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Protect yourself from Tick Borne diseases By Gary Howey

  Most seasons, deer, turkey pheasant can be found listed on the Game, Fish and Parks calendars and web sites, one you won’t find there is the tick season, but don’t let that stop you from being prepared for this season in the same way you’d be prepared for the others.

  Ticks are small disease carrying insects found in grassy and wooded areas and if allowed to get on the skins look for a warm moist area to embed themselves. They come out in the spring, about the time outdoorsmen and women head into the woods looking for morel mushrooms, wild asparagus or hunting turkeys. Spring isn’t the only time you’ll see ticks as these pests hang around all summer on into the fall.

  There are two groups of ticks, the hard and hard or soft ticks. In our area, it’s the hard ticks found in wooded, grassy, and densely vegetated areas.

  Soft ticks tend to live in bird nests, on rodents, and on bats but either can find their way onto us, luckily, no species of ticks solely depend on us for survival. Some ticks are only found on a certain host; luckily, we aren’t one of them.

  A female tick can lay a bunch of eggs, anywhere from 3,000 to 11,000 eggs, so we need to be aware of them and prevent them from catching a ride on us.

  There’s only one way to avoid the possibility of avoiding a tick borne disease and that’s to avoid areas they inhabit, DUH, like that’s going to happen, if you’re an outdoorsmen or women who spends every spare moment out in the field or woods.

  Since we know we are going to be in the same areas that ticks inhabit, below are a few simple precautions that can reduce the chances of a tick encounter.

Tip #1: Ticks crawl upward onto a host, that’s why it’s a good idea to cut off any route they might have in an attempt to get on your skin and why it’s an excellent idea to tuck your pants legs into your boots and your shirts into your pants. For extra protection, tape them shut with duct tape, then twist the tape so the sticky side is out and make one more wrap. [Read more…]

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Morel Mushrooms There for the Picking By Gary Howey

   Well, its suppose to be spring, with the temperatures  warming up, the snow geese have moved through and the turkeys hunting season is in full swing.

  This year, spring has come slowly, with heavy winds, then warmer temps followed by a freeze and an over abundance of rain which had Mother Nature not sure what was going on.

  It’s also suppose to be that time of the year when an infectious disease takes over the life of many avid outdoorsmen and women in the upper Midwest. It infects men, women, children and it doesn’t make any difference if you’re young or old!

   All of the old signs that I’ll talk about in this column have been all thrown out of whack, as the budding bushes and tress we usually rely on to let us know when it’s time to head out to check things out started to bud, froze and now coming on, so some of this information may be old news.

  What causes this infectious disease is a fungi soon to be popping up among us, it’s the morel mushroom and once they start poking their heads out of the ground, men and women leave their home, family and jobs heading for the river bottoms, island and hills on mushroom hunting excursions.

  Morels, found throughout the upper Midwest are easy to recognize and delicious, making them the most sought after of the wild mushrooms.

  Identifying morels from other mushrooms is easy. Morels are “elongated” with a white-off white stem and a crown made up of white-off white or grey pits or indentations. 

  They vary in color from off-white to gray in color.  The simplest way to explain what a morel looks like is to look for a mushroom growing on the ground resembling a cone shaped brain.

  Morels start popping up in the spring, this year they have been up early with my daughter Heather Kneifl and her husband Sid had a neighbor bring some over a week ago.

  In a normal year, they appear when temperatures reach around sixty degrees and above during the day with night temperatures between forty-five and fifty degrees or when the ground temperature gets between forty-five degrees and fifty degrees. [Read more…]

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Mushroom Hunting A Spring Outdoor Obsession By Gary Howey

It won’t be long before outdoorsmen and women will be infected with a disease, which will spread quickly throughout in the upper Midwest. It’s been known to infect men, women and children, infecting young and old alike.

The cause of this infectious disease is a fungus that goes by the name of morel mushroom and once they start to poke their heads out of the ground, men and women will leave their home, jobs and families, heading for the river bottoms, island and hills on mushroom hunting excursions.

Morels, which found throughout our area, are easy to recognize, delicious to eat, which makes them the most popular wild mushroom in the upper Midwest.

They are elongated with an off-white stem, a crown covered with white ridges with dark brown pits. They can vary from off-white to gray in color. The easiest way to explain what a morel looks like is to look for a mushroom growing on the ground that resembles a cone shaped brain.  [Read more…]