Ticks: On You and Your Deer

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: Hunting Blog, White-tailed Deer, Whitetail Habitat Management

Summer 2012 may well be recorded as the summer of ticks! I use my Reconyx cameras year round to monitor and study deer at my place and on client properties. At my place near Branson, Missouri and a client’s property near Cadiz, Kentucky I’ve never noticed as many ticks on deer at this time of year during my 20+ year career of using trail cameras. The tick loads I’m seeing now are typically not seen until late summer.

Young buck with ticks on ear and chest

Heavy Tick Infestation Effects Fawn Survival and The Overall Health of The Deer Herd

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says, “Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the U.S. In 2009, it was the 5th most common Nationally Notifiable disease.”

Both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme’s are serious diseases. Those of us that are frequently in the outdoors need to be diligent about searching for and removing ticks after being in the field. The CDC Lyme Disease page has some useful information about how to prevent being bitten by ticks, how to remove ticks, and diagnosis of potential tick-borne diseases.

My family, staff, and, I are exposed to ticks almost daily. We’ve found that treating our clothes with Permanome and allowing it to dry on the clothes a few days before wearing works well. One treatment will last through the clothes being laundered several times. This spring while turkey hunting, Adam had treated his clothes and his brother didn’t. Adam said he literally watched ticks crawling on his brother and there were none on him. His brother hadn’t treated his clothes. Permanome is good stuff when used appropriately.

However, deer can only attempt to groom themselves and other deer to remove ticks. This is not effective based on my Reconyx images. In an effort to reduce the chances of my family and guests suffering from a tick-borne disease, and to improve the fawn survival and overall health of the deer herd at my place, I’m researching the cost and effectiveness of different tick control methods. If you follow GrowingDeer.tv at all, you know I use prescribed fire frequently. That’s clearly not controlling the tick population at my place. If you would like to reduce the number of ticks where you hunt, stay tuned.

Of all the predator control work I do, none may be more important than attempting to reduce the number of ticks to benefit the deer, turkey, and other game species using my place. From the comments on my Facebook page, ticks are a noticeable problem throughout much of the whitetails range this year. In many areas I’m sure there are more pounds of ticks per acre than there are predators – literally. I’ll keep you posted as to what I learn.

Growing Deer together,