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Wash Your Pup: Duck Dogs Could Transport Invasive Species

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November 15, 2012

Wash Your Pup: Duck Dogs Could Transport Invasive Species

By Chad Love

We all know about the dangers of invasive aquatic species piggybacking from one body of water to the next on boats, waders and other fishing and watersports gear, but what about your duck dog? Is your pooch unwittingly acting as a vector for the spread of zebra mussels, milfoil and other non-native nuisances? That's the scenario behind a new education campaign aimed at educating waterfowl hunters about washing their dogs between hunts.

From this story on greatlakesecho.org:
A Minnesota conservation organization is launching a campaign that teaches waterfowl hunters how even washing their dogs can fight invasive species. The non-profit Wildlife Forever received a $233,830 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help teach hunters how to prevent aquatic hitchhikers. The campaign will teach hunters to properly clean waders, waterfowl decoys and even hunting dogs to avoid transporting invasive species. The clean, drain, dry technique is the most effective way to prevent the transport of invasive species between different bodies of waters, according to the group. 

According to the story, the campaign targets waterfowl hunters because they are largely ignored in the fight against invasive species. Well, count me among the ignored. I admit, I've never thought about my dog (or my decoys, for that matter) potentially carrying invasive species between bodies of water, mainly because I mostly hunt the same local lakes, rivers and ponds during duck season. But I could certainly envision a scenario where a road-tripping waterfowler hunting several different locations over the course of a few days might inadvertently carry viable organisms from one lake to another via his dog.

So do you bathe your dog between every hunting trip? Is that even practical with a waterfowl dog?

Comments (20)

Top Rated
All Comments
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Quite honestly speaking...it ain't gonna happen. All of these "education programs", and they put up signs aound high visible areas just means another stamp, or fee you have to pay, and it contributes nothing to prevention. Hunter is tired at the end of the day...it is all I can do to check my dog out for burrs, dangerous seeds between his toes, and in his ears, look in his eyes for seeds, and wipe him down. Commonsense tells you not one guy out of 20 is going to bath their dog, when they get home, and it only takes one. This is as bad as the felt soles denial by law that only hurt the retailers, and did little else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

It doesn't take a wizard to see how felt sole waders could be a vector for invasive species. Easy! As fishermen that's the last thing we want. Guess that's why most of us got behind that regulation.

Some of the invasive species are nearly microscopic at some stage of their life. If my fishing reel can carry viable spiny water fleas for up to three days out of water, I can envisage that a dog's fur might do the same thing. Clinchnot, guys like you are hard to enlighten. Don't be afraid to learn something new, especially when it might help preserve your fishing/hunting resources.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

If dog washing is the key to saving the environment than the game is lost. Who's going to wash the ducks and geese and other migrating species?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Ontario...You came to a fork in the road, and reality went one way, and you went the other. Everyone would have to wash everything else besides not having felts, and everyone would have to bathe their dogs. But you think everyone would do it? The felt sole outfit that was FOR banning felts, is now putting them back on their waders! And flyshops advertising.."FELTS ARE BACK!" Not only did the regulation in many states hurt the mfger, and retailers, it hurt those that fell, and hurt themselves because the replacement rubber that was supposed to be non-slip wasn't worth a darn! But I said that from the getgo while you, and others supported the ban.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Steel studs were the replacement of choice for felt soles. Most guys I talked to liked them better than felt. I can show you large areas of invasive weeds in some of the most remote locations in Alaska. How did they get there? Someone tracked them in their hiking boots or dumped them from their tents. What a terrible inconvenience it would be if everyone was required to clean their equipment when they got off the plane! But it would be damned effective! For good and forever. Unfortunately inconvenience wins out.

A dog's fur is more likely to hold invasive organisms than a ducks feathers. If its feathers were absorbent the bird would sink. Duh!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

By the way, the regulation did not hurt manufacturers. If anything, it helped them. They sold lots of new alternative equipped waders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Hey, guys, let's get back to dog washing...isn't it true that washing a Lab (or other dogs with oily fur) too often can inhibit the dog's ability to produce the oils necessary to protect them and their fur from water, especially cold water? And can even, when done to extreme, dry their skin out. Do it often enough for long enough and the dog eventually loses the ability to produce those oils entirely? The period I've heard/read most often is more than once/month. So if you were to hunt even just once/week and wash your dog after each hunt, you might be causing permanent damage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

No need to use soap when washing the dog. Just very warm water. That won't hurt the oil in their hair.

I'm not saying I totally buy into this washing the dog stuff. But it definitely warrants further investigation. I was formerly an invasive species education ranger with the National Park Service and I can tell you the problem is much worse the most of you probably realize. Within my daughter's lifetime ash trees of all five species will probably become extinct in North America. Unlike Dutch elm disease, the probability of discovering a resistant variant is extremely remote. Emerald ash borer will take them all out. Spiny water flea and zebra mussels will wreck entire watersheds by radically altering the bottom of the food chain. I personally have seen the total destruction of North America's premier bull trout fishery in the back yard where I grew up in Montana. Seen them up to 22 lbs pulled out of that river and many larger that couldn't be landed. No more. All gone. Thanks to mices shrimp introduced by, of all people, the State Fish and Game. The battle to stop this crap is no joke. It's a real war. And it requires real sacrifices ... at the very least some inconvenience.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chessie_Charlie wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

This is off topic but that dog looks exactly like mine. I spent ten minutes looking it over trying to convince myself it was not my dog. Any info on who that dog is out of?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

O. Honker: Thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to me (don't have to use soap).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Chessie Charlie, she's mine. Tess is out of a couple untitled working dogs here in OK, so you probably wouldn't recognize the sire or dam, but my dog's dam is out of a very nice MH titled dog named Chestnut Hills Ironwood Oak (top) and Rhett's Happy Bonnie (bottom).

As for my dog's sire, he's out of a couple Louisiana dogs, Cajun Breaux(top) and Cajun Bayou Queen (bottom). Sire goes back to some Chesagrove/Lakebreeze's stuff and the dam was sired by DC AFC Coot's Gypsy Clipper.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Back in the day it was assumed that seeds were transported by waterfowl and other migrating birds. Beaver ponds and other intermittent wetlands evolve as they age. Species composition,both plant and animal change as time and water conditions evolve.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Labs got the gist of it...stupid to wash your dog. My labs can take a shower by themselves. They don't need my help.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Labrador, seeds are most often transported via digestive tracts and there usually isn't much that can be done about that. However, no seeds will survive a bird's gizzard. Same problem out here with some of the noxious weeds being transported by cattle and wildlife. But that vector generally moves slowly. It's the seeds that are brought in from across the world in airplanes or vehicle wheel wells that could and should be controlled. Just look at emerald ash borer. Left to its own resources the little bug would be hard pressed to drive the five species of ash to extinction. Firewood haulers and greenhouse operators are the ones speeding things up. And THEY are the problem because THEY either aren't educated about the problem or, more frequently, choose to ignore the threat or pretend it's not really a threat. Yeah, the quarantines are all a government conspiracy. Tell that to huge expanse of expanding dead trees in the east.

I say err on the side of caution. What can it hurt? It can only help.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Please look at the

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Please look at the record of big govt. Here's where it hurts if you really want to know. Big govt sees the problem, but most importantly they see revenue! They post signs up around at access points showing a picture of a dog, and a bucket of suds telling you to wash your dog. Then comes an evasive species stamp you have to buy for X amount of dollars, you have to buy year, after year after year with the cost probably going UP! Screw big govt!! Let's lower their involvement in our lives, not increase their involvement! History says they do a terrible job at most everything.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And to further that point! I got sold on their plea to prevent evasive species of plants, and the dangers they pose. They even put on a 1/2 hr show on public television regarding the problem posed by these plants. I took the time to call around telling public officials where I had seen evidence of these evasive THISTLES that were spreading. All I got was the run around! They passed the buck everytime as NOT their responsibility. Even after telling me it wasn't when it really was. Smack me up side the head for thinking that the govt could do ANYTHING right when it gets down to where the rubber meets the road. Total waste of tax payer money in most every case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Well if a Pup can do, so can those wild critters too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clay..That is way to intelligent a response for this group. I'm sure they never thought of that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

HEY DAFFY, TAKE A BATH YOU FEATHERED FREAK!

No joke clinchknot!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Clay..That is way to intelligent a response for this group. I'm sure they never thought of that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Quite honestly speaking...it ain't gonna happen. All of these "education programs", and they put up signs aound high visible areas just means another stamp, or fee you have to pay, and it contributes nothing to prevention. Hunter is tired at the end of the day...it is all I can do to check my dog out for burrs, dangerous seeds between his toes, and in his ears, look in his eyes for seeds, and wipe him down. Commonsense tells you not one guy out of 20 is going to bath their dog, when they get home, and it only takes one. This is as bad as the felt soles denial by law that only hurt the retailers, and did little else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

It doesn't take a wizard to see how felt sole waders could be a vector for invasive species. Easy! As fishermen that's the last thing we want. Guess that's why most of us got behind that regulation.

Some of the invasive species are nearly microscopic at some stage of their life. If my fishing reel can carry viable spiny water fleas for up to three days out of water, I can envisage that a dog's fur might do the same thing. Clinchnot, guys like you are hard to enlighten. Don't be afraid to learn something new, especially when it might help preserve your fishing/hunting resources.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

If dog washing is the key to saving the environment than the game is lost. Who's going to wash the ducks and geese and other migrating species?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Ontario...You came to a fork in the road, and reality went one way, and you went the other. Everyone would have to wash everything else besides not having felts, and everyone would have to bathe their dogs. But you think everyone would do it? The felt sole outfit that was FOR banning felts, is now putting them back on their waders! And flyshops advertising.."FELTS ARE BACK!" Not only did the regulation in many states hurt the mfger, and retailers, it hurt those that fell, and hurt themselves because the replacement rubber that was supposed to be non-slip wasn't worth a darn! But I said that from the getgo while you, and others supported the ban.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Steel studs were the replacement of choice for felt soles. Most guys I talked to liked them better than felt. I can show you large areas of invasive weeds in some of the most remote locations in Alaska. How did they get there? Someone tracked them in their hiking boots or dumped them from their tents. What a terrible inconvenience it would be if everyone was required to clean their equipment when they got off the plane! But it would be damned effective! For good and forever. Unfortunately inconvenience wins out.

A dog's fur is more likely to hold invasive organisms than a ducks feathers. If its feathers were absorbent the bird would sink. Duh!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

By the way, the regulation did not hurt manufacturers. If anything, it helped them. They sold lots of new alternative equipped waders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Hey, guys, let's get back to dog washing...isn't it true that washing a Lab (or other dogs with oily fur) too often can inhibit the dog's ability to produce the oils necessary to protect them and their fur from water, especially cold water? And can even, when done to extreme, dry their skin out. Do it often enough for long enough and the dog eventually loses the ability to produce those oils entirely? The period I've heard/read most often is more than once/month. So if you were to hunt even just once/week and wash your dog after each hunt, you might be causing permanent damage.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

No need to use soap when washing the dog. Just very warm water. That won't hurt the oil in their hair.

I'm not saying I totally buy into this washing the dog stuff. But it definitely warrants further investigation. I was formerly an invasive species education ranger with the National Park Service and I can tell you the problem is much worse the most of you probably realize. Within my daughter's lifetime ash trees of all five species will probably become extinct in North America. Unlike Dutch elm disease, the probability of discovering a resistant variant is extremely remote. Emerald ash borer will take them all out. Spiny water flea and zebra mussels will wreck entire watersheds by radically altering the bottom of the food chain. I personally have seen the total destruction of North America's premier bull trout fishery in the back yard where I grew up in Montana. Seen them up to 22 lbs pulled out of that river and many larger that couldn't be landed. No more. All gone. Thanks to mices shrimp introduced by, of all people, the State Fish and Game. The battle to stop this crap is no joke. It's a real war. And it requires real sacrifices ... at the very least some inconvenience.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chessie_Charlie wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

This is off topic but that dog looks exactly like mine. I spent ten minutes looking it over trying to convince myself it was not my dog. Any info on who that dog is out of?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

O. Honker: Thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to me (don't have to use soap).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Chessie Charlie, she's mine. Tess is out of a couple untitled working dogs here in OK, so you probably wouldn't recognize the sire or dam, but my dog's dam is out of a very nice MH titled dog named Chestnut Hills Ironwood Oak (top) and Rhett's Happy Bonnie (bottom).

As for my dog's sire, he's out of a couple Louisiana dogs, Cajun Breaux(top) and Cajun Bayou Queen (bottom). Sire goes back to some Chesagrove/Lakebreeze's stuff and the dam was sired by DC AFC Coot's Gypsy Clipper.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Back in the day it was assumed that seeds were transported by waterfowl and other migrating birds. Beaver ponds and other intermittent wetlands evolve as they age. Species composition,both plant and animal change as time and water conditions evolve.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Labs got the gist of it...stupid to wash your dog. My labs can take a shower by themselves. They don't need my help.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

Labrador, seeds are most often transported via digestive tracts and there usually isn't much that can be done about that. However, no seeds will survive a bird's gizzard. Same problem out here with some of the noxious weeds being transported by cattle and wildlife. But that vector generally moves slowly. It's the seeds that are brought in from across the world in airplanes or vehicle wheel wells that could and should be controlled. Just look at emerald ash borer. Left to its own resources the little bug would be hard pressed to drive the five species of ash to extinction. Firewood haulers and greenhouse operators are the ones speeding things up. And THEY are the problem because THEY either aren't educated about the problem or, more frequently, choose to ignore the threat or pretend it's not really a threat. Yeah, the quarantines are all a government conspiracy. Tell that to huge expanse of expanding dead trees in the east.

I say err on the side of caution. What can it hurt? It can only help.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Please look at the

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Please look at the record of big govt. Here's where it hurts if you really want to know. Big govt sees the problem, but most importantly they see revenue! They post signs up around at access points showing a picture of a dog, and a bucket of suds telling you to wash your dog. Then comes an evasive species stamp you have to buy for X amount of dollars, you have to buy year, after year after year with the cost probably going UP! Screw big govt!! Let's lower their involvement in our lives, not increase their involvement! History says they do a terrible job at most everything.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

And to further that point! I got sold on their plea to prevent evasive species of plants, and the dangers they pose. They even put on a 1/2 hr show on public television regarding the problem posed by these plants. I took the time to call around telling public officials where I had seen evidence of these evasive THISTLES that were spreading. All I got was the run around! They passed the buck everytime as NOT their responsibility. Even after telling me it wasn't when it really was. Smack me up side the head for thinking that the govt could do ANYTHING right when it gets down to where the rubber meets the road. Total waste of tax payer money in most every case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

Well if a Pup can do, so can those wild critters too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

HEY DAFFY, TAKE A BATH YOU FEATHERED FREAK!

No joke clinchknot!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment