Just a tick, you can get $30,000 for hard yakka
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
FEMALE paralysis ticks have a bounty on their heads, currently fetching the premium price of $2 each ? and some enterprising tickers are earning up to $30,000 a year.
But it's hard yakka being a ticker, crawling through the bush, facing snakes and navigating prickly vines.
"It's not easy, and you get ticks all over you," said Brian, who's been doing it for 20-odd years.
"I've been very sick from it. It can paralyse you.
"It's like walking through a shark-infested jungle."
"The average person wouldn't put up with what we do," said his mate Trev, who has been hunting ticks for two years.
"But the price has gone up to two bucks because of the drought, so it's good money," said Trev.
Their prey is used by the four Australian companies (all based on the Northern Rivers) which make the paralysis tick antivenine.
The tick season lasts from September to Christmas and during that time Trev and Brian are out every day they can, using a blanket in the scrub to collect them.
"Sometimes you can pick up 100 or more in one spot if you're lucky," said Brian.
Lismore vet Nick Jones said his father's company required up to 20,000 ticks each year to make the antivenine, and he had heard of some tickers earning up to $30,000 in the four-month season.
It can be costly if your pet needs the serum. Bad cases can require overnight stays, intra-nasal oxygen, IV drips and in extreme cases, eutha- nasia.