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Cold weather heats up the Big Game Hunting Season

Notes from the North Woods

This bobcat was a frequent visitor to a birdfeeder located outside a local home, for most of the last winter.  Notice the tufts of hair on the tip of the ears.

This bobcat was a frequent visitor to a birdfeeder located outside a local home, for most of the last winter. Notice the tufts of hair on the tip of the ears. Photo by John Fadden

Recently, DEC confirmed a hiker’s claim that he contracted the Hantavirus as a result of a mouse bite. Reportedly, he was bitten on the finger while camping during the summer months. The leanto where the incident occurred is located in the High Peaks

Mice are vectors for the transmission of Hantavirus, which was responsible for a number of fatalities in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. Center for Disease Control officials believe mouse urine, saliva and feces can spread the virus. It can be contracted through contact or simply by breathing the dust.

Deer mice are to be found all across the country, primarily in the woodlands. So it should come as no surprise that residents of rural areas account for over three quarters the infections nationwide.

Compounding the danger of the outdoors is the ever increasing threat of Lyme disease. There appears to be an unusually high incidence of deer ticks this season. I’ve already had to pluck a few ticks off myself.

Numerous hunters have complained about the problem, which appears to be much worse in the Champlain Valley than in the Tri Lakes region.

The apparent increase in tick populations has been attributed to the increasingly warmer weather, and the popularity of taking the family along on vacation.

Autumn is considered high season for adult deer ticks, since it is the season when nymphs begin to morph into adult ticks. Typically they require blood prior to the beginning of cold weather dormancy.

However, ticks do not hibernate and they are active as long as temperatures remain above freezing. There is a public misconception that they disappear in cool weather, but ticks are active when the weather stays above freezing. Adult ticks can emerge on warm days in autumn, winter or spring and can attach themselves to clothing or to fur at any time. Although the nymphs are believed to be responsible for a majority of Lyme disease cases, infected adult ticks can also pass on the disease.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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