October 12, 2009
Ticks and Bird Dogs: The Minnesota Epidemic
By David DiBenedetto
We’re reaching into the MBF Mailbag to get a field report from northern Minnesota today. Seems recently one of our readers, Matthew Miltich, has had good luck with ruffed grouse and worse luck with ticks.
I got out yesterday with my young Welsh springer spaniel, Cosmo, and we put up five birds, missed a Hail Mary shot in heavy foliage, but knocked down a bird when we were presented the one half-decent shot of the day. The woods were in summer mode, dense foliage and heat.
Here's my reason for writing: You should be aware that we've had a real epidemic of lyme disease here. My vet, from Bigfork, Minn., says that he's seeing many cases of ehrlichiosis (carried by deer ticks), as well as Lyme in dogs. I get my own dogs vaccinated for Lyme, and if you hunt in this country, it’s a good idea to have your dog vaccinated and treated with a tick preventive, such as Frontline or Advantix.
New deer ticks hatch in October, and they're very active during late fall, even after many heavy frosts. I've come out of grouse cover in October with 10 or more deer ticks (very tiny and hard to see) on each trouser leg. If you're in this country, take precautions for you and your dog against deer ticks. Three local friends of ours were diagnosed with Lyme just in the past few weeks. Fall is a great time in the woods, but you need to take care not to fall victim to Lyme.
Those are sage words of advice. Down in South Carolina ticks are a constant problem, though Lyme disease isn’t as prevalent as it is up North. So far it’s been an ordinary year as far as ticks go. I’ve pulled a few off of my own hide, but Advantix seems to be keeping the little buggers from latching onto Pritch.
I’m curious if anyone else has seen an up tick in ticks and the problems they cause for both hunters and dogs this season.