The big day is coming and deer hunters across New York State are getting ready for sunrise this Saturday! The opening day of the firearms season for whitetail deer happens this Saturday, November 18th.

If you are hunting, there is something that I found on the buck that I harvested this past weekend that I wasn't aware existed but thought you should know. We have all been warned about ticks when we are in the outdoors and most deer hunters are aware that ticks are on deer that we take. However, when I showed these pictures to a friend, who is also a veterinarian, he told me it was actually a different type of parasite.

Photo by: Clay Moden

These were on the buck's legs and back.

Photo by: Clay Moden

These are not ticks.

Photo by: Clay Moden

My friend tells me that these are actually a European Deer Ked!

Lipoptena species, also named the deer ked or deer fly, are commonly encountered in temperate areas of Europe, northern China, and North America. Although wild animals seem to be the preferred hosts of these parasitic arthropods, it is increasingly being noted that humans are also directly threatened by their bites.

I had never heard of such a thing and, like you, the first thing I wondered was if they are bad for humans? It appears that it may cause an itchy and sometimes painful reaction.

The inflammatory reaction resolved over five days, but hyperpigmented papules persisted for three months. In only the biggest site of the deer ked bite, a small field with a clear fluid vesicle was noticed. The Lipoptena cervi bites caused the formation of vesicles on the skin, which transformed into small erosions after splitting

Good luck hunting this weekend and most importantly, be safe!

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