An outbreak of avian botulism at Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area near Parma has killed more than 600 mallards and other species of waterfowl in the last few weeks, and waterfowl hunters who planned on using the popular area on opening day of waterfowl season Oct. 12 may think about changing their plans.
Fish and Game staff have been collecting and disposing of the waterfowl carcasses in an effort to halt the outbreak.
“The good news is, we’ve seen no dead ducks in the last 10 days, so it appears the botulism has run its course,” said Andy Ogden, Fish and Game habitat biologist. “The bad news is, the outbreak killed considerable numbers of local ducks, and these are normally the birds harvested in the first few days of the waterfowl season.”
Avian botulism is found throughout the environment, with outbreaks occurring when ducks become concentrated, as occurs in the fall when waterfowl stage in certain areas before beginning their migration travels, Fish and Game said. The disease poses no threat to humans.