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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species as the waterfowl season gets underway. Eric Katzenmeyer is the DNR invasive species specialist. He said in a DNR news release, "Hunters should take a few minutes to clean plants and mud, and drain water from duck boats, decoys, decoy lines, waders and push poles."

The news release indicates several different types of invasive species that could be transported on hunters' boats including zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and faucet snails.

"It's the key to avoiding the spread of aquatic invasive species in waterfowl habitat," Katzenmeyer cautioned. Not only do invasive species damage habitat, they can lead to waterfowl die-off, "faucet snails can carry parasites that kill ducks," the news release states.

The DNR realizes some of these invaders are difficult to detect, "To kill or remove invasive species seeds or young zebra mussels that are difficult to see, the DNR recommends that boaters use a high-pressure spray or a hot water ruse before launching into another water body (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds). Air drying can also be effective, but may require more time due to cooler weather."

A few safety tips from the Department of Natural Resources follow.

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Keep an eye to the sky for threatening weather.
  • Leave your boating plan with a friend or relative, along with the time you expect to return.
  • Make sure your boat has enough fuel.
  • Know the area you will be boating.
  • Take a boater safety course.