With some waterfowl hunting seasons starting Saturday, Sept. 3, the Department of Natural Resources is advising hunters to take precautions for avian influenza when handling harvested birds. While the virus presents a low risk to humans, it is important to avoid contact with sick birds and be mindful that virus may also be transported by your hunting equipment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes the following recommendations for hunters to protect themselves from avian influenza:
• Do not handle or eat sick game.
• Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
• Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
• When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant, and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that came in contact with game.
• Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
• All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before being consumed.