MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Turkey hunting season starts Wednesday in Minnesota, but the risks may be a little higher than usual this year.

So far, 13 turkey farms across the state have reported outbreaks of bird flu in their flocks, and nearly 1 million turkeys were killed in order to prevent the virus from spreading.

While DNR officials acknowledge that the virus hasn’t yet been discovered in wild turkeys, they’re still presuming that wild flocks are susceptible to the illness. The Minnesota Department of Health says there is little risk to the public, but the DNR hopes hunters can help find wild birds that may be infected.

Officials are advising hunters not to touch or handle any wild turkeys or other birds with ruffled feathers, swollen wattles, discolored feet or problems walking, and to contact DNR staff immediately.

More safety tips are available on the DNR website.

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