As hunting season opens, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) wants to remind hunters to take precautions against tick bites to prevent contracting diseases they may carry, like Lyme disease.  Other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis.  While most tick-borne infections are reported during the summer, ticks are still active when temperatures are above freezing. 

To avoid tick bites, hunters can take precautions before, during and after hunting.

Before Hunting

- Treat boots, clothing and camping gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin

- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone

- Treat dogs regularly with tick prevention products recommended by your veterinarian

During Hunting

- Tuck your pants into your boots or socks and tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from crawling inside clothing 

- Walk in the center of trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation with ticks

- Wear gloves when dressing or butchering game and wash hands thoroughly afterwards. People can become exposed while handling infected animal tissue to diseases such as brucellosis, tularemia and rabies.

After Hunting

- Shower immediately after being outdoors to help remove unattached ticks

- Perform a full body check to look for ticks

- Check dogs for ticks after returning home. The most common location for ticks on dogs includes the ears, around the eyes, between the legs, around the tail and between the toes

- Remove any attached ticks using fine-tipped tweezers