Waterfowl hunting season is underway and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department are  reminding  hunters to take precautions to minimize their risk of contracting highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The agency has recently observed large waterfowl die-offs due to the avian influenzaI in the Cheyenne and Wheatland areas.

Expect to encounter more sick or dead birds, said a recent news release.

The disease, although rare, can infect humans. Game and Fish urges hunters who are in the field and handle game meat to take specific precautions:

  • Only harvest game that appears healthy. Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable nitrile gloves while handling or cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling animals.
  • Do not feed sick/found dead carcasses/tissues to domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before being consumed.

The Department of Health says, people who have been exposed to birds potentially infected with avian influenza should monitor for illness for 10 days after their last exposure.

"If concerned about exposure or illness in pets, please consult your veterinarian, said the Game and Fish news release.

In an effort to learn more about the distribution of the disease in Wyoming anyone who encounters clusters of three or more waterfowl species or any single raptor, grouse or wild turkey exhibiting signs of neurological impairment or found dead with no apparent cause should contact their regional Game and Fish office.

To report clusters of dead birds fill out the online form or call the nearest Game and Fish Regional Office. For more info on HPAI and to track cases in wild birds, visit the Game and Fish website."

Historic Bishop Home in Casper, Wyoming

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