DNR news releases, April 20, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE
Divers confirm effective treatment of Christmas Lake zebra mussels
For pure fishing fun, go after panfish
2015 Arbor Month celebrates how to plant trees strong for long, healthy lives
Minnesotans encouraged to conserve water for Earth Day
Question of the week: steelhead
DNR NEWS — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Keegan Lund, DNR aquatic invasive species specialist, 651-259-5828,
keegan.lund@state.mn.us.

Divers confirm effective treatment of Christmas Lake zebra mussels

Initial searches indicate a three-step treatment of Christmas Lake in Shorewood for zebra mussels has been effective, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The results show the successful treatment of a small, isolated infestation of zebra mussels that was detected early.

A survey April 13 by divers from Blue Water Science and Waterfront Restorations found no evidence of zebra mussels. The dive was conducted inside and directly outside the treatment area around the public boat access in the city of Shorewood.

“We are encouraged by these early results,” said Keegan Lund, DNR aquatic invasive species specialist. “We used every available tool to respond to this isolated zebra mussel infestation and learned valuable information in terms of responding to new infestations.”

The Christmas Lake treatment is one in a series of urgent responses targeting small, isolated, and recently detected infestations of zebra mussels. Previous urgent response treatments of isolated infestations in other lakes have produced mixed results. The information gained from these treatments will help the DNR determine when, where, and how to treat new zebra mussel infestations most effectively.

DNR officials said the key to this positive step and any future pilot projects is the partnership between local governments, researchers and the DNR. In this case, the partnership of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), the city of Shorewood, and invasive species researchers from the University of Minnesota, working closely with DNR staff, was critical to implementing this treatment.

Zequanox, a natural substance highly selective to zebra and quagga mussels, was first applied to the treatment area in September. That application was followed by a copper treatment of EarthTec QZ in October and November. In December, a contractor working with the DNR injected 1,000 pounds of potassium chloride (potash) under the ice near the public boat access. It was only the third time potash was used for zebra mussel control in the United States. The applications of potash and EarthTec QZ were experimental off-label uses requiring special emergency permission.

Beginning in May, the DNR and MCWD will conduct searches along the shoreline and in the lake. They will place zebra mussel samplers at the Christmas Lake public boat access and at docks on the property of participating homeowners. Extensive in-lake monitoring will be required over a period of years to determine whether zebra mussels have been eliminated from the lake.

Boaters, anglers and lakeshore property owners are reminded of their vital role in the Minnesota partnership to prevent the spread of invasive species. Cleaning boats and trailers, draining boats and live wells, and disposing of unused bait, are the most effective strategies and are required by law. Property owners can help by following the legally required 21-day drying period before transporting dock material or related equipment to another lake.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that can crowd out native mussels and compete for food sources with other aquatic animals such as larval fish. They attach to boat hulls and other water-related equipment, and can create a hazard for swimmers due to their sharp shells.

To learn more about aquatic invasive species, go to www.mndnr.gov/invasives/aquatic.

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NOTE: Images from the December 2014 treatment of Christmas Lake are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “04-20-15 Christmas Lake.”

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   April 20, 2015
Media contacts: Tim Ohmann, east metro area fisheries specialist, 651-259-5759,
tim.ohmann@state.mn.us; TJ DeBates, east metro area fisheries supervisor, 651-259-5770,
timothy.debates@state.mn.us.

For pure fishing fun, go after panfish

You won’t find a listing for Minnesota’s most harvested variety of fish in a zoological reference book. It doesn’t have a fancy two-part Latin name. And a 2- or 3-pounder is worthy of admiration.

Yet for all that it lacks, the lowly panfish remains Minnesota’s most popular fish, with an estimated 9.7 million pounds harvested in 2013 – more than twice the take of Sander vitreus, our official state fish, the walleye.

Panfish, of course, isn’t really a particular species of fish, but a generic term that encompasses several species including bluegills, crappies, sunfish, rock bass, pumpkinseed and perch. The term made its debut in print with the first American cookbook in 1796. What all these species have in common is that they’re generally small enough to fit easily in a frying pan; some are even kind of pan-shaped.

“They’re good in the pan,” said Tim Ohmann, a fisheries specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program, which provides close-to-home angling opportunities for kids and their families. “Panfish are a tasty treat dredged in some flour and seasonings, then given a little swim in hot oil.”

Panfish also are a healthy food choice. Because they’re lower in the food chain and tend to be smaller, they’re less likely to be the subject of consumption advisories than larger predator fish.

The culinary virtues of panfish account for only part of their popularity, though. Another selling point is that you don’t have to go far to find a body of water with good panfish action.
“They’re ubiquitous,” Ohmann said. “You can go to just about any lake around and find panfish, especially in the metro region. And the season is open year-round.”

To increase the chances of catching larger panfish, Ohmann suggests consulting the fisheries surveys included as part of LakeFinder (www.mndnr.gov/fishmn) on the DNR website; look for lakes with a good percentage of fish in the 6- to 8-inch range. After ice-out, panfish move into shallow water, which is warmer, to eat and spawn. Later in the season they can be found loitering around the weed edge, or near docks. As temperatures warm, the fish are more likely to bite and easier to catch.

“They’re poikilothermic – that’s a $10 word for being cold-blooded,” Ohmann said “Their body temperature varies with their surroundings, so they get more active and hungry when the water is warmer.”

The relative ease with which panfish can be caught is another selling point. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. A cane pole or a cheap rod and reel set up with a bobber and a worm for bait will do the trick.

Panfish also can be caught using crickets, bugs, small leeches, crankbaits, little jigs and by flyfishing. You don’t need a fancy boat, either. Fishing from shore or a fishing pier works fine.

“The equipment is about as basic as you can get,” Ohmann said. “If you put something in front of them, they’re going to bite on it. They’re not too finicky.”

Their catchability and widespread existence make panfish an ideal target when introducing kids to angling. For a novice angler, nothing beats the excitement of seeing a bobber go under and feeling a tug and tingle in the line. Panfish may be small but they can be aggressive and quick, providing good action for their size. And because they’re schooling fish, if you get one bite, you’re likely to get a bunch.

“They’re competitive feeders,” Ohmann said. “It’s every fish for himself, and if one goes after bait, more will follow. They’re even kleptoparasitic – one fish will try to steal food or bait from another.”

Because of the popularity of panfish, the DNR supplements natural reproduction in some heavily fished areas such as the metro region. The FiN program puts about 25,000 bluegills into 66 small lakes around the Twin Cities each year.

To provide a higher quality angling experience, the program also has experimented with taking fish out of lakes with an over-abundance of small bluegills in the spring, putting them into rearing ponds over the summer, then moving them into FiN-managed lakes without a history of winterkill in the late fall. The result is bigger bluegills – a three- to five-fold increase.

“I suppose any angler worth their salt likes to brag occasionally about what a walleye warrior they are,” Ohmann said. “But when it comes to pure fishing enjoyment, it’s hard to beat panfish. They put the fun in fishing.”

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          April 20, 2015
Media contact: Jennifer Teagarden, forestry outreach specialist, 651 -259-5285,
jennifer.teegarden@state.mn.us.

2015 Arbor Month celebrates how to plant trees strong for long, healthy lives

With Arbor Day, Friday, April 24, and Arbor Month, May, just around the corner, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages people to plant more trees. This year’s theme, “Plant Strong, Live Long” focuses on tree planting tips.

“Properly planting a tree is simple but requires some preparation,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “Planting trees too deeply is a common mistake that can stress a tree and shorten its life.”

To help Minnesotans get their trees off to a strong, healthy and long life, the DNR has created simple how-to instructions in a handy “Pocket Guide to Planting Trees.” Also available on the DNR website is a short, 2.42-minute video, “How to Plant Tree Seedlings.” It can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/kou8esz.

Request a copy of the pocket guide or planting cards by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

Visit www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth to download the guide and planting cards, learn more about tree care and find a celebration location.

Teegarden recommends a few tips for planting trees:

  • Pick a tree that is best suited for the planting site.
  • Always keep the tree’s roots moist until you plant it.
  • Make sure the top of the tree’s first woody root is planted at ground level.
  • Layer 2 to 4 inches of mulch around tree, keeping mulch away from trunk.
  • Water newly planted trees at least once a week for three years.

To celebrate Arbor Month 2015, the DNR is partnering with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to plant 150 trees at Stewart Park with 1,300 students from Andersen United Community School.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  April 20, 2015
Media contact: Carmelita Nelson, DNR water conservation consultant, 651-259-5034 or
carmelita.nelson@state.mn.us.

Minnesotans encouraged to conserve water for Earth Day

Everyone can act locally to protect the planet by taking simple steps to conserve water resources. The 45th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, is a reminder of the many ways to make a difference.

“In the land of 10,000 lakes, we need to appreciate our great water resources and increase our concern for how we use water,” said Carmelita Nelson, Department of Natural Resources water conservation consultant. “Earth Day started because of dissatisfaction with how the environment was being treated. Although some aspects of our environment have improved since the 1970s, today we all need to focus energy on preserving water quality for future generations.”

As a first step, Nelson suggests that every family try to find ways to conserve water. Check home faucets, toilets, and pipes for leaks; even small drips can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Take shorter showers, turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving, and find ways to save water in the kitchen or laundry room.

“Toilets are the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of residential indoor water use,” Nelson said. Older toilets use up to 3.5 gallons per flush. Replacing them with new WaterSense labeled toilets will save water and reduce home water bills. This simpler, greener choice can save 4,000 gallons of water per person every year.

The second largest water user in most homes is the washing machine, with the average wash using 41 gallons per load. High efficiency, water-saving washing machines use nearly half that amount and have the added bonus of using 50 percent less energy per load. On store labels, the lower the water factor, the more efficient the washer is.

“As we Minnesotans start to get enthusiastic about spring, we should also think about ways to reduce water use outdoors this year,” added Nelson.

Water use peaks during the summer, putting increased demand on city water systems and individual wells. When picking out landscaping for a yard, select species that are drought-tolerant and well adapted to the soil. Consider reducing the amount of turf grass in some areas of the yard by planting butterfly or pollinator gardens, native prairie gardens, or rain gardens where appropriate. Consider putting up an easy and efficient rain barrel beneath a downspout.

“While it is not safe to be out on most lakes or rivers on April 22, get outside and splash in a puddle, walk along a shoreline or just enjoy a nice glass of water,” Nelson said.  “We all need to become more aware of what a precious resource we have.”

For more information on water conservation in Minnesota, got to http://tinyurl.com/8chlpfj  or to the new Metropolitan Council Water Conservation Toolbox at http://tinyurl.com/k94oqtu.

For more information on Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org/takeaction/index.html.

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Question of the week

Q: What can I expect for the spring steelhead run this year on the North Shore?

A: Steelhead (migratory rainbow trout) usually begin actively ascending Lake Superior tributaries when water temperatures reach about 40 degrees. Rain often draws fish into the rivers as well. Right now, water levels are generally low for this time of year. However, water temperatures have been near 40 degrees and steelhead have started moving into the rivers, and that should continue in the coming days and weeks – especially if we get some rainfall.

Numbers of steelhead during the spring spawning run can fluctuate quite a bit from year to year. Still, in our spring creel surveys, we’ve seen consistently good catch rates over the past nine years or so. Based on the good catch rates in recent years and some initial reports from anglers this spring, I’m optimistic that this will be a successful season for steelhead anglers. It’s just a matter of getting out there and putting in your time.

Josh Blankenheim, DNR Lake Superior large lake specialist

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Bird Images, Just for You

National Audubon Society

http://www.audubonaction.org/site/R?i=kY6ohV2FVaKnGXC9wmIvqg

Decorate your computer, tablet, or smartphone with the best photos from past Audubon Photography Awards. Download images of your favorite birds with a single click.

Stay tuned, we’ll announce this year’s winning photos on April 27th.

http://www.audubonaction.org/site/R?i=3oXYmOJVF1BN6a1_hMH4PQ

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Wild turkey hunters in 5 counties asked to help with avian influenza surveillance

Successful wild turkey hunters in Kandiyohi, Pope, Meeker, Swift and Stearns counties can help determine if highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is present in Minnesota wildlife by allowing a sample to be collected from their turkeys.

“HPAI has not yet been found in wild turkeys, but it has been found in domestic turkeys in these and other Minnesota counties,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We chose those five counties to enlist the help of hunters because they have sufficient wild turkey populations.”

Starting Monday, April 20, the DNR is asking successful hunters in these counties to call to schedule an appointment at one of the participating wildlife offices and allow a sample to be collected from their turkey. Samples will include a swab of the trachea and, if the bird has not yet been field dressed, a swab of the cloaca as well.

Successful turkey hunters in these counties must call the following offices beginning April 20 to schedule an appointment:

  • Sauk Rapids, 320-223-7840
  • New London, 320-354-2154
  • Glenwood, 320-634-0342
  • Carlos Avery, 651-296-5290

Sampling only takes a few minutes and the hunter will retain the bird. Hunters are asked to keep wild turkeys in their vehicles, and DNR staff will come out to take the samples at the vehicles. Hunters also will be asked to provide their contact information, harvest information and approximate harvest location.

The 2015 spring wild turkey season is open until Thursday, May 28. The DNR hopes to collect 300 total samples from turkeys to test for HPAI. At this time, the DNR will not be sampling wild turkeys harvested in other counties.

Unless their bird is found positive, individual hunters will not be notified of results.

The DNR recommends turkey hunters practice good hygiene while field dressing their birds and cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any viruses and bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from HPAI infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have been detected.

More information about safe handling of wild turkeys and other information on avian influenza in Minnesota is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ai.

Find more topics related to avian influenza on the Minnesota Board of Animal Health website at www.bah.state.mn.us/avian-influenza.

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Legislative update, April 17, 2015

Greetings from the Capitol,

 

The House Environment & Natural Resources Policy & Finance Committee spent the week on HF846 (Omnibus Environment Finance bill). The bill contains policy provisions from HF1329(DNR policy bill), the game and fish bill (HF1406) and other provisions. The bill passed out of committee on Thursday.

The Senate Finance – Subcommittee on Legacyheard numerous bills on Tuesday, including SF1754 (Clean water fund appropriations), SF701 (Cuyuna mountain bike system appropriation), SF242 (Outdoor heritage fund appropriations, SF1433 (Comprehensive watershed management planning program provisions), SF1772 (Wilderness Inquiry programs grant appropriation), SF752 (Red River watershed management board water quality enhancement), and SF83 (Washington County Grey Cloud Slough habitat improvement appropriation). The Senate Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Budget Divisionpassed, as amended, their Omnibus Budget Bill (the bill has no number as of this writing).

For the most up to date list of meetings and bills, please visit committee web pages or currently posted meetings for the House and Senate.

Please contact me at pat.rivers@state.mn.us or Bob Meier (bob.meier@state.mn.us ) if you have any comments on concerns. I hope you find time this weekend to enjoy Minnesota’s great outdoors!

Pat

Combined Legislative Meeting Calendar Upcoming Meetings

Week of: April 20, 2015

HOUSE & SENATE BROADCAST TELEVISION SCHEDULE

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/htv.asp

 

Monday, April 20, 2015


Monday, April 13, 2015 3:30 PM House

The House Meets in Session


Monday, April 20, 2015 11:00 AM Senate

Senate


Monday, April 20, 2015 12:45 PM House

Meeting Time Note: We will convene at our regular time and we have the committee room for the evening.

Legacy Funding Finance

Room: Basement Hearing Room Chair: Rep. Dean Urdahl, Josh Heintzeman

Agenda:

HF303 Urdahl Minnesota Historical Society funding provided, and money appropriated.

The H303DE5 Amendment is the language for the Legacy Funding Omnibus bill. Committee Documents: H0303DE5.pdf

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:15 AM House

Government Operations and Elections Policy

Room: Room 10 Chair: Rep. Tim Sanders

Agenda:

HF1508 O’Driscoll Public retirement plans; outdated or obsolete allowable service credit provisions eliminated, outdated date references in pension provisions eliminated, ambiguous retirement provisions clarified or eliminated; and pension-related headnotes corrected.
HF2215 Hancock Wetland replacement high priority area identification required.
HF2054 Torkelson Clean Water Council membership modified.

HF2235 (Albright) Workers’ compensation advisory council recommendations adopted regarding inpatient hospital payments, rulemaking authorized, and report required. HF2236 (Albright) Metropolitan county commissioners provided to serve as members of the Metropolitan Council, Metropolitan Council modified, and money appropriated. Committee Documents: H1508-12A.pdf


 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 10:30 AM House

Meeting Time Note: The hearing will begin at 10:30am or at the Call of the Chair.

Mining & Outdoor Recreation Policy

Room: 5 State Office Building Chair: Rep. Tom Hackbarth

Agenda:

Informational hearing on the DNR’s 2015 Fishing Regulations for Mille Lacs Lake.


 

Thursday, April 23, 2015


 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015 8:00 AM

Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council

Room: 5 State Office Building Chair: Bob Anderson Agenda: TBD

 

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Minnesota Hooked On Mille Lacs – April 2015

Reminder: Experts’ review of Mille Lacs management is presentation topic

Results from an independent review of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Mille Lacs Lake management, and DNR comments on those findings, will be the topic of a presentation from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, at Garrison City Hall, 27069 Central St. in Garrison.

Paul Venturelli, a nationally recognized University of Minnesota fisheries professor, will present the review conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of national and international fisheries experts. Melissa Treml, DNR fisheries research manager, will comment on the panel’s findings. The panel issued a report on its findings in mid-January, available at http://z.umn.edu/millelacswalleyepanel.

The event is part of a series called “Hooked on Mille Lacs: On the Road” intended to share biological information and answer citizen questions on important and timely topics related to the ecology and management of Mille Lacs Lake. There is no charge for admission, and doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

To learn about Mille Lacs Lake management, visit www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

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DNR releases new book about birds in state parks

WHAT: 

A new book, Birds in Minnesota State Parks, has just been released by the Department of Natural Resources. It was 11 years in the making and includes more than 200 pages of maps, color photos and insider tips on finding and identifying birds that can be seen in Minnesota state parks.

WHO:

  • Jan Shaw Wolff, Minnesota state parks and trails, central region manager.
  • Robert Janssen, author, Birds of Minnesota State Parks.
  • Alex Watson and Krista Jensen, interpretive naturalists.
  • Lori Naumann, information officer, Nongame Wildlife Program.
  • Students from Upper Mississippi Academy.

WHERE: 
Fort Snelling State Park, Visitor Center.
The park is on Post Road, off state Highway 5 in St. Paul, just west of the Terminal 1 exit for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

WHEN: 
10 a.m., Thursday, April 16.

WHY:
We live in an indoor, computer-dominated world in which children have fewer and fewer opportunities to see birds in the wild…Thankfully, in Minnesota we have an absolutely wonderful state park system that is one of the best—if not the best—in the nation. Our 75 state parks and recreation areas provide the opportunity for nearly 9 million visitors a year to discover the beauty and diversity of natural habitats in our land of 10,000 lakes. One of the great natural assets of these parks is the diversity of birdlife that can be experienced in every season of the year!
—from the foreword by Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor
 
WHAT CAMERAS WILL SEE: 

  • Live raptors from the Raptor Center—an owl, a hawk and a falcon.
  • Bird call demonstrations by Alex Watson, interpretive naturalist.
  • Presentation of signed book to students for their school library.
  • Also possible:
    o Turkeys (often visible from the main park road).
    o Swans and other waterfowl (often visible on Snelling Lake).
    o A barred owl (often seen near the beach parking area).

MEDIA ADVISORY-P&T Bird book advisory 4-15-15.docx

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DNR invites public input on Invasive Carp Action Plan

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on a statewide plan to combat invasive carp threatening Minnesota rivers and lakes.

The Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan includes 35 measures for combatting the threat of bighead, black, grass and silver carp. Invasive carp, which feed on vital plankton, aquatic vegetation and mussels, reach weights of 40 to more than 100 pounds. Invasive carp populations compete with native species for food and habitat. Silver carp leap out of the water when they hear approaching watercraft, potentially injuring boaters and water skiers.

The plan updates a 2011 document and is focused on efforts to monitor, prevent, and slow the spread of invasive carp in major rivers and lakes, according to Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator. “Since the 2011 plan was developed, we’ve made tremendous progress, including repairs to the Coon Rapids dam and the upcoming closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock. The updated plan, developed by a broad range of stakeholders, will allow us to leverage new information and improved technology to monitor, prevent and manage these destructive species.”

Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s. While no breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters of the Mississippi, individual fish have been caught near the Twin Cities and in the St. Croix River.

The DNR will accept public comments on the draft plan through May 8.

Action plan copy requests, questions and public input can be directed to Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator, at nick.frohnauer@state.mn.us, 651-259-5670 or Box 25, Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155.

The draft plan is also available on the DNR website: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/invasives/carp-action-plan-draft.pdf.

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DNR offers guidance for turkey hunters in areas near avian flu

DNR offers guidance for turkey hunters in areas near avian flu

While avian influenza has not yet been found in wild turkeys, hunters are nonetheless reminded of ways to avoid potentially spreading the virus.

To date, highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found in Cottonwood, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lyon, Meeker, Nobles, Pope, Stearns and Watonwan counties. So far, it has only been confirmed in domestic turkey farms. Waterfowl are the natural reservoirs for the virus.

Wild turkeys are presumed to be susceptible to HPAI. Raptors are known to be susceptible.The virus presents a low risk to humans but it is important to avoid contact with sick birds.

“Turkey hunters can take steps to minimize the risk of spreading HPAI, and they can be excellent scouts in helping identify wild birds like raptors or turkeys that could have been affected,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The USDA makes the following recommendations for turkey hunters to protect themselves and their birds from avian influenza.

In the field

  • Do not harvest or handle wild birds that are obviously sick or found dead.
  • Dress your game birds in the field whenever possible.
  • Use dedicated tools for cleaning game, whether in the field or at home. Do not use those tools around your poultry or pet birds.
  • Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning game.
  • Double bag the internal organs and feathers. Tie the inner bag, and be sure to take off your rubber gloves and leave them in the outer bag before tying it closed. Place the bag in a trash can that poultry and pet birds cannot access. This trash can should also be secure against access by children, pets, or other animals.
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling game. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol wipes.
  • Wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water. Then, disinfect them. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.

At home

  • If you clean a bird at home, keep a separate pair of shoes to wear only in your game cleaning area. If this is not possible, wear rubber footwear and clean/disinfect your shoes before entering or leaving the area.
  • Wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water. Then, disinfect them.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Keep uncooked game in a separate container, away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • You should always cook game meat thoroughly; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites.

The risk to the public is very low, and there is no food safety concern, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The DNR also advises hunters that if they see any birds that have died in the field or appear sick (ruffled feathers, swollen wattles, discoloration of the feet and impaired balance) notify DNR staff as soon as possible and don’t touch or attempt to move the birds.

If you see a dead or sick wild turkey or raptor, mark the location by GPS if possible and contact DNR with the coordinates. Contacts are:

  • Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Michelle Carstensen at 612-390-9979;
  • Wildlife Health Specialist Erik Hildebrand at 612-597-8141; or
  • Contact your local area wildlife manager by finding their information at www.mndnr.gov/wildlife and clicking on the area contact map.

Additional information about avian influenza is on  the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/avianinfluenza.

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