Smoke out? Committee chair favors relocating famous turkey
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The chair of the village’s deer and turkey management committee has spoken out in favor of relocating a wild turkey gaining national and international media attention in Ashwaubenon.
The wild turkey known as Smoke has grabbed headlines from The Washington Post and was featured during the monologue on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Trustee Mark Williams made comments about relocating the bird during the Ashwaubenon village board’s meeting Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Smoke has been reported in the area of the village Williams represents and seen chasing cars and bikes as well as running into traffic.
“If somebody hits that turkey, or does something to it, or takes it out, or whatever, they aren’t going to live it down for the rest of their lives,” Williams said. “They’re going to get so much unwanted publicity… I don’t think that they’ll stick around this area, probably, or change their name or something, probably.”
Williams asked village staff to look into the possibility of relocating the bird, but not because he doesn’t want the turkey in Ashwaubenon.
“For our sake, we don’t need any unwanted publicity,” he said.
Williams said he wants to look into the situation with the turkey going into the middle of a road.
“He’s brave,” he said.
A Facebook page dedicated to Smoke refers to the bird as the “Mayor of Ashwaubenon.”
The village president, Mary Kardoskee, said a friend of hers in the Marine Corps stationed in North Carolina has asked her about the “Mayor of Ashwaubenon.”
“Some people think he’s kind of cute, but there’s a lot of people out there that don’t realize how mean – turkeys are mean,” Kardoskee said. “They’re not a nice bird.”
In response to previous complaints in Ashwaubenon about wild turkeys damaging lawns, roosting on homes, sitting on cars and chasing children, the village board approved an ordinance amendment Feb. 27 to add turkeys along with whitetail deer as an animal that may be hunted with a bow and arrow or crossbow on village-owned property with a management permit or on private property within the village in compliance with state law.
The amended language approved by the board also includes prohibiting the placement of any salt, mineral, grain, fruit or vegetable material outdoors on public or private property for the purpose of feeding whitetail deer or turkeys.
However, the ordinance also contains exemptions from feeding for hunting, naturally grown materials, bird feeders and deer or turkey feeding authorized by the village board for a specific public purpose.
Board members had also agreed in February to spend $500 toward educational efforts to curtail feeding of deer and turkeys.