Vermont’s First Tick Survey Will Accompany Spring 2022 Turkey Hunting Season

April 5, 2022 | Montpelier, Vermont – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Vermont Agency for Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) are teaming up in a cooperative effort with Vermont hunters to search for the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), a tick believed to be in Vermont but evaded capture by standard monitoring methods. However, this species of tick has been found on turkeys in other northern states. This will be Vermont’s first turkey tick survey.

Volunteers will staff several flagging stations across the state on Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend (April 23-24) and the opening day of the 2022 Spring Turkey Season. (May 1) to inspect harvested turkeys for Lone Star ticks, if hunters give permission. After inspection and collection of any ticks, which should take no more than 5 minutes per bird, information will be collected on the harvested turkey and where it was harvested.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets Environmental Monitoring Program tracks mosquito and tick populations statewide and works in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health to help prevent vector-borne diseases in humans and livestock. This new cooperative effort with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is important in determining whether Vermont has a persistent population of Lone Star ticks, as these ticks can transmit certain diseases if they attach to humans. There are no known risks associated with eating harvested turkeys that harbor Lone Star ticks and no further concerns or actions are warranted.

As with all outdoor activities in Vermont, hunters should be alert and take precautions against tick bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with pants tucked into socks, use EPA-approved insect repellent, and perform daily tick checks. If possible, take a shower as soon as you get home to get rid of crawling ticks and toss your country clothes in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes to kill any ticks that may have been hitchhiking on your clothes.

“This is a voluntary program, and we greatly appreciate your allowing us to monitor your birds,” VAAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts said.

For more information on the VAAFM Tick Survey program, please visit: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/public-health-agricultural-resource-management-division/plant-health-and-pest-management/ticks/tick

For more information on VAAFM’s upcoming tick monitoring activities, please view this video.

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