Deer Hunting? Protect Yourself From West Nile

Mosquitoes are aggravating enough, but this year’s drought combined with an outbreak of the West Nile virus are making the buzzing critters even more despised.

By Alan Clemons, Southern Managing Editor

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the West Nile outbreak currently being tracked is the largest ever in the United States. West Nile was first discovered in the U.S. in 1999 and this year, as of mid-August, 38 states had reported at least one case of infection. The CDC had reported 1,118 cases including 41 deaths as of Aug. 21.

Deet, a ThermCELL, thin wicking performance apparel … avoid problems with mosquitoes and bugs by planning smartly. (DDH Photo: Alan Clemons)

“The peak of West Nile virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, but it takes a couple of weeks for people to get sick, go to the doctor and get reported,” Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the CDC’s Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division, said in this CNN report. “Thus we expect many more cases to occur.”

No cause is known for the this year’s outbreak. Three-quarters of the cases have been reported in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. More than 585 cases and 21 deaths have been reported in Texas, with a large number of those around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hunting situations

If you’re a deer hunter getting ready for the season, taking care of your camp area or cabin can help reduce the chance of mosquito infestation. Empty any containers, old tires or anything that can hold water – even a few inches – and let mosquitoes breed. They’ll find a spot and wear it out if given a toe-hold.

When you’re in camp or hanging around the cabin, use citronella candles and ThermoCELL units. They’re effective. The citronella candles are inexpensive. Refills for the ThermoCELL units aren’t pricey and the tabletop “lantern” models are great. Don’t you want a few of these for your camp?

If you’re going into the woods or afield, use a good bug repellent. I use Deep Woods Off Sportsman, either spray or towelettes (easier to pack), or just 98 percent DEET if that’s in my pack and I forget the Off. When we were in Florida for the July bow opener, I combined the DEET with a ThermaCELL when sitting on the stand and laughed at the impenetrable barrier. It was like being in a bug-free bubble.

According to the CNN report, most mosquitoes don’t carry West Nile and most people get bitten are not infected by the virus or don’t get sick. The CDC says about 80 percent of people infected by West Nile don’t get sick, some will get “mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and vomiting” for a few days or weeks. (Throwing your guts up is mild? I haven’t tossed cookies in a long time, but I don’t recall it being a “mild” anything.)

Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Yeah, I know it’s hot in the Southeast right now. I’ve hunted in short sleeves in January before and been bitten by mosquitoes and bugs nearly year-round. Today’s performance fabrics are lightweight, like the hunting togs from Under Armor, along with being cool, odor-controling and comfortable. Give them a try.

Check out the full story here.