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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lyme Disease is a threat to outdoorsmen

There is a serious threat lurking in our outdoors. It is about the size of a sesame seed and it is more serious than all the perceived threats of wild critters, severe weather or well-known diseases like rabies. It is the deer tick and the potential of Lyme Disease.
With the arrival of summer weather, most people are taking advantage of the great outdoor opportunities we have in upstate New York. Unfortunately this year many sources have reported an increase in the number of deer ticks and the incidences of Lyme Disease
Although deer are known to carry the deer tick, you do not have to come into contact with deer to be exposed to deer ticks. They are everywhere. There is a potential threat of contracting Lyme Disease in your own back yard as well as in the forest.
Several people in the area have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Other friends of mine had their dogs contract Lyme Disease. Not long ago, my cat which was on a leash attached to the back deck steps had a tick attached. Incidentally, cats do not get Lyme Disease while dogs and humans do.
Most of us are aware of the seriousness of Lyme Disease. I have done several columns discussing it and means of preventing it in past years. In recent years, I have had family and their pets which have contracted Lyme Disease, as well as some friends who have had it.
As some local veterinarians and DEC personnel said to me a couple years ago, we need to be concerned about our pets as well. Carefully check your dog for ticks, remove them and have your dog treated when it developed the first signs of the disease.
Lyme Disease is an infection that can produce skin, arthritic, cardiac and neurological disorders. It is caused by bacterium which is spread by the bite of the deer tick. These are tiny parasitic insects that are about the size of a sesame seed and are difficult to detect. They can be found in almost any outdoor location with vegetation, as well as on animals.
Only deer ticks carry Lyme Disease but other types of ticks can also carry serious diseases. Remember that they crawl up. They do not fly or jump onto you so you have to come into contact with them to be “attacked’ and bitten.
Ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They especially frequent piles of old leaves or stone walls. But they also cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs up to a height of 24 inches and get on animals and humans by direct contact.
When you think you may have been exposed to ticks, you should check carefully for the small black insects. Carefully remove them with tweezers and take the tick in a container to your physician for evaluation. Do not smother the tick with Vaseline or apply heat since this might cause the tick to regurgitate infectious fluids. For most tick borne diseases you have 24 hours to find and remove the tick before it transmits any infection.
The best approach is prevention. When hiking try to stay in the middle of the trail. Wear long pants with bottoms tucked into socks or gaiters to prevent ticks from climbing up your legs. Light colored clothing will help you spot the ticks easier. Spraying your clothing with permethrin is effective but it must be done before you put it on. It is nasty stuff and you should avoid getting it on your skin. There are also items of clothing with build-in tick repellent  available. See as an example of what is available.
Use an insect repellent on any exposed skin. Traditionally this has meant something with DEET, which can also cause problems through prolonged or excessive use. Some people are sensitive or even allergic to DEET so this must be used carefully. There are other repellents which use natural ingredients and do not contain DEET which are effective.
Some vets have suggested that we use Bug Guard on dogs as well as ourselves. The vet pointed out that not only was it effective in repelling ticks and black flies but it was safe to use on dogs since none of the ingredients would harm the dog if it licked itself, as dogs are prone to do.
The symptoms and severity of Lyme Disease vary widely in people. Usually, but not always, there is a bulls-eye rash. Fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck and joint pain are other early warnings. Pets may exhibit a sudden onset of lameness in one or more of the animal’s legs.
As always check with your physician if there is any question. To find out more about Lyme Disease contact the New York State Department of Health toll free at 1-800-458-1158, Madison County Health Department or contact the American Lyme Disease Foundation, Mill Pond Offices, 293 Route 100, Somers, NY 10589 or call 1-800-876-LYME.
Lyme Disease is here in Central New York. Ticks are everywhere, including the shady or brushy areas in your own backyard. Understanding the problem and taking precautions are the best way to protect yourself, your family and pets from this serious threat.
Short Casts
Free Fishing Days: The weekend of June 27 – 28 is designated as Free Fishing Weekend in NYS. Anyone can fish the state’s waters without a license, giving everyone the opportunity to sample the fishing and introduce or renew the experience of the fun of fishing. It is the perfect time to introduce a friend or relative to the sport.
Inlet Bass Derby: The Town of Inlet will hold a Bass Derby on Sunday, June 28. Contestants will fish the waters of the Fulton Chain from Fifth Lake to Old Forge Pond for eight hours. Boats will depart after a livewell inspection from the Inlet town dock in numerical order of their registration. Winning will be based on total weight of five legal bass. Only two anglers per boat are permitted and only artificial baits can be used.
Each boat must have some form of livewell and no contestant is allowed to pre-fish the waters after Wednesday, June 25. The public is invited to watch activities from the town beach. Reservations will be accepted by mail until June 20. More information is available at:
Spey Nation Returns: Spey Nation offers the unique opportunity for enthusiasts and manufacturers of two handed rods to gather in a streamside setting on June 27 in Pineville from  8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location is the Pineville Boat Launch on the Salmon River. Admission, lunch, etc. are free.
Spey Nation features a full BBQ, raffles, “On the water” demonstrations and interaction with some of the experts. Mixing styles, knowledge, and backgrounds, Great Lakes anglers finally have the opportunity to learn traditional Spey, Scandinavian and Skagit techniques from the experts, try specialized equipment on the water and talk with other fishermen in an atmosphere dedicated exclusively to two-handed casting while enjoying a burger and a brew.
Once again, the proceeds of raffles will be donated to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, a grass roots organization dedicated to re-establishing native fish stocks to Fish Creek in upstate New York with the primary focus on restoring runs of native Atlantic Salmon to Fish Creek. You can learn more about their efforts and follow their successes at


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