Monday, October 2, 2023

Hunted Canadian game birds get ban during holiday weekend

By David B. Strickland Poultry Times staff

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WASHINGTON — An announcement by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to place restrictions on game birds and waterfowl harvested in Canada on Sept. 2, at the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend, had some hunting organizations asking the big question — why?

In its alert, APHIS said, “Highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in both wild birds and poultry in Canada. (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have a zoning agreement in place to reduce the movement restrictions for trade in poultry and poultry products. However, these zones do not apply to wildlife.”

The department added that, “Hunter-harvested wild game bird trophies entering the United States from Canada must be fully finished or accompanied by a VS (Veterinary Services) import permit or consigned directly to a USDA Approved Establishment.”

“Hunter-harvested unprocessed wild game bird meat/carcasses, originating from or transiting Canada, will not be permitted to enter the United States regardless of the Canadian province from which the bird was harvested. APHIS is aware of the impact this will have on hunting season and will provide updates if new information is received.”

Ducks Unlimited quickly responded to this announcement, which was released, as the group notes, on Friday, Sept. 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.

“This last-minute, after-hours, notice is a disturbing development,” Ducks Unlimited said in a release. “Waterfowl hunting seasons in a number of Canadian provinces opened on Sept. 1, meaning American citizens currently hunting north of the border may be unaware the ducks and geese they are taking won’t be allowed back in the U.S.”

This is a quick reversal of a recent statement that noted that restricted imports would only apply to birds taken in HPAI priority control zones, Ducks Unlimited added.

“Hunters are left to wonder why APHIS would reverse course on such a consequential decision, announced after hours on a holiday weekend, with zero notice or opportunity to be heard from stakeholders,” Adam Putnam, Ducks Unlimited CEO, said. “DU members are justifiably upset by the absence of science and the total lack of transparency around this sweeping regulation that does not appear to have even included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its development.”

Ducks Unlimited added that it has sent a letter protesting this decision and requesting immediate reconsideration to Kevin Shea, APHIS administrator. Ducks Unlimited, established in 1937, is a non-profit organization focused on the conservation of North America’s waterfowl habitats.

APHIS said that hunters, or others, seeking more information about the import of animal products or by-products, to contact Animal Product Imports at 301-851-3300, or by email at

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