DNR cautions hunters handling wild birds due to avian flu threat

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Hunters should use precaution when handling wild birds this waterfowl hunting season, warns the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was first detected in Wisconsin in March and findings of the virus in domestic and wild birds this fall means that the virus is still present and circulating. The DNA warns that waterfowl are more susceptible to HPAI than other gamebirds and advises hunters to proceed with caution.

Precautions advised by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include not handling or eating sick game, preparing game outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, wearing gloves when handling game and washing hands thoroughly when done.

The DNR wants hunters to be mindful of the fact that the virus can be transported via hunting equipment and clothing and asks that hunters clean all knives and equipment that come into contact with game as well as make sure all game is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F before being consumed.

This strain of HPAI does not present an immediate public health concern, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.