Avian influenza guidance for waterfowl hunters

Waterfowl hunters encouraged to practice safe handling of game meat

1/9/2023 9:07:49 PM

Cheyenne - Waterfowl hunting season is in full swing and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department would like to remind hunters to take precautions to minimize their risk of contracting highly pathogenic avian influenza. 

Game and Fish has recently observed large waterfowl die-offs due to HPAI in the Cheyenne and Wheatland areas. Waterfowl hunters can expect to encounter additional sick or dead birds. 

HPAI is considered a zoonotic disease and although rare, it can infect humans. Game and Fish urges hunters who are in the field and handle game meat to take specific precautions. 

  • Only harvest game that appears healthy. Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable nitrile gloves while handling or cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling animals.
  • Do not feed sick/found dead carcasses/tissues to domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before being consumed.

According to the Wyoming Department of Health, people who have been exposed to birds potentially infected with avian influenza should monitor for illness for 10 days after their last exposure. 

If concerned about exposure or illness in pets, please consult your veterinarian.

In an effort to learn more about the distribution of the disease in Wyoming anyone who encounters clusters of three or more waterfowl species or any single raptor, grouse or wild turkey exhibiting signs of neurological impairment or found dead with no apparent cause should contact their regional Game and Fish office.

To report clusters of dead birds fill out the online form or call the nearest Game and Fish Regional Office. For more info on HPAI and to track cases in wild birds, visit the Game and Fish website.

(Breanna Ball, Public Information Officer - (

- WGFD -

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