Turkey Carcass Submission Protocol

Turkey Carcass Submission Protocol for Wart-like Growths

If a hunter harvests a turkey with wart-like growths on its head or legs, KDFWR is asking the hunter to submit the carcass for disease testing. The Wildlife Health Program and Turkey Program are conducting this scientific collection effort to better understand Kentucky's turkey population.

The viruses that cause these skin growths do not infect humans or other animals, but there is the potential for secondary infections. Therefore, we do not recommend eating sick birds. Example pictures of turkeys with such growths can be seen on KDFWR's Disease and Wildlife Heath webpage: https://fw.ky.gov/Disease.

Instructions for Hunters

  • Before moving the carcass record the harvest on your harvest log, then report the harvest in Telecheck (call 800-245-4263 or visit https://app.fw.ky.gov/myprofile/
  • Take several photos of the turkey and the wart-like growths on its head or legs.
  • Freeze the entire carcass in a plastic garbage bag. Do not remove any internal or external parts, including organs, tail fan, beard, or spurs.
  • Contact either:
  • Based on the photos, Dr. Casey or Zak will determine whether the harvested turkey is eligible for this project by confirming the presence of skin lesions of interest.
  • If eligible, Dr. Casey or Zak will coordinate the submission of the carcass, either themselves or with the help of a local KDFWR biologist or conservation officer.
  • Once the entire carcass has been received by a KDFWR staff member, that staff member will sign and date your harvest log and note "Submitted for testing." As usual, keep your hunting log with you while hunting throughout the season.
  • The KDFWR staff member receiving the carcass will immediately contact Dr. Casey or Zak, who will then coordinate with the Commissioner's office and other staff to have the harvest record removed from the Telecheck Review webpage.
    • At this point, you will be free to harvest an additional turkey that would count toward your statewide season bag limit of two bearded/male turkeys.
    • Other hunters will not see the harvest record of the turkey submitted for testing.
  • NOTE: Any hunters wishing to retain portions of the carcass for keepsakes (tail fans, beards, and/or spurs, etc.) may do so before submitting the carcass, BUT KDFWR will NOT authorize the take of an additional turkey. The turkey with portion(s) removed will count toward your statewide season bag limit. This is consistent with our normal process of animal carcass submissions for disease investigations.
  • If you are interested in learning the results of testing, indicate your interest to Dr. Casey or Zak so they can follow up when results are received.

Please direct questions or concerns to:

Thank you for helping us better understand and manage Kentucky's wild turkey resource!