Kansas Department of Ag. warns hunters of avian flu risk

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:47 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:48 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Agriculture has warned hunters of the risk of avian influenza.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture says that wherever hunters choose to spend time, any areas with migrating birds can still increase their exposure to the current avian influenza outbreak.

If any hunter has backyard poultry, the KDA said they should take precautions to avoid bringing the highly pathogenic avian flu home.

The KDA noted that the avian flu spreads through bird-to-bird contact as well as contaminated clothing, gear and hunting dogs - i.e. shoes, vehicle tires, decoys and more. It said the risk to backyard flocks of chicken, ducks, turkeys and geese is very high while the risk to people or other pets remains low. It also said human cases are very rare.

The Department suggested that hunters harvest only waterfowl and gamebirds that look and behave in a healthy manner. Do not handle those that are obviously sick or found dead.

The KDA also indicated that hunters should field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. They should then dispose of waste in a plastic bag and put it in a garbage container that is protected from scavengers.

When hunters finish handling the game, the Department said they should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water - or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable - and clean knives, equipment and surfaces that came in contact with the game.

Lastly, the Department suggested that hunters clean and disinfect their clothing, footwear and hunting gear before they travel to other areas. They should not wear hunting gear near their domestic poultry.

For more information on the avian flu, click HERE.