Ticks might be an outside hazard in Ohio

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Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to exercise caution and take steps to minimize exposure to Ohio’s tick species this summer, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Ticks are found throughout Ohio and sometimes carry potentially dangerous diseases.

If you spend time outdoors, take precautions to prevent a tick from attaching to your skin. Treat outdoor clothing with permethrin-based repellents according to label directions. Tuck pants into socks or boots and shirts into pants to keep ticks on the outside of clothing. It can help to wear light-colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks. Thoroughly check clothing and skin for attached ticks after each outdoor excursion, and don’t forget to check pets and equipment, too.

Attached ticks should be removed as soon as possible to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases. To remove a tick, use tweezers or gloved hands. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and, using even pressure, pull it straight out.

There are three medically important species of ticks in Ohio: the American dog tick, the blackleg tick, and the solitary star tick. All three species have the potential to transmit diseases to humans and pets. The highest risk of tick-borne illness occurs from June to August, but Lyme disease is possible year-round.

The American dog tick is the most common tick in Ohio and is found in grassy areas. It is most active during the summer months and is the main vector of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Black-legged tick populations have increased in Ohio since 2010, particularly in forested areas. This species is active year-round, including winter, and can transmit Lyme disease. The blackleg tick is also known as the deer tick because it is common on white-tailed deer. Solitary star ticks are found primarily in southern Ohio in shady, grassy areas and are active during the warmer months. This species can also transmit several diseases.

Visit the Ohio Department of Health website for more information on these and other tick species, as well as photos for identification. To learn more about tick-borne diseases and their symptoms, visit cdc.gov/ticks.

Ticks can transmit diseases within 36 to 48 hours after the first bite. It is important to regularly check for ticks and remove them as soon as possible. Outdoor recreation increases the likelihood of encountering ticks. Urban and suburban development also increases risk, as people are close to mice, white-tailed deer, and other tick hosts. Outdoor pets should have tick control.

It is important to note that unlike humans and domestic animals, wild animals such as deer are not affected by the blackleg tick and do not experience the ill effects of Lyme disease. Hunters should keep in mind that hunting and training deer can put them in close contact with infected ticks. Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by eating venison.

• Parkgoers have a new place to dock their boats, grab lunch and meet family at Alum Creek State Park. The new marina building includes retail and boat rental space, offers pizza and snacks, accessible public toilet and shower facilities, and a covered outdoor deck. The facility replaces the previous marina building constructed in the 1970’s and complements the recently renovated docks and fuel system installed in the main marina.

• Applications for Ohio’s controlled public land hunting opportunities will be accepted beginning Friday, July 1, 2022, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. These hunts offer hunters special opportunities to hunt deer, waterfowl, dove and more on public lands during the 2022-23 season. The application deadline for all hunters is Sunday, July 31st.

Controlled hunts take place in select areas around Ohio and are available through the Division of Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Watercraft. Available hunts for the 2022-23 season include deer, waterfowl, dove, pheasant, squirrel and quail. The wildlife department offers hunts for adults, youth, those with walking disabilities and mentors with apprentices. Firearms and archery options are available.

Hunters may apply for controlled hunts by completing the application process online through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System or by calling 1-800-703-1928. There is a $5.50 service charge for the phone option. Each hunt requires payment of a $3 non-refundable registration fee. Customers can register for more than one hunt, but only once per year for each hunt.

All applicants, youth and adults, must hold a valid Ohio hunting license and meet the age requirements. Youth hunters must be under the age of 18 at the time of the hunt to participate. Adults must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application. Those applying for deer hunting also need a valid deer hunting permit to apply. Visit wildohio.gov for more information on the controlled hunting site.

Participants may use a deer management permit during controlled deer hunting. Deer management permits cost $15 and can only be used to trap antlerless deer. Hunting management permits are valid until November 27 on private land and select public hunting areas. They also apply during authorized controlled hunts between September 10th and February 5th, 2023.

Hunters will be drawn at random from submitted applications. Successful applicants will be notified and will receive additional hunt information including a permit, rules and map of the hunt area by Monday, August 8th. Each controlled hunt opportunity is unique and applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review all site-specific information, including rules and requirements, prior to applying. Application status can be viewed through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System.

Until next time, happy hunting and happy fishing!

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Sciences teacher at Northmor High School.