yourself with it regularly, as it could wear off, and you could end up bringing more than just some meat home from your hunt!
Permethrin is an insecticide that will not only repel ticks but also kill ticks. If you want to stop ticks from going anywhere near you on your next hunt, treat your clothing with permethrin.
Permethrin-treated clothing can cause ticks to die if they come into contact with it and will also deter them as a result.
You shouldn’t worry about it giving your clothes too much of a scent while out on the hunt, as it is not a scent that will deter deer or other game.
One of the first things you should do when coming back from a hunt is a tick check. If you are by yourself, then you can use a handheld mirror to see the spots that are difficult to see normally.
Otherwise, you should get someone to take a look for you. Once you’ve finished checking for ticks, you should take a shower and then wash and machine-dry your clothes as soon as possible.
These processes should kill any ticks if you’ve brought some home with you.
What To Do If You’ve Been Bitten By A Tick
Being bitten by a tick is not a fun experience, but if you spend a lot of time outdoors, then it is bound to happen eventually.
If you find a tick on your body after you’ve been hunting, there are a few steps you can follow.
You can start by getting a pair of small tweezers and gripping it as close to your skin as possible. Using the tweezers, pull upwards steadily. You should make sure not to jerk or twist the tick off.
When you’ve successfully removed the tick, clean the area you were bitten with isopropyl alcohol or some warm soapy water.
If you’re worried about what type of tick has bitten you and that you may contract one of the diseases mentioned above, then you should place the tick in a sealed container and bring it to a healthcare provider so they can identify it. Otherwise, you can just flush it down the toilet.
You should then watch for symptoms of any of the diseases mentioned above for the next 30 days.
What attracts ticks?
There are many things that attract ticks; however, carbon dioxide and sweat are what attracts ticks to humans.
What time of day are ticks most active?
Ticks are thought to be most active from 6 am to 12 pm, so you should avoid hunting during these times if possible.
Can you feel a tick bite?
Tick bites are mostly painless, and while this might seem like a good thing, it really isn’t.
This is because you won’t know if a tick has bitten you, and in most cases, tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease require a tick to be feeding from you for a while before you contract them.
Now that you know what types of ticks are in certain areas of the United States and what diseases they carry, you know what to look out for. Our tick-repelling tips should also allow you to do some tick-free hunting.
If you want more hunting advice, such as how to stay warm when hunting, you should check out our website at The Hunting Jack.