What Hunters Need to Know About Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases
I sat on watch for in my favorite patch of hardwoods, enjoying the sun on the yellow hickory leaves, and watching and listening for any sound of the whitetail buck I had patterned in this patch of woods. Hearing the faint crunch of leaves, my hopes rose, in spite of the itch on the side of my neck. Focused, I quickly determined the crunch was nothing more than a hungry gray squirrel in search of sustenance, but the itch on my neck soon had my undivided attention; it was one of five deer ticks crawling on my chest, neck and head.
The deer tick or black-legged tics—Ixodes scapularis—is the scourge of my world. The tiny demon has wreaked havoc with my health, as well as that of my family, friends, dogs and more. Let’s get this out of the way first: I am not a medical doctor, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express in the recent past. I am, however, an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting big and small game in my native state of New York as well as around the globe; in addition, I am, professionally, a licensed Land Surveyor who works outside twelve months of the year. I have probably been bitten or stung by most of what New York has to offer, with the exception of the poisonous snakes. That said, I’ll take whatever mixture of mosquitoes, deer flies and black flies you choose over the damnable deer tick.
I started my apprenticeship working for my father in 1983, at 11 years old, and clearly remember that the only ticks we ever came across were the brown dog ticks, which would fall off the hunting dogs, swollen with blood. Simply put, ticks were not an issue, and Lyme, Conn., was just a town in my neighboring state. Though the disease was named and its symptoms were identified in the late 1970s, it would take another decade for the little arachnids to become a problem for surveyors, sportsmen and hikers in the Hudson Valley of New York. Once they reared their ugly heads, life changed forever.
May 7, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
Fresh drinking water is essential. This water filtration system ensures you will never run out as long as there is a nearby natural water source. It can filter out bacteria, protozoa and microplastics.
Faster and more efficient than pumping or waiting for chemical treatments, the Sawyer Squeeze System offers on-the-go hydration at a good flow. This product is long-lasting, affordable, reliable, cleanable, and very user-friendly.
But Sawyer was way ahead of me — 15 years ahead, to be precise. In 2008, the brand started its Clean Water for All initiative, which provides Sawyer filters to developing countries around the world. And the company spends 90% of its profits funding it.