The Forgotten Predators to be Aware of This Hunting Season

Andy McVey

Whether you’ve been hunting for the past 20 years or are brand new to the sport, it’s important to know what predators you might encounter.

Here is a list of the most common, but often forgotten, predators to keep in mind the next time you’re visiting your favorite hunting ground.

The Sun

Sun exposure has been proven to have tremendous health and wellness benefits for people. In fact, moderate sun exposure benefits your health by improving mood, bone health, sleep quality, and even immune system. But having too much of anything can be a bad thing, and sun exposure is no exception. Not taking the proper precautions can cause uncomfortable sunburns and can even lead to skin cancer.

If you plan to spend hours in the woods, remember to guard your skin by wearing long sleeved clothing and a hat to protect your scalp and face. Being under the cover of trees is not enough to protect your skin from sun damage. 

Protect exposed areas, such as your hands, ears, neck, and face with a generous amount of broad-spectrum sunscreen containing an SPF of at least 30 to minimize damage to your skin. We recommend a waterproof sunscreen to assure that you remain protected when sweating. Most sunscreens are not long-lasting; a rule of thumb is to reapply every two hours in order to be fully protected from the sun’s potentially harmful UV rays.

Ticks

Ticks are often the most forgotten predator because of their small size, but the reality is that these insects are deadly parasites that can wreak havoc on your health. They hide in tall grass and bushes, leaf piles, and ground cover, waiting on a new host to latch onto. This host can be you, the deer that you’re hunting, your dog, or any animal. They’re very discrete crawlers; in fact, most people won’t feel a tick crawling on their skin. Once they’ve latched onto you, it can become difficult to successfully pull them off. Please follow these instructions if you suspect that a tick has latched onto you. 

Why are ticks dangerous? They can spread life-altering tick-borne diseases, including: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Lyme disease is reported as the most common tick-borne disease among Americans, with the number of reported cases dramatically increasing each year. The CDC states that there were nearly 60,000 in 2017, which is about three times higher than cases reported in the 1990s.

As scary as ticks can be, don’t let them deter you from doing what you love. In fact, you’ll be surprised to find out how simple the preventative measures are. It starts with wearing a long-lasting tick repellent, preferably a safe and nontoxic chemical repellent, such as picaridin. Picaridin 20% has long-lasting properties and our Ranger Ready picaridin products provide tick protection for 12 hours, allowing you to hunt worry-free.

Worried that a picaridin spray will damage your hunting gear? Ranger Ready is not a plasticizer, making it the safe and effective DEET alternative. You’ll never have to worry about picaridin eating through elastic, plastic, rayon, rubber, or vinyl. For hunters who want to remain under the radar of bugs and animals, our Scent Zero unscented insect repellent is the best tick repellent for you this hunting season. You’ll be able to stay protected while being undetected; not a single deer or wild bird will have a clue that you’re present.

Spiders

Friends or foes? Many of us have been taught to let spiders be rather than killing them on sight. This is probably the best approach when in the woods, as you’ll be surrounded by thousands of spiders while hunting. While most spiders are harmless, the United States is home to two types of poisonous spiders: the black widow and the brown recluse, as well as the hobo, whose bite is non-life-threatening, but can cause complications. The black widow can be found in Northern, Southern, and Western regions of the United States; the brown recluse is located in Midwestern and Southern states; and the hobo spider resides in the Pacific Northwest.

The best way to prevent encountering a poisonous spider is by avoiding their nesting areas. These spiders like to hide in dark places, so proceed with caution when approaching brush piles, stacks of wood, and piles of leaves.

To prevent a spider or tick from crawling into your clothing, we recommend tucking your pants into your socks and your shirt sleeves into your gloves. However, if you’ve followed our advice and still suspect that you’ve been bitten, we recommend you seek medical attention as quickly as possible.  

Snakes

Just like spiders, venomous snakes can also be found throughout the United States. The CDC has identified four general types of venomous snakes native to the United States: rattlesnakes, copperheads, coral snakes, and cottonmouths. 

  • Coral snakes are very small and thin, ranging from 14-20 inches in length. They reside in Southern states of America, as well as Southern Arizona.
  • Cottonmouth snakes, also referred to as water moccasins, are semi-aquatic snakes that thrive in still bodies of water, such as still moving creeks, lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout Southeastern states.
  • Copperheads can be spotted just about anywhere in the United States, from Southern New England to any Midwestern or Southern state. This two-foot snake can easily camouflage with its surroundings, making them particularly difficult to spot in the woods.
  • Rattlesnakes are the most well-known group of venomous snakes among North Americans because of their large presence. There are at least 16 subspecies living in the United States; and the most dangerous rattlesnakes can be found in the woodsides of the U.S.

If you’re going to be hunting in an area where dangerous snakes reside, invest in a pair of snake-proof boots and keep your pants and socks tucked in at all times.

The woods are home to a diverse range of wildlife, and sometimes crossing paths with these animals is inevitable. Knowing who your predators are, as well as what you can do to avoid crossing paths with them, is key to having a safe and enjoyable time this hunting season.  

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