SPRINGFIELD – With the regular waterfowl seasons about to open this fall, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters to be aware that they could encounter highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, again this year.

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IDNR will monitor for outbreaks of HPAI during the fall bird migration. Members of the public are encouraged to report large concentrations of 20 or more deceased birds found one location. Reports can be made to the local IDNR district wildlife biologist.

IDNR first announced HPAI was detected in wild Canada geese in Illinois in March 2022 in a joint notice with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

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IDNR reminds waterfowl hunters to take precautions by thoroughly cooking game meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Hunters also should avoid handling sick or dead waterfowl found in the field, and they should not allow dogs or other pets to consume waterfowl that died from unknown causes.

Rubber gloves and a mask should be worn when disposing of any deceased wild birds, and carcasses should be double-bagged in sealed plastic bags. The bags can be buried away from scavengers or placed in the garbage if approved by the local waste service provider.

Anyone handling deceased birds should thoroughly wash their hands and any other clothing or tools with soap and water following disposal. Further guidance for hunters can be found online.

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