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col Waterfowlers face little risk from bird flu

From staff reports

Duck hunters shouldn't have to worry about ducks they shoot carrying a potentially deadly form of avian flu, according to Ducks Unlimited.

The group announced that it met with a World Health Organization expert who said chances of shooting a duck with the virus are no worse than in past years. "There is no evidence at all that the Asian H5N1 virus is in the Americas," said Dr. Robert Webster.

The virulent strain of H5N1 has been found in several Asian countries and now Eastern Europe. The flu has killed people but they probably got it from domestic fowl, not wild ones, DU said.

DU suggests that hunters do what they should do when cleaning any game -- wear disposable surgical latex gloves. And when done, they should wash their hands with soap and water.

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DU also reports that as of Oct. 31, 33 ducks in Canada were found with avian flu but not the strain that is such a worry. That strain found in the 33 usually isn't a threat to people.

WALLEYE WINNERS: Top finishers in the final Walleye Searchers of Minnesota club tournament Saturday on the Mississippi River near Red Wing are: first, Bill Cadwell and Roger Svebakken, 14.14 pounds (3.13 was biggest fish); second, Erik Carlson and Dave Cutler, 11.91 (2.69 pounds); third, Richard Young and Todd Peterson, 11.4 (6.05 pounds); fourth, Aaron Konkel and Mitch Mitties, 10.64 (2.69 pounds); and fifth, Darrell Klevan and Mike Holzer, 8.98 (2.21 pounds).

DNR GRANTS: Eleven conservation clubs will receive $476,000 for improving prairies, grasslands and wetlands, including some projects that should help in this region. Money comes from the Heritage Enhancement Grants that gets money from the state lottery.

They include: Ducks Unlimited, $165,000 for shallow lake enhancement; Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, $14,000 for forest stand improvement; National Wild Turkey Federation, $8,500 for statewide forest stand improvement; Pheasants Forever, $138,500 for prairie grassland management; and The Nature Conservancy, $25,000 for prescribed burns.

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