Few hunters these days remember the years of market waterfowl hunting. Skies once black with migrating ducks and geese were harvested by the millions to supply food and feathers for a growing country, and many species suffered from overharvest as a result. However, through extensive conservation efforts by concerned and motivated sportsmen, skies are again filling with wildlife.
Today, there’s a new threat to our nation’s waterfowl: invasive species. Foreign plants, animals and diseases threaten our fish and wildlife. They decrease habitat, create a malady of disease and illness, and are a leading cause for endangered species listing.
Each year, thousands of waterfowl die due to the impacts of zebra and quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and faucet snails. Unknowingly, these non-native species often hitchhike on waterfowl boats and gear, from one honey-hole to another.
The good news is that, as hunters, we have a tradition founded in conservation. If—together—we clean, drain and dry our boats, trailers and equipment—even hunting dogs—we can stop the spread of the foreign invaders. It’s our duty.
- Clean: Boats, trailers, boots and hunting equipment. Remove all mud and plants. Don’t transport weeds.
- Drain: Boats, motors and decoys—anything that holds water.
- Dry: Equipment for 5 days and/or wash with high pressure, hot water.
Do your part to conserve America’s great waterfowl hunting tradition. Remember: Clean, drain and dry to stop aquatic hitchhikers. You owe it to yourself, fellow hunters and the speicies you love.