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
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?