Hey guys, interesting topic. I would like to say you get used to them, but that would be a lie. Lot's of folks like to wear netting, but that bugs me (get it?). I use Ben's 100 bug dope and every so often when they get really bad light up a cigar (I'm not a smoker and can't stand the way those things taste, but I can stand a cigar better than a couple millon mosquitoes in my face). I've never found a way to escape white sox where they are bad. Those little suckers are the most aggravating. Just concentrating on the task at hand makes them not as bad, but doesn't get rid of them. You know when all you have to complain about is bugs, life is good. That helps make them not so bad. Bug dope and lots of it along with a cigar smoked up, makes things bearable. If all else fails wear a net.
Granted folks, I haven't hunted around Bethel or Minto Flats, maybe Coldfingers or Trackdog has better suggestions.
It's funny, bugs are one of the first and most often talked (cussed) about topics on fishing and hunting trips when someone visits Alaska. Yet they seem to be the first thing that is forgotten after the trip is over. So, the bugs are well worth the trip!!! <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo-->
White sox are little suckers and they don't just bite or sting, they CHEW on you. They actually make a small sore. This is usually accompanied by swelling. Very, very aggravating. For some reason black flies seem to effect me the worst, I guess I have a reaction to their bite.
The most painful non-injury inflicted (at least to me) is getting stuck by devils club (when the plant is green) in a joint in your hand. Makes the joint swell and becomes very sore. Devils club along the Cape Suckling, Kaliakh River and Robinson Mountain area will go through heavy leather gloves is very hard to remove the hooked thorns.
You guys just had to mention them, and now they are out! Big suckers too! Beaks like a Bald Eagle and suction like a dredge pump.
the nicest thing about them is hearing their little bones crack when you grind them under the heel of your boot!
There are a gazillion methods that people swear by to defeat the dang things, but the most effective is 100% DEET. The downside is that the stuff will eat the watch off your wrist, disolve the lenses in your glasses, and peel the paint off anything you touch. What it does to the body when soaked into the skin cannot be good! I use it on cloathing and hats and try to avoid in on my skin.
for application to the skin, I try kinder and gentler things like AVON "Skin so Soft" (works pretty good and is great for my fair hide) and a concoction of Ceder oil that I got from a Traditional Archery supply store.
When sitting on a bear stand I find that the only relief some evenings is a bug net. The nice thing about the net is that it helps strain out the half inch or so of dead skeets that collect in a coffee cup when you fill it.
I have also tried taking Vitaman E tablets (helps some) or Garlic pills (helps even more but interfears with my love life) a few weeks prior to a trip.
the best thing about the MooseQuitos is that they help get the tolerence for pain up for when the No-See-Ums come out. Them dang things raise a welt on me like a Horsefly bite (Benedryll helps the itching some) and they can fly through most bug nets without missing a wingbeat. They are attracted to blood and the only way to tolerate skinning a critter when they are out is with rubber gloves on and a healthy dose of DEET right around the arms where the glove ends.
Earplugs help drown out the sound of the Kamakazie attacks and keep one from tearing off his cloths and running maddly through the brush till you are overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the hordes and succomb to the long sleep brought on my massive hemorage.
Tis the Season,
Scotty (slappin and scratchin for the next few months)
Stranger, Coldfingers is right that those suckers are out in force as we speak. They seem really bad in Girdwood this spring. They typically will make a nuisance of themselves till just after the first snow. However, I've been mugged by them on the Copper River when there was 6 feet of snow on the ground in December!!!
The worst I have ever experienced was in the Copper River Basin south of Glenallen. I found a neat little hidden lake near the mud volcanoes that was just filled with trophy Rainbow trout. The moosequitoes were so bad I couldn't fish. In your eyes, down your collar, in your ears, up your nose, not one inch of me didn't have 100 or more mosquitoes on it. I was doused head to toe in 100% Deet, and they didn't care. Didn't hurt their feelings one bit. I put a head net and net gloves on and couldn't see because of all the mosquitoes on it. Well, I packed up my gear and left the best fishing spot for trout I have ever seen and haven't been back. I've been thinking if I'm ever on that side of the ridge again and the wind is blowing a bit, I might just try to get a few Rainbows out of there, but no way I'll step foot on that plateau again without the wind blowing.
"It is very probable that many of Alaska's mosquitoes could whip a wolf. They are the embodiment of bravery. I have seen a single mosquito attack a full grown dog. It has been said that the Alaska mosquitoes differ from others by having a white spot between their eyes about the size of a man's hand. I know a Colonel who asserts that he met one on the trail, and fortunately for him, the monster was eating a squirrel at the time."
from Trailing and Camping in Alaska by Addison Powell 1909.
Oh man! don't remind me about devils club...bad mojo memories....bad....
as for bugs---bens 100, muskol, and then if that don't work, go someplace there aren't any bugs...
seriously thats all you can do.
as for that #### plant.... I was chased down the side of a mountain by a squatter and his dogs and fell down a slope that was overgrown with that ****... the welts took 3 weeks to heal. I didn't have a gun w/me or I woulda shot his dogs. no lie, that hurt. I was pickin thorns outa me forever. these aren't small thorns either, they can get 1-2 inches long and the plant grows these huge leaves that hide the thorns so if you're not paying attention you'll pay the price. even the underside of the leaves have thorns. there isn't a bare patch of plant where there isn't a thorn except on the tops of the leaves. nasty---very nasty. I lived in Phoenix for 2 years and I did not see a cactus that was more thorny than the club.....yuck
Setting yourself on fire only brings temporary relief.
One of the best ploys is to take a tourist along. They are not all scabbed over and make good bait. The bugs also get some kind of perverse joy out of the shreiks and moans. The waving of the arms realy gets em excited.
your devil's club sounds almost as bad as our black locust. i was ridin dirt bikes with a friend who rode right through a small patch of the locust. a 3" thorn went through the last joint on his left pinky finger, he lost the last digit. i dumped my bike before going through the locust grove. been there before. won't do it again.
avon skin so soft, really made a difference when i was working on the rivers, as a towboat deckhad. i looked like i had been shot with 00 buckshot many a time, think i'd a rather been. now that everybody is onto it, the price has tripled.
i did'nt feel any easier, when my friends down in nawlins, said i smellt perty either. never let go of my cheater pipe after that. halfbreed
I think the Alaska Dept of Tourism would pay money to end this thread. <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo--> I knew about the bugs, never knew about Devils Club. Is there any place in Alska that's less "buggy" than the rest?
We just need to get them toursits to send money for the privelege of staying away.
Truthfully (keepin in mind the source now!<!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo--> they realy are not all the bad in the civilized portions of Alaska. I hardly ever get swarmed in the K-Mart parking lot, unless of course, it is after dark. Bear in mind that "after dark" means late Septembrrrrr or Octobrrrrr and the skeets are busy tearing apart beaver dams since they are too lazy to cut firewood.
Actually, we like toursists (as do the skeets) and encourage them to pay a visit. Bring a tennis racket. A hungry bug is much more of a challenge than a bloodsucking bat anytime. You handgunners be sure to bring some snakeshot for the big bore (we may not have any snakes, but we got a jillion uses for snake shot)
Funny you mention the tennis racket, I was visiting a good friend of mine in Gakona about a month ago and they had a bug zapper tennis racket. Electricified. Swat a skeet with it and it pops a smokes up a storm. Great fun. Oh man, I need to get a life.
You know, I would consider calling you Alaskans liars except I did a little bear hunting in southern Ontario a few years ago. I know their bugs is littler. The black flies only went about half an inch and weighed about 60 grains.
We got to the bear camp before they were ready for us and spent about 2 hours sleeping in the car. Woke up with both arms covered with blood. Muskol did keep them away though.
Maybe polar bear hunting would be the proper sport but I make it a policy to not hunt anything that looks on humans as a source of protein.
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