How's your turkey season going so far? What I am hearing from a lot of hunters is that they are not seeing the amount of birds they usually do. Some have blamed winter, although it was not that bad this year. Some blame the early mating season, due in part because of the lack of winter. Some blame the wet and cold spring of 2011 for killing off the hatch. There is another potential problem in the mix, a new disease in wild turkeys. The DEC needs your help in identifying whether an emerging disease called Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus (LPDV) is present in New York State's wild turkeys. Skin lesions sometimes caused by LPDV resemble those caused by avian pox, another viral disease that has frequently been recorded in wild turkeys in New York. Because of the similarity in lesions, there are concerns that the presence of LPDV may be overlooked or dismissed as avian pox. The DEC's Wildlife Health Unit would like to obtain samples of birds you harvest or encounter with these lesions. For instructions on how to provide a sample, please contact your regional DEC office or e-mail us at email@example.com. TheDEC advises against eating any wild animals that appear sick. You can read more about LPDV in turkeys in the January issue of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Briefs (www.vet.uga.edu/scwds/briefs/January-2012-Briefs.pdf) and more about avian pox in the National Wild Turkey Federation article, Avian Pox: a Disease that Can Affect Any Bird (www.nwtf.org/conservation/bulletins/bulletin_24.pdf).