As disease-bearing ticks head north, weak government response threatens public health, Center for Public Integrity, Aug 6, 2018The CDC says rising temperatures are partly to blame for the tripling of mosquito-, tick- and flea-borne illnesses from 2004 to 2016, but Maine’s governor, a climate skeptic, is tying health officials’ hands.

Tick-borne Powassan virus sickens two in midcoast Maine, BDN Maine, June 23, 2017Powassan is only one of several diseases caused by ticks that are on the rise in Maine. Lyme disease, the most prevalent, rose to a record 1,464 cases last year. Anaplasmosis, a bacterial infection that can lead to similar long-term effects as Lyme without a proper diagnosis, climbed dramatically as well.
Powassan is spread by the bite of an infected deer or woodchuck tick and can cause fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion and seizures. Brain swelling is a potentially devastating complication that kills 10 percent of those who develop it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of those who survive the infection suffer permanent neurological symptoms such as memory problems, facial tics and blurred vision. There is no vaccine or treatment other than keeping patients comfortable and hydrated during hospitalization.

Maine wildlife biologists recommend record number of any-deer permits in 2018, Press Herald, May 23, 2018State biologists on Tuesday recommended issuing 84,745 any-deer permits for this fall’s hunt, an increase of 28 percent from last year and the highest total since Maine launched its permit system in 1986. The proposal mirrors objectives outlined in the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s big-game management plan, which was updated in April for the first time since 2001. The plan, which involved extensive input from the public, calls for culling the deer herd in southern and central Maine – largely over concerns about tick-borne diseases.

Lyme disease rates spur Swan’s Island deer hunt: Survey of island ticks finds high rate of infection, Island Institute, March 23, 2018With as many as half the ticks on Swan’s Island infected with Lyme disease, state officials approved a special hunt to reduce the deer population, the primary host animal for the ticks. The hunt concluded on March 1. White tail deer serve as a vector for Lyme-infected ticks, Schaeffer said, with female ticks feeding on the deer just before reproducing. The deer also transport ticks from one area to another.

Maine coyotes getting bigger, more wolflike, Portland Press Herald, May 7,2017Scientists say there’s a reason for that: With 8% wolf DNA, the coyote species that prowls the Northeast is an evolving hybrid that’s becoming a more effective predator of deer.

Deer ticks already out in force in Maine, Portland Press Herald, April 11, 2016The mild winter and early start to spring mean large numbers are likely, say researchers pursuing ways to attack Lyme disease.

Amity woman avoids three deer, crashes into trees, Bangor Daily News, Dec 1, 2015Jones swerved to miss the deer, lost control of her pickup and drove off the roadway, striking several trees. She was wearing a seat belt. The vehicle was destroyed, Clark said.

Eastport residents’ opinions on deer population targeted in poll, Quoddy Times, Oct 9, 2015“People feeding them think they’re doing a good thing. This island is too small for the amount of deer on the island.” She points out that the does were having triplets this summer, and there are no natural predators. She adds that those people who are feeding the deer “will have to double up this winter, because I bet there are 100 more babies.”

“I’m a taxpayer as well as the people feeding the deer, and I have rights, too.” Emphasizing each word, she states, “It is out of control. The city has to do something.”

Hunters to thin Islesboro deer herd, Bangor Daily News, May 26, 2015More than a year after Islesboro residents voted to kill about 80 percent of the island’s deer herd, the state has signed off on a hunt that will be held for the next three years. Island residents have expressed concern over a high incidence of Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks, and an island task force has studied the issue for some time.

Islesboro considers hiring sharpshooter to cull deer, reduce Lyme disease risk, Bangor News, Sept 11, 2014In 2013, about 80 people were treated for tick bites on Islesboro; and of those people, 53 were confirmed cases of Lyme disease. That means, the small island community — which has a year-round population of about 550 people and a summer population of 1,000 people — accounted for 3.8 percent of the total Lyme disease cases (1,377) in Maine that year.
“It’s probably more,” said Allie Wood, PA, assistant director of Islesboro Health Center. “We don’t have a lab on the island, so we don’t have a way of checking easily.

Deirdre Fleming: Islesboro makes dramatic changes in deer hunt again, Portland Press Herald, Dec 15, 2015The town of Islesboro just made it easier on itself in its quest to thin its deer herd by extending its special firearm island hunt two months this winter. But that hunt aimed at culling the over-abundant deer herd remains a tough task because island residents refuse to allow use of rifles.
A year after crafting the island’s first firearm hunt, Islesboro residents, with the state’s blessing, this year extended the hunt from three weeks to almost three months, starting Monday to Feb. 28.

But they also voted down the option of making it a rifle hunt, putting the approved hunters at a disadvantage.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection approves plan to cull deer to try to reduce ticks in Redding, News 12, Jan 9, 2014The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says their goal is to reduce the number of ticks. They approved a plan put forth by the State Agricultural Experimental Station. They say they are conducting a study that looks at differing methods to control ticks, which are transmitters of lyme disease. Officials say this is a three-year study and they expect a new survey and deer population count in coming months.

Controlling Urban Deer, Bangor Metro, 2013The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife in affiliation with The Maine Bowhunters Association established the Expanded Archery Season in 1997. This season was in response to growing and problematic deer populations in southern Maine, particularly along the coast and islands. Since then, the zones have expanded to include urban centers from Portland to Bangor. The Expanded Archery Season, not to be confused with the statewide October archery season, runs from mid-September until mid-December. During the expanded season, bowhunters can purchase a buck tag and limitless doe tags.

Island takes deer problem by the horns, Portland Press-Herald, Nov 18, 2012Islesboro residents will attempt to cull the herd to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease with their first-ever shotgun hunt.

Deer overpopulation is a serious problem,, Oct 23, 2008Biologists are concerned that deer they are sampling have small skeletal bones and low fat reserves. The deer are producing fewer young compared to healthy deer in other locations. This is not natural.

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