A Thermacell is a useful piece of kit to have in your hunting arsenal. This small handheld or clip-on device keeps mosquitoes at bay while you focus on the more important tasks at hand.
Is Thermacell Good for Hunting
For the most part, Thermacell is a great add-on to your hunting gear. While there are a few different mosquito repellents on the market, a Thermacell is an easy-to-use device that works well in certain conditions.
Great for Stand Hunting
In my opinion, Thermacell works best for stand hunting. When you get into your stand, the mosquitoes are quick to start swarming, and this is where Thermacell works best.
It creates a barrier around you, so you don’t have to be swatting at mosquitoes.
While Thermacell does work for spot and stalk hunting, it may be affected by movement or wind. In the stand or blind, there is no movement and not so much wind which is prime conditions for the Thermacell to work.
Repels Mosquitoes Completely
There are not many things on the market that can repel mosquitoes completely, and in my experience, the Thermacell is the only one that can do it.
Bug sprays like Deet do a great job of preventing mosquitoes from biting, but it doesn’t stop them from swarming around your head. It also doesn’t stop them from zoning in on any little patch you missed.
When you’re out hunting, you don’t want to be waving your hands around swatting at mosquitoes or scratching yourself overenthusiastically.
This is where Thermacell shines. It creates an invisible barrier that stops mosquitoes from getting near you.
Admittedly I had some mosquitoes break through the barrier, but they seemed to go into a frenzy and try to find their way out and weren’t focused on me or their next meal.
If you’re like me and don’t like the sticky, greasy feeling of bug sprays, Thermacell is the answer. Far too often, I would rub my mouth with bug spray and taste that bitter taste of chemicals.
The feeling and the smell of bug sprays just aren’t pleasant. Some of the ones you buy in the store may be scented, but let’s face it, they just wouldn’t cut it out hunting.
The Thermacell isn’t applied to your skin or clothing, so you don’t face that problem.
While there are many upsides to Thermacell, there are a few downsides also. Some of these may have a direct impact on hunting.
Doesn’t Always Work
My biggest gripe with using a Thermacell while out hunting is it doesn’t always work. If the conditions are not perfect for the Thermacell, you can quickly find yourself surrounded by mosquitoes.
For this reason, I always bring a backup bottle of mosquito repellent.
The wind is the biggest threat to your Thermacell not working. Sometimes you can position your Thermacell upwind, but more times than not, it still doesn’t work.
Has a Scent
As we all know, deer hunting and scents don’t work. The sad fact is Thermacell has a scent.
That been said, other bug sprays have a scent also. However, Thermacell is carried in the wind a little more due to the design. They have brought out a more natural scent, but the jury is still out on that.
More Expensive Than Alternatives
Thermacell is not cheap. First, you have to buy the product, and then you have to buy the gas. Lastly, you have to buy the repellent.
While the product is the most expensive cost initially, the gas and the repellent have to be refilled frequently, and if you like to spend as much time out hunting as I do, that’s a lot.
Can Deer Smell Thermacell
Deer have an incredible sense of smell and can undoubtedly smell Thermacell, just as they can smell any other mosquito or bug repellent you use.
Hunting with a Thermacell is not different from any other big game hunting, and you have to play the wind.
Thermacell has brought out replacement mats with an Earth Scent, which is aimed at hunters. All things given it should be a small improvement, but I still think a deers sense of smell will detect the chemicals in it.
For best use of a Thermacell and to prevent deer from smelling it, keep yourself downwind of the deer.
How to use Thermacell for Hunting
While a Thermacell isn’t particularly difficult to use, there are a few tips for making it more effective while out hunting.
Depending on your style of hunting, it may vary a little. Let’s look at still hunting and spot and stalk.
Still Hunting With a Thermacell
Still hunting offers you the best performance with a Thermacell. This is because of the lack of movement.
Also, if in a stand or blind, you usually get a bit more shelter from the wind, which makes a huge difference to the performance of the Thermacell.
- Make sure you have a fresh pad and some backups
- Make sure you have enough gas
- Ignite the Thermacell before walking to your stand, as it takes some time to heat up
When you get to your stand or blind, place the Thermacell upwind, this will blow the active ingredient back towards you instead of away from you.
Spot and Stalk Hunting With a Thermacell
I find spot and stalk hunting with a Thermacell a bit of a hit-and-miss. The effectiveness really depends on the wind.
The steps are pretty similar to the above, with the main difference being where you place the Thermacell.
I like to attach the device to my backpack if I’m backpack hunting, otherwise, I’ll clip it onto my belt.
One thing to be aware of with using a Thermacell while spot and stalk hunting is that it won’t be very effective if you move too fast.
Say you just spotted a huge buck that’s on the move and you’re in a hurry to cut him off; you may have to suffer a few mosquito bites.
Best Thermacell for Hunting
There is not much difference in the performance of portable Thermacells. The two models that are used for hunting are the MR300 and the MR450.
Performance-wise there is no difference. The main difference between these two models is durability.
The MR450 has a little bit of a tougher casing. It also comes with a few extra features like an included clip, better grip, and a radius zone.
With that being said, the MR450 is the best Thermacell for hunting due to its improved durability over the MR300.
Thermacell is a bit of a hit-and-miss for hunting. In my experience, it works much better for still hunting than it does for spot and stalk.
However, I still much prefer to have a Thermacell on me when out hunting and bring bug repellent as a backup.
The smell of a Thermacell is something that a deer can smell, but they are mostly not alarmed by it. If you use the wind to your advantage, the Thermacell won’t cause any issues.