Man kills neighbor over Lyme disease


If you needed any encouragement to stop feeding deer, this might be it. An angry and distressed Minneapolis man shot and killed his neighbor, thinking he’d gotten Lyme disease from the deer his neighbor was feeding in the yard.

Neil Zumberge also wounded the neighbor’s girlfriend. Zumberge’s son was arrested the day before, accused of threatening to burn the neighbor’s barn down and kill them. Google Zumberge’s name and you can read all about it.

deer feedingMaine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife discourages deer feeding. If that is not enough to make you stop, this latest unfortunate and tragic incident might do it.

After posting three columns on deer ticks and Lyme disease, I continue to receive advice and information from people in and outside of Maine about this terrible affliction.


In one of the other Lyme columns, I reported that my daughter Rebekah called to say one of our grandsons had been bitten by a tick. She contacted her pediatrician, who told her not to worry, that they don’t test ticks or treat kids until symptoms of Lyme or other diseases appear. That advice was soooo wrong!

I put Rebekah in touch with Representative Jim Dill, a University professor, legislator, and one of the state’s top experts on insects, and he advised Rebekah to have the tick shipped to a Boston lab for testing.

Rebekah arranged the test online at The test cost $50. And best of all, the tick that bit my grandson did not have Lyme.

Winter Doesn’t Matter

Despite news to the contrary, a tough winter doesn’t hurt ticks. Chuck Lubelczyk, an ecologist with Maine Medical Center Research Institute, told Portland Press Herald reporter Joe Lawler that, “The snow acts as a nice insulating blanket for the ticks. They survive quite well under the snow.”

That same story reported that you can send a dead tick to the University of Maine lab in Orono to find out what kind of tick it is. That is correct. But the UMO lab can’t tell you if the tick carried Lyme disease. This is the important information you’ll need, so you should ship the tick directly to the Massachusetts lab. And any delay in identifying the possibility of Lyme disease threatens your health.

An $8 million bond to construct a diagnostic lab at the University of Maine in Orono will be on the November ballot. Among many other things, the lab will be able to test ticks for Lyme disease.  Vote for it!

tick removerGet this spoon!

Ticks can be easily removed with this spoon that can be purchased at many stores including drug stores. Get a bunch and put them everywhere!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.