Indiana DNR advises waterfowl hunters for possible bird flu outbreak

(WNDU) — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is advising fishermen that bird flu may re-emerge as waterfowl hunting season begins.

There was an outbreak of bird flu earlier this year in Hosser state, but it has decreased. However, the DNR is asking hunters to take new precautions as a possible return of the disease could occur as the season progresses.

The DNR asks hunters to report birds showing symptoms of the virus, such as swimming in circles or a general lack of coordination.

Hunters can also report to the DNR if they find multiple dead birds in one area.

A press release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Indiana, along with many other states, was affected by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza earlier this year.

Avian influenza decreased during the summer months; However, some states have seen a recent increase in wild bird deaths associated with the disease. DNR advises hunters to be aware of the potential for a resurgence of avian influenza as waterfowl hunting seasons progress.

Indiana DNR has partnered with the USDA Wildlife Services to test harvested waterfowl for highly pathogenic avian influenza during the early teal season in several DNR Fish and Wildlife Areas, including Goose Pond, LaSalle and Jasper-Pulaski.

Symptoms of bird flu can vary by animal, and some animals infected with the virus do not show any symptoms.

Symptomatic waterfowl often display unusual behaviors such as swimming in circles, tremors, a twisted neck, and/or a lack of general coordination. In addition, sick birds may develop nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, and/or diarrhea.

If you see birds displaying these signs, or if you find multiple dead birds in one area, report the case to the Indiana DNR at at.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Hunters can take several precautions to slow the spread of bird flu:

  • Do not harvest birds that appear sick or dead
  • Treat birds outdoors or in a well-ventilated area
  • Wear gloves and wash hands before and after handling dead bodies
  • Disinfect all equipment used on dead birds (such as knives and surfaces)
  • Refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and touching your eyes during the treatment
  • Place a double bag of feathers and all bird scraps before disposing of them. Put the leftover bird in the inner bag and tie it closed. Dispose of gloves in the outer bag before closing them.
  • Prevent contact between all parts of wild birds and domestic birds
  • Cook the meat well

Read more about bird flu on the website at.IN.gov/avian-fluTo view more DNR newsletters, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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