Wednesday, November 2

Is the Tribune Scaremongering to Increase Readership?

Today's Tribune ran a front page story on the possible dangers of bird flu infecting the waterfowl at Freezout Lake, a popular hunting area (and, by the way, my favorite place for hunting duck and geese). The story, available here, practically scares people away from hunting fowl this year.

I know that bird flu is all over the news, and that it is an extremely legitimate concern. However, with this big front page article, I think that the Tribune is scaremongering.

The fowl that migrate from the flyways in the Bering straits are constantly monitored. NONE of these birds have exhibited symptoms of the bird flu. The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has also announced that it does not foresee a problem with hunting fowl this year. In fact, it appears that a FWP release, entitled "Avian Flu No Cause For Alarm For Waterfowl Hunters" is the source of the Trib's story, which they retitled "State wary of Freezout Lake geese". From that source they wrote this story?

The FWP, and the Tribune did recommend some common sense steps that are a good idea whenever you hunt fowl. These steps are good advice:

  • Do not handle dead birds or birds that appear sick
  • Wear disposable gloves when dressing game birds and waterfowl
  • Don’t eat, drink or smoke while handling game
  • Wash hands with soap and water, and clean surfaces that come in contact with game
  • Cook game meat thoroughly
  • Properly dispose of remains of field-dressed birds
We need to be concerned about bird flu. However, we do not need to needlessly scare ourselves. I will be hunting, at Freezeout, this year. Hope to see you there.


GeeGuy said...

Good point, Aaron. I think that we need something like the Leader-less to take on the Tribune as much as city government.

By the way, do you wear a funny hat?

Treasure State Jew said...

Define 'funny'

GeeGuy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GeeGuy said...

Come on, Aaron, this is Montana. "Funny" means not a baseball cap! :)

Treasure State Jew said...


I fess up. Yes, I was the guy in the fur cap.


Mike said...

Aaron: As a quick aside, this month's edition of "Emerging Infectious Diseases" ( has a timely article on Avian Influenza/H5N1.

I'll highlight only the final paragraph:

Early detection of all cases was essential to repidly implement control measures. Meanwhile, comprehensive veterinary surveillance and long-term control measures are required. The success of HPA1 elimination, therefore, depends on a collaboration of all stakeholders, including farmers, industries, veterinarians, public health authorities, academic institutions, media, and the government.

Due to the migratory habits of many species of birds around and through the GF area, I think that perhaps the GF Trib article was not so much about "scaremongering" as providing a (potential) public service.

Treasure State Jew said...


On reflection, I think you are probably right. We all need to be concerned about Avian Flu, and in future years the waterfowl at Freezout could be a source of the disease.

However, I still think that the Trib is stretching it a bit here, especially as it appears that the disease is moving Westward to Europe, not Eastward through Siberia.

I still will be hunting at Freezout this year. However, I will be wearing plastic gloves.

Good shabbos,