I hadn’t thought about decoys and other hunting items spreading invasive species but it makes sense.
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Trappers and waterfowl hunters reminded to avoid spreading invasive species
With hunting season in progress, it’s time for waterfowl hunters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Without the proper precautions, invasive species such as purple loosestrife, faucet snails, Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels could be transported in waterfowl hunters’ boats, decoys or blind material.
Invasive species can damage habitat for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife, and even cause die-offs of waterfowl.
“After hunting, take a few minutes to clean plants and mud and drain water from duck boats, decoys, decoy lines, waders and push poles,” said Allison Gamble, DNR invasive species specialist. “It’s the key to avoiding the spread of aquatic invasive species in waterfowl habitat.”
The DNR has the following recommendations to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species:
Use elliptical or bulb-shaped or strap decoy anchors.
Drain water and remove all plants and animals from boats and equipment.
Remove all plants and animals from anchor lines and blind materials.
Check compartments or storage in boats or kayaks that aren’t in use the rest of the year.
Waterfowl hunters should also remember that they must cut cattails or other plants above the water line when using them as camouflage for boats or blinds, if they want to move them from lake to lake.
The DNR is also reminding trappers to clean their equipment before moving them to another body of water.
“Trappers of muskrats and other furbearers should also keep the ‘Clean in-Clean out’ mantra in mind,” said DNR invasive species specialist Tim Plude. “All traps, lines, boots, and waders should be cleaned to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.”
To kill or remove invasive species seeds or young zebra mussels that are difficult to see, the DNR recommends that boaters use a high-pressure spray or a hot water rinse before launching into another water body (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds). Air drying can also be effective but may require more time due to cooler weather.
Less than five percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are on the infested waters list, and it’s up to sportsmen and women to help keep it that way.
“If the sporting public can help us by acting as our eyes and ears on the water, it can help us catch a problem before it’s too late,” said Gamble. “And that is invaluable,” she said.
A short video showing what waterfowl hunters can do is available at http://tinyurl.com/jtf8tda. Additional resources on aquatic invasive species are available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.