Can duck decoys transfer zebra mussels?

dekeBlame it on a buddy, a kid you once took hunting, or a time when you had to finish off a cripple, but most duck hunters have a few decoys in their spread that tend to leak from old pellet holes. 
 
And if you’re a waterfowler who hunts on Lake Ray Roberts or Lake Texoma, there’s a chance you could spread zebra mussels to other lakes that are currently free of the invasive species, according to TPWD’s Regional Inland Fisheries Director Brian Van Zee.
 
“A hunter’s biggest concern would be if the decoys had leaks and water in them, or if he uses a duck boat,” he said. “If a guy is going to jump lake to lake, I would absolutely make sure the decoys are drying out. If some are leaking, maybe don’t even put those out.
 
“Even if most of the water gets drained out, it’s going to be wet and humid and the zebra mussels will survive longer.”
 
Van Zee said the exterior of the decoy doesn’t pose a problem, as the blocks wouldn’t be in the water long enough for an adult zebra mussel to latch on. But if the decoy does let water leak in, the zebra mussel larvae could be carried.
 
“It’s all external fertilization by zebra mussels, and the villagers can be in the water up to three or four weeks,” he said. “It would be very, very unlikely for a mussel to attach to the exterior. The hunter should be careful, making sure he drains all the water out of the duck decoy; it wouldn’t take long for the villagers to die if (the hunter) drains the water and lets the decoy dry.”

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