What beautiful weather we’ve had. The water’s warming up real nice and I’m sure some of you got into those early season panfish that have been cruising the shorelines looking for something to eat.
This is a very special time of the year for me because of the fishing and if there’s anything at all negative about it in any way it would be the presence of wood ticks.
I find myself avoiding tall grass areas like the plague. Actually, picking up a tick-borne disease could be called just that, as one can get extremely ill and the complications can be practically endless. I do know that whenever I’m launching or loading the boat I pretty much stay clear of anything that isn’t gravel.
I recall a fishing trip on the St. Louis River with my neighbor a few years ago, where he came out totally unscathed, not a single tick, and I had twenty-two of them on me. The early morning walk down to the river through a grassy trail, gave me a bad feeling right from the get go.
Once there and fishing, a couple of the little critters made their presence known as I sat on the river bank trying my hand for catfish and walleye. Fishing until noon or so, it was really getting warm out and I knew the ticks would really come alive as we made our way back to the truck. They did and that’s when the twenty-two tick count came into play.
I brushed as many off me as I could and continued to do so all the way home. Leaving my outer clothes in the truck, I had ticks living in there for a week or so. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to drive it anywhere.
My neighbor, on the other hand, had zero ticks on himself, as he treated his clothing with a permethrin-based repellant a couple days before hand. The treatment lasts for a couple weeks and has to be done again but I think I’ll be going in that direction myself. Just use the same old pants, etc. and treat them every two weeks and you should be just fine. It must be some pretty strong stuff because you are supposed to treat the clothing and then let it dry for a couple days before wearing. I really don’t like that but it’s better than picking up a deer tick.
What happens if you find one imbedded in you? Use tweezers and try to reach the head, pulling it gently straight outward. Then wash the area and apply an antiseptic. Keep an eye on the wound, watching for signs or symptoms of an infection. If something doesn’t look right a visit to the doctor is recommended and the sooner the better.
Tick-borne disease risk is small if it’s removed soon, as it needs to be attached 1-2 days before transmitting Lyme disease.
Although there are thirteen known tick species in Minnesota, it’s the black-legged tick, aka deer tick that gets all of the negative attention. Associated with Lyme disease, it’s quite small in size and hard to see. I’ve only seen a couple of them on me but then again they are small. One time I was sitting in a deer stand when I noticed one crawling across the back of my hand. A flick of a finger sent it flying. Once home, a good soapy shower had me feeling clean again.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and many of you caught some fish. Just remember to stay out of that tall grass! I know I will.
~ Greg Clusiau, HSM Outdoors