LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Thursday marks the official start of waterfowl hunting season.

While the season is starting back up, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources expects a fall surge in the highly pathogenic Avian influenza.

According to the DNR, the recent upticks are the result of waterfowl migrations currently underway.

Dabbling ducks are the most commonly infected waterfowl, but geese, swans, and other species also can be infected.

Michigan’s initial avian influenza was found in a wild bird in March of 2022, and since then our state has detected 150 positive cases in wild birds and mammals.

Out of concern for hunters during the waterfowl season, the DNR is advising them to take extra precautions this year.

Safety tips to avoid Avian influenza:

  • Be careful when it comes to harvesting and handling wild birds
  • Wear latex gloves during cleaning
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Stay away from birds that show symptoms of the virus
  • Cook your meat at an internal temperature of 165 degrees to avoid contamination
  • Do not handle or eat sick game
  • Wash your hands with soap and water