Outdoors: Early arrival of ticks cause for concern

Be prepared for ticks and the diseases they cause

A warning: It is tick season already.

Last week while looking for morel mushrooms, I arrived home to find two ticks on me. Lucky for me, neither had bit me, but I sprayed myself and my clothing just to make sure there weren’t others. Although this is a little early for ticks, they have arrived. The bad part about ticks is you cannot feel the bite. They can fasten themselves to your skin, and you feel nothing.

There are three main ticks that carry diseases in Illinois and, according to biologists, a new tick is quickly establishing itself in several counties. Each tick is unique in the way it appears. That is, they begin to appear at different times of the seasons.

The American dog ticks are found now in high grasses after air temps reach 80 degrees. They can carry Rocky Mountain fever.

Next comes the deer tick. They are very small and resemble a small spider.

The lone star tick uses high grasses, but I haven’t seen any in this part of the country.

Any tick can carry diseases, from Rocky Mountain spotted fever to lyme disease. This one is the worst. If you have been bitten and experience chills and fever, it’s best to seek medical attention right away.

How does one avoid getting bitten? Choose a friendly repellent with 0.5% permethrin. Using this odorless, stainless spray to fabric (including shoes) provides an effective tick barrier for up to a week, even after washing. The one that I use that is very effective is Deep Woods Off, but make sure that it does not create an allergic reaction on your skin.

Hunting report

As near as I can tell, the 2022 wild turkey seasons were not very good in our county. Usually, guys and their kids always pull in my driveway to show me their harvest. That hasn’t happened this year. Personally, I have not seen any of the young birds that I usually observe while fishing.

Mushroom hunting has picked up probably because of all the rain we have had. Asparagus plants have become less numerous.

Fishing report

Cooling lakes have become very good for channel and blue catfish. Some nice hybrid striped bass have been caught at LaSalle and Braidwood. Heidecke has been fair for white bass and walleye. The Illinois and Fox rivers have not been good at all. As usual there are no boats on either river. If any fish were hitting, you would observe them right off of Alan Park. Even the pleasure boat traffic is down.

The guys who are catching Asian carp now are fishing near Morris. Some large bass have been caught on Peacock Slough, also in the Morris area.

Hope everyone had a fine three-day holiday. Hope to see many of you on the water during the next few weeks. There has not been a lot of tow-boat traffic on the Illinois River this past week either. Maybe shipping costs are up.

Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.

Fred Krause

Fred Krause

Fred is an avid outdoorsman who has been writing about his passion for decades.