Amazon: Running Shoe Deals - click here to view current selection.
Running Warehouse: Great prices on closeout shoes! View current selection.

Dealing With Deer Flies on the Run: A Bit of Yankee Ingenuity

Adult deer fly, Chrysops callidusImage by Bruce Martin

I’m fairly well convinced at this point that runners will do just about anything to get in their miles. With this in mind, I wanted feature the ingenuity (and perhaps slight insanity, but who am I to talk after running 15 miles last weekend in toe shoes?) of a local New Hampshire running friend.

One of the challenges we face while trail running up here in the summer are deer flies. They’re a major annoyance whenever you enter the woods, and advice on dealing with them ranges from sticking a fern frond in your hat so that it extends vertically from your head (apparently they aim for the highest spot, and you get to look like a crazy person while you run), or the more common advice to simply “run faster.”

Well, my friend Jim just posted a picture on Facebook showing a little contraption that he made to deal with the flies so that he could continue to get in his runs on his favorite trails. He coated a plastic cup with some sticky stuff called Tanglefoot, pinned it to his running hat, and took off through the woods. Here’s what he had to say: “One “trolling deer fly trap” + one slow jog on the local trails = 50+ deer flies, DEAD!!! Silly, fun, and effective. I shall reclaim my beloved trails now, thankyouverymuch.” The photographic evidence is below – I’d love to hear what his wife had to say about this!

Track and Field Shoe Sale at Running Warehouse!

Running Warehouse Track Shoe ad
Running Warehouse Runblogger Sidebar

Save $$$ On Shoes Gear:
Running Warehouse: Great prices on closeout shoes! View current selection. 25% or more off clearance running shoes - click here to view current selection.
Connect With Me On:
Facebook - Runblogger | Twitter - @Runblogger | Instagram - @Runblogger

Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Dan (Milan, NH) says:

    Nice hat! I’m also curious to hear what his wife said. I’m pretty sure I know what my 4 year old would say… :)

    I know them too well. We grow them in plenty up here in Milan! Another trick that works (at low speeds) is to run backward and swat. On a 6 mile run in July I made the mistake of taking this one trail/forest road that runs along the side of the Upper Ammonousuc River. It’s a perfect breeding ground. I knew I was in trouble when I heard the familiar buzzing of deer flies. It seemed louder than normal so I turned around and saw a swarm of literally 150 circling my head. I chose Option B: ran faster! One did manage to land on my arm and started chewing under my iPod.
    As if the black flies weren’t bad enough. Ah, summers in New England!

  2. Ken Skier says:

    I love it! But I have 2 questions: Where does one buy this “Tanglefoot”…? And how did your friend attach the cup to his hat?

  3. Provides a yummy snack to boot.

  4. Bob (Downtown Runner) says:

    I don’t know what kind of flies we have here in NJ but I recently learned something about repelling them. My wife told me she read that you can put one of those fabric softener sheets (like Bounce) that you normally put in the dryer in your pocket. The claim was that they repel mosquitoes and other bugs.

    The week before the walk I scouted out the trail by myself. There were lots of some kind of fly bugging me. This was without any repellent.

    Then, at the actual event, at the same time of day a week later, all 16 of us put a Bounce sheet in our pocket. No one had any problems with any kind of flying critters. It was great.

    But of course, we didn’t get to take any dead bugs home with us on a cute hat……

  5. That is hilarious!

  6. You’re using my image of a deer fly without proper attribution. Please either attribute the photo within the requirements of the Creative Commons license, or remove it. Thank you,
    Bruce Marlin

    • Pete Larson says:

      Sorry – fixed the attribution. The image was served up by the Zemanta plugin
      that interfaces with Blogger, and the attribution that was provided by
      Zemanta was Wikipedia. My error for not looking further into the source.


    • Get over yourself, Bruce.

  7. Mildred Twitchell says:

    Any thick oil will trap these flies and works very well on the early spring black flies in Maine. We used white hard hats when logging and coated them with mineral oil. Blue might have worked better. I have no idea as I was taught the trick with white hard hats. Without this trick, cutting and peeling softwood trees was almost impossible without getting eaten alive.

Shop Running Warehouse – Summer 2023

Speak Your Mind

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting