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Turkey trouble

Wild turkey education needed in the village

By Annette Aubinger

ASHWAUBENON – The village park and recreation department along with the deer management committee has received calls from concerned residents and the increased turkey population.

Calls have come from around the village.

Population of turkeys have been seen in the Sherwood Forest area, around Pioneer School, Waterford Park, Hidden Valley Park, on east Marhill, Packerland and North Road, the corner of Morris and Hilltop and Park Place.

“The concern is that turkeys are following kids and residents are worried about the kids’ safety,” said Rex Mehlberg, director of parks, recreation and forestry.

Mehlberg said residents don’t want turkeys to hang around.

Turkeys damage lawns. They roost on homes, sit on cars and chase kids.

“While turkeys are certainly interesting to watch and look at, you don’t want them hanging around your yard or your neighbor’s yard. Turkeys can damage property depending on the time of year. They can be aggressive and it is best to keep them moving along,” said Mehlberg.

During mating season (February through May) Mehlberg said they may act aggressive.

People are throwing bags of corn to the turkeys and it is illegal.

Mehlberg recommended these points:

• Don’t feed the turkeys. They stick around if you feed them. Avoid leaving spilled bird seed on the ground and unsecured garbage.

• Act fearful around turkeys and they will run away. Establish dominance and make noise. Yell, wave your arms, throw tennis balls at them. Turkeys are timid and scare easily.

• During mating season turkeys react to reflective surfaces. Scare the turkey away or cover the reflective surface.

• If the turkeys roost, use bid wire to encourage them to move.

• Avoid netting. It can entrap turkeys.

• Watch for turkeys on the road. They travel in groups, but there may be a straggler.

Mark Williams, head of the deer management committee said he has also received numerous complaints.

It was suggested that the deer management committee look at ways to curtail feeding of turkeys.

“The deer committee is looking at ways to educated the public on how to treat the turkeys and not feed them,” said Williams. “Act 71 allows bow hunting for deer within the municipal boundaries. We would also like to apply this to turkeys during turkey hunting season,” said Williams.

Williams said in an effort to reduce damage, education is important and the deer management committee is requesting $500 from the village to put notices out educating residents how to treat turkeys and not to feed them.

He said the village board is considering an ordinance at its next meeting to allow for bow hunting of turkeys during turkey season similar to what is allowed for bow hunting of deer.

Williams said the deer committee is requesting $500 approval from the finance committee for education.

The approval or disapproval of the request moves on to the village board.

The finance committee approved the request.

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