Local conservationists ask hunters to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species
The gun deer season starts Saturday in the Northwoods, but the migratory bird season is already well underway.
As hunters move through woods and water, local conservationists warn them to beware of spreading invasive species.
“Aquatic invasive species do not stop for a season, and they do not have borders,” says Stephanie Boismenue, Oneida County’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator.
She says hunters are faced with a lot of grimy gear.
“Any of that mud or attached vegetation could be hiding an aquatic invasive species,” she explains.
Invasive species like faucet snails and phragmites (also known as the common reed) can cling to shoelaces and under dog vests.
When hunters move from one area to another without cleaning their equipment, those invasive species can quickly spread.
That can be detrimental to local water bodies.
“The faucet snail is a tiny little snail, but it does have some parasites that are lethal to waterfowl,” Boismenue says. “There are also plants like phragmites, that can grow in very dense beds and make it impossible for hunters to maneuver through it. It also disrupts the habitat that is needed for nesting birds and for food.”
That’s why it’s so important to clean gear when moving from one waterway to the next.
Boismenue encourages hunters to come prepared with supplies like brushes and wipes to clean their equipment before leaving water access points.
“The tradition of waterfowl hunting goes on for generations,” she says. “We want to keep it lasting for many generations to come as well.”