Ticks – How Do they Find You?

By Hunting NetworkJuly 23, 2014

UPDATED ON: May 1st, 2015

Ticks! Those nasty little disease carrying parasites that just happen to live near and/or on the animals we hunters love to chase just got a whole lot more interesting. If you’re curious to know how they find us oxygen breathing mammals that is.

Last month famed biologist and avid hunter, Grant Woods, performed an experiment in which he illustrates just how these little buggers hone in on you and your prey. Here’s a hint – it’s not through body heat or odor.

To start off, Woods enlisted the help of an unlucky intern to walk through a known whitetail bedding area on his Missouri farm wearing a pair of ghost white pants. With great success, the experiment yielded over 100 ticks on the intern’s pant legs in minutes. Proving why a pair of Tommy Bahamas is just bad fashion sense in tick country.

As if that wasn’t proof enough, Woods then placed a container of dry ice in the same area, allowing it to sit for about eight hours.

tick on dry ice

This container of dry ice helped to attract more than 600 ticks in a known whitetail bedding area. (Photo from North American Hunter) 

With the use of masking tape, Woods (alongside his trusty but likely shaken and now dry heaving intern) collected 667 ticks that covered the dry ice container. The reason for the placement of dry ice was that as it melts it emits carbon dioxide (CO2) which is what ticks are attracted too. It also happens to be the gas exhaled by mammals.

So there you have it. Woods’ experiment helps us understand the tick just a little bit more. The science makes sense; we veteran shed hunters learned a long time ago to stay clear of deer trails in early spring, as those are the most likely areas to pick up a hitchhiker.

On behalf of the Bowhunting.Com staff and its readers, we would like to thank Dr. Woods, and his intern with the white pants, for clearly demonstrating and reminding us all why we hate walking through deer bedding areas.


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