Spring and summer bring an increase in the outdoor population at Fort
McCoy, Unfortunately, warmer weather also encourages other inhabitants
of the area — deer and wood ticks — to come out in force as well.
People who encounter these pests may be in danger of contracting
diseases, such as Lyme disease or Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis.
By taking the proper precautions, people can fight back and combat the
threat, said David Beckmann, Fort McCoy wildlife biologist.
One of the most important weapons is knowing what to do to reduce the
chances of an unwelcome encounter with ticks. Beckmann said deer and
wood ticks typically hang on the lower, outer branches or stems of
shrubs and plants waiting to hitch a ride on an unsuspecting host.
Tall grassy fields, thick brush areas and game trails also tend to be
“If you can avoid these areas, you can substantially reduce your risk of
coming in contact with deer or wood ticks,” Beckmann said. “Even if you
come into contact with a tick doesn’t mean you will come down with a
First, the tick has to be infected, he said. Typically, the tick must be
in contact with its host for 24 to 48 hours for the transmission of the
disease(s) to take place.
In addition to avoiding areas where ticks may congregate, people can
protect themselves against ticks by:
• Wearing clothes that cover their bodies, including their arms and
legs, and tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants.
• Applying insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin to clothes as
directed in the product instructions;
• Examining clothes and skin frequently for ticks;
• After outdoor activities examine yourself, especially in areas with
hair that hold heat; and,
• Using a tick-repellent collar for pets and checking them closely after
Disease symptoms for humans may vary, but often are similar to those
associated with the flu, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and
fever. Skin rashes, such as a bull’s-eye rash may occur.
The rashes may be odd shaped, single or in multiple numbers and sizes
and appear anywhere on the body. Skin rashes may not occur for all
people, however, and may not be of a bulls-eye shape. Beckmann said as a
general rule anyone bitten by a tick, developing an unusual rash or
feeling symptoms associated with tick-borne diseases should promptly see
their local medical health center provider and get tested. Tick-borne
diseases can be extremely harmful to humans and animals if left
The Fort McCoy Wildlife Program has brochures with photos and
descriptions of deer and wood ticks at all stages of life and detailed
information on tick-borne diseases. For more information, call the
Permit Sales Office, building 2168, at 608-388-3337. The brochures also
are available at the Safety Office, building 1678 (608-388-3403) and the
Troop Medical Clinic, building 2669 (608-388-3025/3128).
Beckmann said the U.S. Army Center for Health and Preventive Medicine
also has information about the topic at the Web site