Eat Duck Now, Die Later?
Ironically, the growing concern about cancer-causing pollutants in wild ducks -- ranging from heavy metals and pesticides to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) -- could ultimately accomplish what common sense and voluntary restraint have failed to do. In the past, states as far apart as Montana and New York have issued local warnings about the edibility of certain waterfowl. More than a decade ago, New York even came up with an advisory for hunters to eat no more than one dabbling duck (mallard, gadwall, teal, etc.) per week, no more than one diving duck (scaup, redhead, goldeneye, etc.) per month, and no mergansers, period. (Last year, New York simplified its advisory to no more than two meals per month of any wild duck -- but not including mergansers, which are still taboo.) Generally, however, as media interest in each new alarm fades, the agency that issued the warning goes back to doing what agencies do best (selling licenses), and waterfowlers go back to doing what they do best (trying to kill every duck the law allows).