Wild Things: Tips for a Safer Summer

Experts say: Don’t burn your skin – or a tick

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor

Sunshine filtered by Canadian wildfire smoke has made for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets in recent weeks. And some veteran Lake Michigan anglers believe the haziness has prevented the water from warming much more quickly than it could have, potentially extending what’s been a hot trout and salmon bite on the Big Pond.

For summer-sun addicts, though, it’s been a bit of a bummer some days. Still, experts say it’s wise to use a strong sunscreen to prevent damaging burns.

Recent rains mean we’ll likely see a hefty hatch of mosquitoes in the coming days, and hot weather ahead in July typically leads to more attacks by pesky horseflies and deerflies.

There’s another, less-seen critter out there to be aware of, too: deer ticks. Much smaller than the more easily seen wood tick, deer ticks are the ones known to spread a number of diseases, including Lyme.

Tick expert Thomas Mather, of the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center, said that if your best efforts to keep ticks off your skin fail, there’s a right way to remove one that’s attached. 

A common mistake is trying to burn the tick with a hot object to make it back out. Mather said that’s a bad idea because it can cause the tick to spit more germs into your skin. Plus, you risk burning your skin as well. 

Instead, use pointed tweezers to grab the tick as close to your skin as possible; then pull it straight out. Essential oils, dish soap and Vaseline might get some ticks to back out, but Mather said it’s better to remove the tick as quickly as possible and without squeezing its back end. 

Not sure what kind of tick you have? Send a photo to TickSpotters (, and you’ll receive helpful information about the tick you’ve found, whether there are any possible risks and the best next steps for staying protected.

Heading off trail? Permethrin-treated clothing – especially socks and shoes sprayed with permethrin – is the best way to repel ticks.

(From left) Lance LaVine and Adam Neu of Howie’s Tackle & Archery. Photo by Heather LaVine.

One Year at Howie’s

Lifelong Door County residents Lance LaVine and Adam Neu went from being longtime employees at Howie’s Tackle to owning the business (and the attached Cherryland Motel) one year ago, on June 30, 2022.

Together with their team – which includes LaVine’s wife, Heather – they run brick-and-mortar and online businesses, as well as the 11-room anglers’ motel attached to the shop. They also produce wholesale tackle that’s sold across North America, including the Howie Fly and Howie Shorty Tubes.

LaVine and Neu brought a combined 30-plus years of fishing-industry experience to the partnership, including working together as employees for years prior to becoming owners. 

LaVine began his career as a teenager at the former Mac’s Sport Shop and eventually went to work at Howie’s when former owner Mike Richard purchased the business. LaVine has been fishing in and around Door County since he was a kid, and he often gives fishing reports on WDOR. 

Neu joined Howie’s in high school and worked there throughout college until he became a co-owner in 2022. He’s also a professional bass fisherman who has won or placed well in a number of tournaments during his young career.

“It’s been a fun past year,” LaVine said. “Our customers have been really supportive and encouraging, and we’re excited for the future.”

To celebrate their one-year ownership anniversary, the duo will offer drawings for Howie’s Tackle merchandise in the store, ​​at 1309 Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay, on June 30 until 6 pm.

Howie’s is also a major sponsor of the Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament coming up July 14-23, and it serves as a northern weigh-in site for the lakewide, multispecies Salmon-A-Rama contest July 15-23. 

Learn more at, or check out the Howie’s Tackle enterprise on Facebook.

Fishing Tournaments

A 50-boat salmon and trout tournament at Kewaunee last weekend produced a 28.12-pound Chinook (king) salmon and four 20-plus-pound lake trout, including a 23.43-pounder. You can see a video of the weigh-in at

This weekend is the 48th annual Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Salmon Derby at Manitowoc, where there will be prizes for the top five fish in each division, daily prizes and a Super Derby boat tournament. Get the details at

Want more salmon action? The 41st annual Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament is set for July 14-23, and Salmon-A-Rama 2023 – a four-state, multispecies contest – runs July 15-23. Learn more at and

Weekly Water Levels

Lake Michigan water levels are down six inches during the past 12 months – part of a 30-inch drop since the all-time high, set in June 2020. Water levels are still four inches above the long-term average, and three feet higher than the all-time monthly low, set in 1964.