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Waterfowl hunters needed for bird toxin study


Harrisburg, PA – Attention waterfowl hunters: the Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking your cooperation in a study that will evaluate to what extent contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins and heavy metals are affecting ducks and geese.

Like fish, waterfowl can store these contaminants at levels that affect their own health and pose a risk to hunters who harvest and consume them. Existing statewide guidelines recommend mergansers should not be eaten; other diving ducks, if properly prepared, should be eaten only occasionally; and dabbling ducks and geese safely can be eaten, if properly prepared.

Information obtained through the upcoming study will help determine if the existing health advisory still is warranted or if it should be updated in any way. Results of this study will not impact hunting regulations.

Hunters participating in the study should be willing to donate mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, green-winged teal, and Canada geese upon request. Participants will be asked to provide information on where and when the bird was harvested and provide a photo or two of the bird’s wing. The bird must then be stored frozen, and the Game Commission will contact the hunter within 48 hours if the bird will be collected for testing. The Game Commission will send a biologist to collect the sample.

Hunters wishing to take part in the study must complete the registration form at the following link: https://cwhl.vet.cornell.edu/webform/contaminants-in-waterfowl.

Hunters who register will receive further information on how to report their harvests.

“Hunters always play a vital role in wildlife conservation, and through efforts like these, they can help their conservation agency learn more about what’s going on with wildlife than ever would be possible without them,” said Game Commission Waterfowl Program Specialist Nate Huck. “Their interest and participation in this study is greatly appreciated.”