In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, rests on a plant. Credit: CDC via AP

If you’ve never had Lyme disease, you’re lucky.

I don’t know why Linda and I haven’t seen a deer tick for quite a while, but years ago we had serious Lyme problems. Every time Linda came in from her garden, she’d have deer ticks on her. And whenever I wandered around outside, I’d get bitten by a deer tick.

It happened so often, I’d just call my doctor and he’d call a drug store with my prescription. You’d need to catch it early with an antibiotic to avoid the serious effects of Lyme disease. Trust me, I’ve suffered those effects and they are awful.

Every deer tick doesn’t have Lyme disease. Research by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab has shown that about 40 percent of deer ticks have Lyme disease.

Sen. Susan Collins is a cosponsor of a tick act, and said “tick-borne illnesses are a serious and growing public health threat.” A 2019 federal bill included $100 million over five years to combat the disease.

One time I was sitting in the audience at a legislative hearing when I felt a bug on the back of my neck. I grabbed the bug, and sure enough it was a deer tick. I took the tick to the men’s room and flushed it down the toilet.

After I returned to my seat, a guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked what that was. After I told him it was a deer tick, he said I should have put it on somebody I didn’t like.

All I can do is encourage you, whenever you’ve been outside, to check your body for deer ticks. A deer tick bite can make you miserable and is a serious health problem.

George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith has spent his life advocating for hunters, anglers, wildlife and conservation. He has been awarded many lifetime achievement awards including from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife...