Coronavirus or not, turkey hunters showed up in full force this spring, recording a record harvest for the state. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says more than 14,600 turkeys were harvested this spring, the highest amount since reporting began in 2007. The previous high was 12,173 in 2016. Hunters also answered a call put out by the Iowa DNR and Iowa State University. They were looking to collect 500 turkey legs from hunters to test for the presence of Lymphoproliferative Disease (LPDV) which may be impacting the state’s turkey population. They are following a trend that has been occurring nationwide with a flat or slightly decreasing population. “We are not sure what impact LPDV may have on wild turkey populations but it is one aspect we are considering when looking at the decline of turkey populations in Iowa and across the country,” says Jim Coffey, forest wildlife research biologist with the DNR. “Hunters really stepped up by providing these samples that may help us better understand what’s going on with the turkey population in Iowa.” Anyone who still has a lower turkey leg and wants to participate can request a packet at www.iowadnr.gov/turkey.
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