PITTSBURGH — Outdoor recreation is way up in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here in Pennsylvania, 20% more fishing licenses and 7% more hunting licenses were sold this year.
More people in the woods means more risk for hunters who may be headed out during Thanksgiving weekend.
“Ticks and the related Lyme disease are certainly a concern throughout Pennsylvania, including the southwest part of the state,” said Patrick Snickles of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “When you’re next to the deer and you’re taking your pictures, I mean, that’s a prime opportunity for the tick to use you as a new host or jump on you as a new host, and certainly when you’re handling the deer.”
The Game Commission said it’s already hearing from hunters who are seeing more ticks on deer. The increase may be due, in part, to the weather.
“It might have something to do with the milder wet winters, and I know from a lot of literature that the winter doesn’t necessarily kill off the ticks like some people believe,” Snickles said.
This year, state health officials are warning people that Lyme disease symptoms are like those of coronavirus. Lyme disease symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
Depending on the person, you can also have a bull’s-eye-shaped rash at the bite site.
The best advice: Protect yourself whether you’re hunting or on a hike. Tuck your pants into your socks and change your clothes when you get home.
“If nothing else, when you get home do a self-check. Take a good hot shower and wash your clothes, just, just to be on the safe side of things,” Snickles said.
Firearms season starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
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