Zimo note: It seems like we go from snow to ticks in a heartbeat.
Over the weekend I got my first report of a tick in the Boise Foothills from Jennifer Marie, via Facebook.
A day later, after a Foothills hike, we found one on Phoebe, our golden retriever.
The recipe for ticks was ripe last week with warmer weather and moisture. Some experts say ticks start to get active when the temperature gets up in the 40s.
I've found ticks as early as March in the Foothills. It's kind of funny how you can find them thick in one place in the Foothills and then not at all in another drainage.
Maybe we won't have a lot of ticks this year.
Experts say tick numbers can be high if we had a mild winter and a wet spring.
Well, we certainly didn't have a mild winter. It was cold and for long periods of time.
Maybe that's going to knock down some of the population. Still, it can depend on how wet a spring we get.
Ticks are creepy. They like to hang on brush and wait for a ride. Carbon dioxide drives them wild and signals them to start grabbing at anything that passes by, whether it's a marmot or a human.
Here are some tips to avoid ticks:
When the tick season starts, stay out of areas that are known to have a lot of them. The Snake River islands in spring can be crawling with them. Hells Canyon can be very ticky.
Check for ticks frequently on the trail. If you start down a trail and find you're picking up more ticks than you want, go somewhere else.
Stay on trails and avoid bushwhacking.
It's spring and we're all anxious to be hiking in shorts and T-shirts. That's OK if you're comfortable with making frequent tick checks. But to be nerdy, the best way to avoid an embedded tick is to wear long-sleeved shirts buttoned at the collar and cuffs, and long pants tucked in your boots.
I don't think I've ever tucked my pants in my boots.
When you get home, do a thorough head-to-toe search.
If you don't want ticks crawling around the house, shake out your trail clothes when you get home and also check the dogs pretty closely.
Happy tick season.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors