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04

Nearly three million commercial turkeys have been wiped out by avian influenza recently. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are hoping that the wild turkey population should be able to avoid the epidemic that disrupted many Midwest operations.

As commercial operations are struggling to control the outbreak, Iowa state agencies are asking turkey hunters to be on the lookout for wild turkeys that could be affected. Should hunters find a bird they suspect of having avian influenza, the hunter should report the bird and its whereabouts to state officials.

This is the perfect time to assess the health condition of the wild turkey population.

“Isolated populations that might be affected, but we don’t look for anything widespread,” a DNR spokesman has recently stated. “The turkeys are fairly dispersed, and any kind of outbreak should be limited.”

A commercial turkey facility in Buena Vista County was confirmed this week as having the fatal bird virus. A chicken facility in Osceola County was also confirmed as infected recently. Due to this, approximately 27,000 turkeys were destroyed and 3.8 million egg laying chickens are going to be destroyed.

These are only two of the 50 facilities which have confirmed cases of the virus. It isn’t just Iowa that is affected. One of the cases was confirmed in South Dakota while another three were in Minnesota. In total there are confirmed cases in eight states.

The virus is believed to be spread through the movements of migratory birds. The strain had previously been identified by birds which travel on the Mississippi flyway. Transmission of the illness is thought to be primarily through their droppings.

“Waterfowl are migratory, and they tend to congregate more [than wild turkeys]”, an expert is quoted as saying. “They’re splashing around in the same marsh, so there’s potential for more exposure.”

Hunters can help stop the spread of the disease by avoiding poultry facilities. Although the health risk to the general population is low.

Are you hunting turkeys this season? Will you be on the watch out for avian flu this hunting season?

Let us know in the comments below.


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