On April 18, FWP announced that a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus was detected in wild birds and at domestic poultry farms in Montana. In its cautionary release, FWP explained that "HPAI viruses are extremely infectious and fatal to poultry and some species of wild birds."
As we have all learned over the last several years, the potential spread of viruses is serious business. With this new virus emerging in and amongst our bird populations this situation begs an important question: are we willing to risk losing our world-class upland game birds in Montana?
This viral outbreak comes at the exact time that FWP is proposing to spend up to $1 million each year to pen raise and release domestic pheasants into and amongst our wild birds over the next five years. Instead of intuitively changing course given this new information, our state's wildlife management agency is about to launch a program to operate a poultry farm.