Spring gobbler hunters beware. There’s a new rare, potentially deadly tick-borne disease that has been identified in Pennsylvania by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And the agency says it could be worse than Lyme disease.
CDC says the same tick that carries Lyme has caused Powassan, or POW for short. The agency says the virus can affect the nervous system, your memory, your thinking and your balance.
So far the disease, says CDC, has killed one Minnesota woman after her brain swelled, which caused her death. To date, there has been but one case in Pennsylvania, 20 in Minnesota, 16 in New York, 15 in Wisconsin, 8 in Massachusetts, 3 in New Jersey, 2 in Maine, 1 in New Hampshire and 1 in Virginia.
The disease is far spread. Most cases have been reported from northeastern states and Great Lakes, but has spread to Canada and as far as Russia. And most cases occur in late spring, early summer and mid-fall when ticks are most active.
Signs and symptoms of this infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss, according to the CDC. Plus, long-term neurologic problems may occur. The agency says there is no specific treatment but people with severe POW often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.
With this mind, it pays now more than ever to guard against this disease by the usual methods such as spraying clothes with a good tick repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants which turkey hunters always do, and doing tick checks after spending time outdoors. The CDC says to avoid bushy and wooded areas, but that’s not possible when spring gobbler or coyote hunting.
LEHIGH RIVER LUNKERFEST
The Lehigh River Stocking Association is once again holding their annual Lunkerfest this Saturday, May 13 at the East Penn Boat Launch in Bowmanstown.
The LSRA says they’re stocking 1,400 trout that range from 14-28 inches with more than a dozen exceeding 20 inches. They will also stock ten, 26-inch trophy trout for this contest.
Lunkerfest official boundaries run from the confluence of the Lehigh River and Lizard Creek to the bottom of the island just below the East Penn Boat Ramp. This section of the river is .9 miles long and contains exceptional trout water. LRSA extended the contest area two years ago to enable anglers to fish a wider variety of exceptional trout water. The organization will also stock a kids pond with trout for ages up to 12. LRSA memberships and raffle tickets will be available at sign-up. Food, drinks, and bait will be available for purchase. There are picnic tables and bathroom on site. But alcohol is not allowed. The LRSA plans to give away free prizes of rods, reels, fishing equipment, guided trips, art work, gift certificates and more. Sign-up for Lunkerfest begins at 7:00 a.m. Wristbands will be given to participants to wear during the contest. For safety reasons, the LRSA may postpone Lunkerfest if river flows are greater than 1700 CFS at Lehighton, as reported on the USGS website the day before the contest. Please check our Facebook page for any changes. As of now, high water date will be May 20.
Contest fishing begins at 8:30 am and runs until 3:00 pm. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations apply. Wading and boat fishing is permitted. All legal baits, lures, and flies are allowed. Any fish, with or without a tag, caught during Lunkerfest within the contest boundaries is eligible for prize consideration. Each fish caught must be brought to the measuring table to be considered for a prize. Fish length determines prize categories. For example, the angler with the longest fish gets the first opportunity to choose from the prize selection. The angler with second longest fish gets to choose second, etc.. Ties in length will be decided by weight at the time of measurement. The LRSA will award fish prizes and announce raffle winners at 3:00 PM.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.