Ticks. Yes you heard me say that dreaded word. As a die-hard outdoorsman I have to tell you they are already out there waiting for you to step in to the fields and woods we enjoy so much.

As fishermen and hunters it’s up to us to be aware and be prepared, especially after the mild winter we had. It’s shaping up to be a very bad year for these creatures.

No matter how you look at it, it’s probably safe to say that this year there will be a larger percentage of people having more tick encounters than usual. With the current conditions of the virus keeping so many people home, there’s no doubt they are going to be afield participating in outdoor activities such as shed hunting, fishing and turkey hunting. These are activities that many are very dedicated to doing and aren’t about to give up for any reason.

Knowing that no one likes the thought of ticks and there’s nothing that will stop you from being outdoors, it’s time to take precautions. Knowing how serious the Lyme disease epidemic is, it’s a smart idea to read up on it and learn how to stay tick free.

A good first defense is to invest in one of the top notch permethrin insect repellants. I’ve used and had excellent results with the Sawyers brand, which is scent free and comes in an easy-to-use aerosol can or spray bottle. Just be sure to read the directions as it contains DEET, which shouldn’t be applied to your skin.

Secondly, there’s the simple matter of slipping on a pair of knee-high rubber boots. Ticks are less likely to cling to these boots like they do on hunting clothing or regular hunting boots. Ask a hunter and he’ll tell you: rubber boots are probably the number one secret to preventing tick bites.

Then there’s something to which many in the outdoors have never given any thought. Many of the detergents you wash your outdoor gear in have a scent which attracts ticks. Yes, that sounds strange but it’s for real. So get out that scent-free detergent you used during hunting season and put it to use again.

Get outdoors and enjoy yourself but remember tick season began around the end of March and will continue through November. Remember to follow the listed precautions, check yourself after each outing, hang your clothes outside and take a shower.

David Orlowski is a writer, hunter, fisherman and outdoor enthusiast from Potter County. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.