Waterfowl hunters need to be aware of recent cases of Avian flu that were found in some Canada geese
First it was Chronic Wasting Disease which is a fatal brain disease in deer. Then it was Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease that’s a virus in rabbits, primarily domestics with fear it will spread to wild cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares. Now the newest problem is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) disease that can and has affected Canada geese. And with the resident population goose zone now open for hunting, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) sends out a warning to waterfowl hunters.
Up until last week, there were few if any harvested corn or wheat fields where geese could feed. But some local farmers have been selectively taking down their corn where geese can now feed on spent corn from the harvesting machinery.
According to the PGC, tests revealed more than 30 Canada geese were found sick or dead recently at Griffin Reservoir in Lackawanna County from the Avian Influenza.
With the remainder of the three-part goose season reopening Oct. 22-Nov. 25, and Oct. 8-15 for ducks in the South Zone, the PGC advises hunters to take precautions when handling wild birds. The PGC says that if hunters properly handle wild birds they harvest, they not only protect themselves but help reduce the risk that this extremely contagious disease spreads to other birds.
The PGC recommends the following:
*Harvest only healthy-looking birds.
*Wear gloves when handling any wild birds.
*Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer immediately after handling wild birds.
*Dress harvested wild birds in the field.
*Change clothing as needed especially if visibly soiled or if any birds made contact with clothing.
*Wash all equipment, tools, and work surfaces with soap and water, then disinfect with a 10 percent household bleach solution. Allow to air dry or rinse after 10 minutes of contact time.
The commission says HPAI can infect humans, though just one human case has been reported in the United States during this outbreak.
Since January 2022, the PGC along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have sampled and tested 1,000 wild birds from almost every county in the Commonwealth, with HPAI detected in 47 wild birds. It’s pointed out that despite this low number, not every bird during a mortality event is tested.
FALL/WINTER TROUT STOCKING
On October 3, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission started stocking more than 100 streams and lakes with Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout as part of its fall/winter trout stocking program.
Trout fishing now comes under Extended Trout Season Regulations meaning that only three trout of combined species may be creeled. Locally, only the Little Lehigh Creek will be stocked on 10-18. Over in Northampton County, Minsi Lake gets a planting on 10-13. In Berks, Antietam Reservoir gets trout 11-3; Kaercher Creek Dam on 12-13; Scotts Run Lake, 10-18; and Tulpehocken Creek on 10-13.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.