Increasingly, turkey hunters I know are telling me that they are hanging up their turkey hunting gear. The reason: ticks. What a sad thing when all they need to do, to be safe, is to spray their hunting duds well with Permethrin, and remain vigilant.

Granted, tick diseases are nothing to fool around with. In fact, in the overall scheme of things, some Lyme infections and associated diseases can be far more perilous and debilitating than the dreaded coronavirus.

1) In Maine last year, there were 1,500 documented cases of Lyme infections. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that in fact in Maine actual cases of Lyme disease are at least ten times that figure!

2) Along with Lyme disease, deer ticks carry other bacteria and viruses, including babesiosis and anaplasmosis.

3) Although ticks need to be attached to your body for 36 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease, a shorter exposure time may be risky in the case of deer ticks infected with babesiosis or anaplasmosis.

4) Contrary to popular myth, ticks don’t jump on you. They hang on the edge of a fern or plant swaying back and forth waiting for a host to rub against the vegetation.

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is now the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, and that the new estimate suggests that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number.

Here are some helpful tick bite-prevention strategies to keep you, your family and pet protected: Tips Courtesy of

• YOUR YARD: Blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease are not out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, or anywhere it is shaded and there are leaves with high humidity. Place a layer of wood chips between your grass yard and the woods edge. The “barrier” serves to remind you when you step from tick-safer to tick-dangerous habitat.

TICK CHECKS: Do at least one full-body tick check daily (on yourself, children and pets) with clothes off…and carefully remove and identify any ticks found. (Wear light colored clothing so ticks are easier to find.)

OUTDOOR PURSUITS: When on a hike, bike, or walk try to remain in the center of a trail in order to minimize your exposure. Remember — ticks cannot fly, they crawl up. Avoid sitting directly on the ground, woodpiles or fallen logs — areas where ticks love to live.

• PERSONAL PROTECTION: Wear tick repellent clothing or spray your clothing with Permethrin or some other repellent that contains deet. It doesn’t hurt to tuck your trousers inside your socks and wear tight fitting clothing such as turtlenecks or collars that button.

Permethrin, or tick repellants that contain Permethrin, are available online, at sporting goods outlets, and the big box stores. Don’t spray it on your skin. Best method is to hang your hunting clothes on a line on a still morning and spray your hunt duds liberally. Give it a half hour and you are good to go. Experts tell me that one spray job of Permethrin will get you through the turkey season.

Safe hunting, tick free.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at

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