Outdoors Notebook

Outdoors Notebook: Biologists seek help from turkey hunters

CorrespondentApril 18, 2013 

Wildlife biologists are asking North Carolina wild turkey hunters for a hand – well, actually a leg, and just part of one at that.

Biologists need marrow-containing turkey leg bones to test for lymphoproliferative disease virus, or LPDV, that recently has been found in wild turkeys in the state.

“We’re looking for a piece of leg bone about 2 to 3 inches long from the spur to the first joint where feathers start,” Greg Batts, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s District 3 biologist, said Monday. “If the hunters will contact any district biologist, we’ll come and collect them.”

University of Georgia researchers with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study will test the marrow, which is where the virus would reside, Batts said. Samples from healthy-looking or sick birds are needed within 24 hours of harvest.

The disease, which does not transfer to humans, has been known in domestic turkeys and chickens in Europe for more than 40 years. It was discovered in North Carolina wild turkeys in 2009, and it also is in other parts of the eastern U.S. and the Midwest.

“There’s some thought that it may have been here all along, and we didn’t recognize it,” Batts said. “It looks a lot like avian pox. They get lesions or tumors on their head and on their feet. That’s a hallmark of avian pox.”

Emaciated turkeys found in Surry, Watauga, Bertie, Camden and Yancy counties tested positive for LPDV.

The disease, considered “minor” but with unknown ramifications, will not affect the hunting season, Batts said.

“We’ve had a lot of cold weather leading up to the season,” he said. “A lot of people are telling me the turkeys really aren’t gobbling that much. … The prolonged cold weather has kind of kept them from really getting into the breeding mode. I would think in the coming weeks as the weather gets warm, then the hunting will get better.”

To donate a section of leg bone, hunters north and east of Raleigh – in the region with Wake, Vance, Northampton and Wayne counties at the corners – may call Batts at 919-269-9731. Other hunters may call the Wildlife Management office in Raleigh at 919-707-0050 to be put in touch with their district biologists, or visit http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Hunting/Documents/WMDistrictBiologistContacts.pdf.

Wakeboards on Falls Lake: Overton’s and Overby Marine Sales and Service will host the free Battle of the Brands on Saturday to give wakeboarders a chance to check out wakeboards and boats from a variety of manufacturers. Demonstrations run 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at Rollingview Marina on Falls Lake. Learn more at www.facebook.com/overtons/events.

Shotgunners competing: The Southern Side-by-Side Championship and Exhibition Spring Classic side-by-side shotgun competition returns to Deep River Sporting Clays near Sanford on April 26-28. The 14th annual event will include exhibits by top gun dealers and gunmakers. Entry fees vary; spectator admission is free. Call 919-774-7080, or visit www.deepriver.net and www.southernsidebyside.com.

Send your outdoors news and announcements to outdoors@newsobserver.com.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service