The Empire State is a leading place for Lyme Disease and deer overpopulation is the culprit.
New York State's deer population is quite healthy, but don't let that lead you to believe all is well. More deer means more animals that carry the dreaded tick that often transmits Lyme Disease to humans.
"It's been dramatic," retired wildlife biologist Art Kirsch told RochesterFirst.com. "The last few years I've noticed ticks out and about and I often find them on me and on my clothes, whereas four or five years ago I never did."
Since deer and ticks go together like peas and carrots, hunters naturally face a higher risk of Lyme Disease.
"Despite the DEC's best efforts to reduce the population by issuing more deer permits there's just not enough hunters to fill all available permits, so we've dealt with this overpopulation of deer-- this increase in ticks is one byproduct of that," Kirsch said.
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Ontario County has the highest density of deer in New York, with Monroe County at a close second.
Knowing there are so many deer in such close proximity to populated areas, let alone across the state, it's not hard to understand why New York is basically in a dead heat for the lead in Lyme Disease cases across the country.
Handing out more permits to take some of the population pressure off of the herd is one thing, but hunters have to understand that they need to fill those permits with whatever deer comes their way, and not just let their hopes of the big buck dissuade then from taking a doe. Besides worrying about ticks being on deer, people should be aware of areas that are shaded or have piles of debris. Leaf and wood piles are an obvious hiding place in the fall.
If the worst-case scenario should happen, physicians say you should be OK if you can remove the tick within 24 hours. Things to look for include fever, fatigue, muscle aches and the notorious "bullseye rash."