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Bird Flu Brings Restrictions for Waterfowl Hunters Looking to Transport Birds Across the Border

With the ongoing spread of bird flu, the importation of ducks and geese has been significantly hampered.

Bird Flu Brings Restrictions for Waterfowl Hunters Looking to Transport Birds Across the Border

Heading to Canada or Mexico this fall? There is a temporary restriction prohibiting the importation of unprocessed waterfowl across the border, and significant limitations for bringing home bird meat. (Photo By: Chris Ingram)

As you may remember, Wildfowl reported in March when avian influenza began wreaking havoc among wild waterfowl and domestic poultry populations. Since then, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been closely monitoring the spread and imparting new efforts to migrate the effects of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). With the latest development from the APHIS office comes a series of restrictions on the importation of avian commodities (including hunter-harvested waterfowl species). Simply put, your birds will either have to go to an APHIS-approved taxidermy establishment before they can come home, or you’re going to have to endure the permitting and government certification process in addition to fully cooking your bird meat to bring it home safely. Here, we’ll cover what it’s going to take to get your birds back from Canada and Mexico.

two snow goose hunters in field with blue goose
If you're planning on hunting north or south of the border this season, be prepared to handle your birds. (Photo By: Chris Ingram)

Guidance for Importing Birds from Canada

As of June 30, 2022, in order to protect our domestic livestock industry, APHIS has ordered significant restrictions on the importation of avian commodities originating from or transiting zones in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, Canada.

Click here to see a map of restricted zones in Canada.

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Unprocessed avian products and byproducts originating from or transiting a restricted zone will not be permitted to enter the United States, including hunter-harvested meat. Non-fully finished avian hunting trophies must be consigned to an APHIS-approved taxidermy establishment. These restrictions will be updated as additional epidemiological information is obtained and current information can be found on the APHIS website.

Also under these restrictions, processed avian products and byproducts originating from or transiting a restricted zone, imported as cargo, must be accompanied by an APHIS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products were treated according to APHIS requirements. (An import permit and/or certificate is/are not required for these shipments when consigned to an APHIS-approved establishment).

Processed avian products and byproducts for personal use originating from or transiting a restricted zone and entering in passenger baggage must:

• have a thoroughly-cooked appearance;

• be shelf-stable as a result of APHIS-approved packaging and cooking (i.e., packaged in hermetically sealed containers and cooked by a commercial method after such packing to produce articles that are shelf-stable without refrigeration); or

• be accompanied by an APHIS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products/byproducts were treated according to APHIS requirements.

Click here for more info on the restricted importation of avian commodities from Canada.

Guidance for Importing Birds from Mexico

If you’re looking to bring home parts of your birds from your trip to Mexico, pay attention to the specific guidance, as offered by APHIS: “Processed avian products and by-products originating from or transiting through Mexico imported as cargo must be accompanied by an APHIS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products were treated according to APHIS requirements. Processed avian products and by-products for personal use originating from or transiting through Mexico entering in passenger baggage not having a thoroughly cooked appearance, or not shelf-stable as a result of APHIS approved packaging and cooking (i.e. packaged in hermetically sealed containers and cooked by a commercial method after such packing to produce articles that are shelf stable without refrigeration), must also be accompanied by a VS import permit and/or government certification confirming that the products/by-products were treated according to APHIS requirements. Unprocessed avian products and by-products originating from or transiting through Mexico are not permitted to enter in passenger baggage. This includes hunter harvested, non-fully finished avian trophies and meat.”

Click here for more information on importing birds from Mexico

Be sure to check back with Wildfowl as this story continues to develop.


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