DNR asks turkey hunters to submit birds for flu testing

Wild turkey
Wild turkey
Tom Weber | MPR News 2009

Minnesota natural resources officials are asking wild turkey hunters in five counties to submit birds they kill for testing.

Starting Monday, hunters in Kandiyohi, Pope, Meeker, Swift and Stearns counties will be asked to bring wild turkeys they kill to a Department of Natural Resources office where staff will take a swab sample from the turkey's trachea.

Hunters also will be asked to provide their contact information and where they killed the bird.

The testing request comes as state officials struggle to contain an avian flu outbreak among domestic birds at turkey farms.

The avian flu "has not yet been found in wild turkeys, but it has been found in domestic turkeys in these and other Minnesota counties," Michelle Carstensen, the DNR's wildlife health program supervisor, said in a statement Friday. "We chose those five counties to enlist the help of hunters because they have sufficient wild turkey populations."

Sampling only takes a few minutes and the hunter will keep the bird, the DNR added. Officials are asking hunters to call and schedule appointments.

The 2015 spring wild turkey season is open until May 28. The DNR hopes to collect 300 total samples from turkey. Unless their bird is found positive for flu, individual hunters will not be notified of results, the agency added.

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