http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/14402/ Turkey Hunting Safety Is About More Than Guns Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 :: infoZine Staff By Jim Low - Hunters properly focus attention on firearms-related hunting accidents, but they would do well to consider other hazards, too. Jefferson City, Mo. - infoZine - Missourians headed out to hunt wild turkeys should be watchful of other hunters. At the same time, they should feel at least as safe in the woods as they would in a car. They also might want to take precautions against less well-known dangers. Turkey hunters wear camouflage clothing and try to attract gobblers by making turkey sounds. Consequently, there is always a chance that another hunter will mistake them for game or unintentionally fire in their direction, not knowing they are there. Smart turkey hunters wear hunter orange clothing when moving through the woods. Tying an orange vest or cloth to a nearby tree trunk while calling also enhances safety. Other safety tips for turkey hunters include never creeping up on a gobbling turkey and always sitting with your back against a tree trunk when calling to protect your blind spot. Also, you should always call out to approaching hunters instead of waving, which can be mistaken for turkey movement. When hunting with a partner, stay together. Many accidents occur when companions lose track of one another's location. Hunting accidents are not the only risk associated with being in the woods in spring. Hunters always have run a small risk of contracting tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or other tick-borne diseases. In recent years, the list has grown to include Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Tips for avoiding tick bite include: Wear high-topped boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck shirts into pants, and tuck pants legs into boots or roll them up and secure them with elastic bands. Wear light-colored clothing that makes ticks easy to see. Carry a piece of adhesive tape to make it easy to capture and dispose of ticks. Use a permethrin-based repellant on clothing and check for ticks as soon as possible after hunting. Ticks that remain attached to the skin for only a few minutes or hours have a much smaller chance of transmitting disease. Proper removal techniques include: Clean the area around the tick with disinfectant. Grasp the tick firmly near the head to avoid squeezing the body. Use tweezers, a tissue or rubber gloves to avoid direct contact with the tick Dislodge the tick with a slow, steady pull. Avoid twisting or jerking. Disinfect the bite site again. Never apply heat, turpentine or other irritants to ticks in an effort to dislodge them. This will cause them to regurgitate blood into the victim, increasing the chances of infection. Have a physician check any tick bite that becomes infected or causes a rash. The classic symptom of Lyme and Lyme-like diseases is a rash that spreads out from the bite like a bulls-eye. Some people have allergic reactions to tick bites. When these occur on the neck near the base of the skull they can, in rare instances, lead to "tick paralysis." Treatment of tick-borne diseases is more effective the sooner it is started. If not caught early, these diseases can cause permanent disability or even death. Other symptoms to watch for include swelling at the site of the bite and flu-like complaints such as fever, headache, body aches and dizziness. Mosquitoes also can carry serious disease. West Nile virus has spread across North America in recent years, making mosquito bites more than an uncomfortable inconvenience. Repellants with the active ingredient DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) are the most effective topical agents for warding off mosquitoes. Follow label instructions for use and reapply at the first sign of decreased effectiveness. The ThermaCELL repellent system also has proven very effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay and is a useful alternative for outdoors people who dislike putting chemicals on their skin or clothing. Health officials point out that the benefits of outdoor exercise outweigh the danger of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. With proper precautions there is no reason to let fear of disease keep you indoors. To get an idea of how safe spring turkey hunting is, consider the following statistics from the Conservation Department and the National Safety Council. Two of Missouri's spring turkey hunting accidents in the past five years have been fatal. That is .4 fatalities per year. With 160,000 turkey hunters, the average hunter's chances of dying in a spring turkey hunting accident in a given year were one in 400,000. The average American has approximately one chance in 18,000 of dying in a car accident each year.