Hunters Beware of Blue-green Algae: Keep your hunting dog safe.

ISMARCK, N.D. – Waterfowl and upland bird hunting seasons are underway. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) cautions hunters to watch for potentially toxic blue-green algae in wetlands and lakes while in the field this fall. There are no known antidotes for the cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae. Hunting dogs may suffer adverse health effects, even death, and are at a higher risk than people for illness because of their smaller size.

Also, people that swallow or come into contact with water containing cyanotoxins can become sick with diarrhea and vomiting, experience numb lips, tingling fingers and toes, dizziness, rashes, hives or skin blisters.

Know it. Blue-green algae can look like grass clippings floating in the water, clumps/puffballs or green cottage cheese. It can also make the water appear like spilled green paint or green pea soup.

Avoid it.

  • Respect advisories and warnings announced by the NDDEQ. All water advisories and warnings are posted at
  • If the water is discolored or you see foam, scum, or mats of green or blue-green algae on the water, do not let pets swim in or drink from affected waters. Carry plenty of fresh water for you and your hunting dog.
  • If you or your hunting dog accidentally swims in water that might have a cyanobacteria bloom, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.

Report it. Report suspected blue-green algae blooms to the NDDEQ at 701-328-5210 or on the NDDEQ’s Harmful Algal Bloom webpage at Because it can take time to receive laboratory test results, we urge people to be cautious and avoid waters that look discolored, scummy, or have a foul odor.

Enjoy a safe and successful hunt and when in doubt, stay out.