With the Minnesota hunting season underway, it is important for waterfowl hunters to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Invasive species such as purple loosestrife, zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and faucet snails can be transported in waterfowl hunters’ boats, decoys or blind material and other equipment without the proper precautions.
Invasive species can damage habitat for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife, and can even cause waterfowl die-offs. For example, faucet snails can carry parasites that kill ducks.
Waterfowl hunters who use cattails or other plants for camouflage are reminded to cut them above the waterline if they want to move them from lake to lake.
The DNR recommends the following to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species:
- Use elliptical, 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 aren’t the only ones who should be vigilant about the spread of invasive species. Trappers also should clean their equipment before moving it 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 after each use to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.”