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Open Season For Ticks

Protect yourself, your family, and your pets from tick bites this hunting season. Hunting brings you in close contact with ticks and their habitats, so take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of being bitten. If you develop a fever or a rash following tick exposures, see your doctor immediately. Most tickborne diseases can be effectively treated if caught early.

Ticks can spread serious and potentially fatal diseases like tularemia, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. While most tickborne infections occur during the summer, ticks may still be active well into the fall, or even year-round in warmer climates. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, and on animals themselves, so hunting will bring you in close contact with ticks. Take the proper precautions this hunting season to keep you and your pets healthy.

Prevent tick bites

There are currently no vaccines to prevent tickborne disease in the United States, so avoiding tick bites and promptly removing attached ticks is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your pets.

Before the hunt:

  • Treat gear and clothing with permethrin. Products containing permethrin kill ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear. Permethrin remains protective through several washings. Always follow product instructions.
  • Treat dogs for ticks. Dogs are highly susceptible to tick bites and tickborne disease. Regularly treat dogs with pesticides that kill ticks using products recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Tuck your pants into your boots or socks and tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from crawling inside clothing.

During the hunt:

  • When possible, walk in the center of trails and paths to avoid brushing up against ticks.
  • Animals can carry diseases which may affect people, including brucellosis, tularemia and rabies. Consider wearing gloves when dressing or butchering game and washing hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Ticks may drop off recently killed animals and may be in quick search for a new host, which may include people. Pay attention to ticks during the transportation or dressing of animals.

After the hunt:

  • Shower immediately after returning from the outdoors. Showering may help remove unattached ticks.
  • Perform full body check to look for ticks. Use a mirror, or have someone help you with hard-to-see areas. Ticks commonly attach to people in the following areas:
    • Under the arms
    • In and around the ears
    • Inside belly button
    • Back of the knees
    • In and around the hair
    • Between the legs
    • Around the waist
  • Check dogs for ticks after returning from tick habitats. The most common location for ticks on dogs include the ears, arm pits, groin and between the toes.
  • Remove any attached ticks from people or pets immediately. To remove a tick grasp it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk.

Watch for signs of illness in people and pets in the weeks following tick exposure, even if you don’t remember being bitten by a tick. Most tickborne diseases can be treated effectively if caught early, so see your health care provider immediately if you develop a fever, rash, or flu-like symptoms. Be sure to mention to your doctor any history of tick bites or outdoor activities where you might have been exposed to ticks.

Page Updated: 11/6/2017