NEWPORT, Ark – Arkansas Game and Fish is warning hunters to stay vigilant as cases of Avian Flu increase in Central Arkansas.
Dustin Roddy co-owns a farm real estate and wildlife development business for waterfowl near Newport, Arkansas.
Last month when he was out searching for ducks, his drone picked up something unimaginable.
“[I thought] what in the world is going on? I mean it was eerie,” Roddy said.
Roddy’s camera picked up more than 75 dead snow geese in a nearby reservoir. He says most likely they died from Avian Flu.
“It’s not uncommon to see big snow geese feed or roast and then the next morning you find 4 or 5 dead birds, but just seeing them in the numbers that we were seeing is alarming,” said Roddy.
His suspicions about Avian Flu were confirmed just days later when he said he found a bald eagle dead in the woods. The crew sent the animal out for testing and the flu test came back positive.
Arkansas Game and Fish has reported several cases of bird flu in the central part of the state, now warning hunters to be on the lookout.
“Once it starts carrying outside of that and gets into your ducks and some of those other species, then we may have a bigger problem,” Roddy said.
According to Game and Fish, if the spread increases it could cost domestic poultry production billions and if it spreads to wildlife, it could have an impact on hunting.
“You may see things like bag limits or days of hunting may be restricted,” Roddy said.
Preventing that comes with a few simple steps and Arkansas Game and Fish said it starts with notification and awareness.
Hunters who come across a group of dead birds, are asked to call Arkansas Game and Fish at 501-823-1746.