Iowa hunters reported harvesting more than 14,600 turkeys during the spring season, which is the highest spring turkey harvest since mandatory harvest reporting began in 2007. The previous high was 12,173 in 2016.
Wild turkeys were harvested in all of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa’s spring turkey season ended May 17.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University set a goal of collecting 500 turkey legs from successful hunters to test for the presence of Lymphoproliferative Disease (LPDV) that may be impacting Iowa’s turkey population.
Iowa’s current turkey population trend is mostly flat or slightly declining across much of the state. It’s a trend occurring not only in Iowa.
“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,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife research biologist for the Iowa 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.”
Coffey encouraged hunters who still have a lower turkey leg and want to participate in the study to go online to www.iowadnr.gov/turkey to request a packet.
“We encourage samples from all counties but can really use additional samples from the northwest part of the state,” Coffey said.