Reducing the bugs can increase deer hunting enjoyment

LITTLE ROCK — That main event now underway — modern gun deer season — will be more satisfying if you keep the bugs out of it.

Bugs — insects in various forms and sizes — are always present in the Arkansas outdoors. These range from wasps seemingly the size of hummingbirds through ticks of all kinds to the unseen, the internal parasites and other critters that quickly draw negative responses from hunters and cooks at home.

When a hunter steps out of his or her vehicle to begin a quest for deer, the bugs are waiting. Cooler weather has reduced the presence of mosquitoes and chiggers but not ticks.

Thorough spraying with an effective insect relent is a prudent first move, even before getting out the gun, the orange items and the snacks. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff members who spend much time in deer country recommend repellents containing permethrin to keep bugs at bay. Treating clothes and gear with permethrin can provide protection for several washings. Check the product labels.

Most insect repellents should be kept off bare skin, but liberal application to shoes, socks, trousers, waistbands and shirts are needed. Give a squirt to your gear, too, but not food or drink items.

Deer stands are wasp habitat. Meeting one or several wasps when you climb into a stand can be unpleasant as well as extremely dangerous. Jerking away from a marauding red wasp when you are in the dark 15 feet above the ground is an invitation to serious injury and even death in a resulting fall.

A can of wasp and hornet spray is a good defense weapon, and some hunters let loose with a strong cloud of it before getting into the stand.

Mark your calendar with 2012 deer opening dates

LITTLE ROCK — Many Arkansas deer hunters like to plan in advance – scheduling vacations, making reservations, arranging other details of their favorite outdoor activity.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has set deer season openings for 2012. These opening dates are: archery: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012; muzzleloader: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 and modern gun: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012.

Orange isn’t just for deer, bear and elk hunting

LITTLE ROCK — You may be a specialist who only hunts squirrels. Or maybe it is just rabbits. Still, you need to have a hunter orange cap and vest available at certain times.

The requirement statewide in Arkansas is that hunter orange, hunter chartreuse or blaze orange must be worn by all hunters, except those going after migratory birds, during firearms seasons for deer, bear and elk. Firearms include both modern guns and muzzle-loaders.

Squirrel hunters typically dress in camouflage in trying to slip up on sharp-eyed fox or gray squirrels. This often takes place in the same areas where others are hunting for deer or bear or in the limited north Arkansas area of elk hunting.

Rabbit hunters rely less on camouflage but often wear camo clothes because they are available. Safety experts recommend some orange clothing for both rabbit and quail hunting, two activities where hunters tend to be close together and where the action often means quick movements to get off shots.