Tick Experiment That'll Blow Your Mind

Friend and frequent contributor to North American Hunter, Grant Woods, recently conducted an experiment to illustrate how ticks find you.

Calvin Wakefield, an intern, helped monitor how many ticks were in a whitetail bedding area on Grant's property near Branson, Missouri, by walking through it while wearing white pants. Calvin collected 100-plus ticks in only a few minutes!

If Calvin's tick-collection exercise causes you to start scratching under your pant leg, then Grant's next experiment will probably give you nightmares.

Grant put dry ice in the container shown below and then placed it in the same deer bedding area walked by Calvin. The container sat in place for just under 8 hours.

Ready for some weird science? Ticks are attracted to dry ice because as it melts it releases carbon dioxide (CO2), which is what mammals (sources of blood meals for ticks) exhale.

In other words, it's what mammals (like you) exhale that primarily attracts ticks, not body heat or body odor. So the gas produced by dry ice melting is like a loud dinner bell to ticks.

Using masking tape, Calvin and Grant captured 667 ticks that came to less than 1 pound of dry ice. Keeping this in mind, imagine how many ticks would come to get a blood meal from a newborn whitetail fawn that barely moves for days in the same bedding area where Grant placed the dry ice tick trap.

We editors want to thank Grant Woods and his staff for sharing this info with North American Hunter. Keep up the great work!

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