Avian Influenza Still Present as Waterfowl Season Begins

Nov 22, 2023 | Featured, Regional News

Laramie, WY (RELEASE WGFD) November 22nd, 2023 — Waterfowl hunting season is in full swing and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed several reports of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Laramie region. Waterfowl mortalities due to HPAI have been documented in the Torrington and Wheatland areas.

HPAI is highly contagious and is expected to impact more waterfowl in the Central Flyway as migrations progress. Waterfowl hunters can expect to encounter additional sick or dead birds.

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

  • Only harvest and handle game that appears healthy. 
  • 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. Please contact the Wyoming Department of Health with questions or concerns about human exposure.

If you are 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. The Laramie Regional Office can be reached at 307-745-4046. For more information on HPAI visit the Game and Fish website or download the HPAI guidance flyer. To track laboratory confirmed cases of HPAI, visit our interactive map.