LDWF reminds hunters of safety precautions for handling wild game

(Source: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 12:17 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is reminding hunters of some safety tips for handling and preparing harvested wildlife as this year’s hunting season gets underway.

First and foremost, hunters should be aware of the highly pathogenic bird flu. While the virus has not been found in Louisiana so far this year, it has been reported in 46 states, including neighboring Texas and Mississippi.

While the virus is not considered to be a high risk to humans, it is important to avoid contact with sick birds and be mindful that the virus may also be transported by your hunting equipment. If you hunt waterfowl or have backyard poultry, you should plan for added biosecurity measures.

As a precaution, LDWF routinely investigates when they receive a report of multiple sick or dead birds.

The LDWF advises hunters handling or harvesting wildlife of the following general safety guidelines:

  • 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 and cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that were exposed to game with hot soapy water and a 10% bleach solution.
  • Do not eat, drink or consume tobacco products while handling animals.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds.
  • Waterfowl hunters should adhere to these guidelines

Additionally, it’s advised that people should avoid wild birds and only observe them from a distance when not hunting them. You should also do your best to avoid contact with domestic birds like poultry that appear ill or have died.

Individuals who work with poultry and wild birds should receive the annual flu vaccine as a precaution. This reduces the potential for mutations in avian influenza which could make it more infectious to people.