Journeys With Jim: How to protect against, and deal with, ticks

Published on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:13
Written by JIM BELIVEAU

COLUMNIST

With all the time I spent in the deer woods last fall, I can scarcely remember a day that I found one of those pesky ticks on me or my clothing. My best guess is maybe once or twice in all my days afield. No so this spring, seems no matter where my wanderings take me, there are a host of the little buggers just waiting for me to show up.

It seems that every year, doctors and other medical people are finding new diseases associated with tick bites. Lyme disease is pretty tame compared to these new ailments that we’re learning about today. I’m certainly no expert on the subject, just offering my own field experiences. I would suspect that because of the relatively mild winter we just had was a boom for the tick population. I can’t speak to the conditions in the eastern part of the state but here in Harford, Litchfield and Fairfield counties, where I do all of my hunting, the ticks are just everywhere.

There are tick repellents that help quite a bit. The ones that you spray on your clothing seem to work best. Staying out of “brushy” areas or tall grass helps to prevent encounters with ticks. Long sleeve shirts, tucking pants into boots are also ways to help keep ticks off your skin. Check yourself often while outdoors, especially your legs. Ticks seem to always get on your legs and if you don’t notice, they’ll crawl up your body in no time.

Maybe a complete suit of armor and a helmet would offer 100% protection; it would be kind of hot in there though. Any outdoor adventure has some degree of risk, be it ticks, snakes, bees or bears or Bigfoot. Being prepared and knowing those risks beforehand will make any outdoor activity fun, like it should be and not a disaster to deal with later on.

Over the years, I’ve had more ticks on me than I care to think about but I’ve been very lucky to have spotted them before they could do me too much harm. A few times I’ve had them on me and they were just starting to burrow into my skin. I’ve tried removing them with tweezers but found that if handled too roughly, you’ll break the tick into pieces leaving the head imbedded in your skin. I prefer to just use my fingernails and gently pull on the tick to remove it in one piece, then I smoosh em’ with the tweezers.

A good friend of mine contracted Lyme disease about 15 years ago and suffered quite a bit as a result. As I’ve said, there are risks in almost any aspect of life but not living it to the fullest out of fear is not the answer but rather being prepared and ready to face life’s challenges is what matters and is most rewarding. Until next time, celebrate the outdoor life through your own adventures.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns, General Sports on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:13. Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2017 22:15.