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Over 500,000 hunters are expected to take part in Missouri's firearms turkey season from April 21-May 11. Mike Smith has the story:
(AUDIO: DR. TAYLOR WOODS)
Many experts say that the disease spread north from Mexico, due in part to the dangers of cockfighting operations along the Mexican border. These operations were only made illegal in Oklahoma in November's general election, a fact that has woods worried.
(Audio: Dr. Taylor Woods)
Dan King is the sheriff of Ottawa County in northeastern Oklahoma. He says that, though the fights are now illegal in his state, there are undoubtedly still many operations in business, mostly because of the money involved.
(Audio: Dan King)
The news isn't all negative. The disease poses no threat to humans. It will not harm people who come into contact with it. And Nevada recently declared they have the problem contained, at least in their state. But with the rapid speed of the disease's movement, and the toll it can take on birds and bird industries, it might be best to take papa lalo's advice.
(Audio: papa lalo guerrero)
Unlike deer hunters who are required to wear orange while in the woods, turkey hunters, in an effort to avoid detection by the eagle eyed bird usually associated with Thanksgiving, adorn themselves from head to toe with camouflage and call to their prey. (Audio: Turkey call)
Today, (April 21) is the first day of the firearms turkey season in Missouri and Francis Skalicky of the Mo. Department of Conservation says it's second only to deer season in its popularity among hunters: (Audio: Francis Skalicky expects 500,000 hunters on opening day)
Skalicky says male turkeys have for the last few weeks or so, been quite vocal, and their gobbling is resounding through the woods. But the challenge he says, is to get the birds to go against its natural method of courtship and lure it into shotgun range. (about 25-30 yards)
(Audio: Francis Skalicky)
There is a wide variety of turkey calls on the market today, and Colt Rowden of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World says through trial and error, hunters learn which ones work the best: (Audio: Rowden demonstrating 3 turkey calls. (box, slate and mouth)
Francis Skalicky says a turkey hunters odds of success are good, as Missouri has one of the highest populations of wild turkey in the country: (Audio: Francis Skalicky)
The firearms turkey season continues through May 11th. Hunters may shoot as early as a half hour before sunrise but must end their hunting at 1pm in the afternoon, and this year's season has a 2 turkey limit. Reporting for KSMU news, I'm Mike Smith.