Waterfowl hunting is once again upon us. The sound of gunfire is once again filling the early morning air. Many people associate aquatic invasive species with summertime recreational activities such as boating and fishing. The truth is waterfowl hunters can spread aquatic invasive species just as easily. You may be thinking how can this be the case? Let me explain.
Many waterfowl hunters still use boats to reach their hunting destination. When it is time to leave, these boats are often covered with aquatic vegetation. The vegetation is often inside the boat and hanging on the trailer itself. Remember Eurasian water milfoil spreads by fragmentation and it only takes a couple of inches to spread into a new waterbody. In a lot of cases water will also be inside the boat. Young zebra mussels, spiny water fleas, or the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) can be held in water. Just like during the summer all water must be drained and all vegetation must be removed from the boat and trailer prior to leaving the landing. There are actually a couple more steps or places to check that are specific to waterfowl hunters.
Along with checking your boat and trailer also check your decoys, decoy lines, decoy anchors, hip boots, waders, camouflage netting and blind material that may be harboring plants, mud or little critters. Also be sure to drain water from your decoys prior to leaving the lake. Your waterfowl hunting equipment can spread aquatic invasive species just as easily as boats. It is up to all of us to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.
If you have questions or concerns please contact Lumberjack Aquatic invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss at (715) 369-9886 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.