MENDON, Utah (News4Utah) - Wild turkeys are causing headaches in communities throughout the state as population numbers take flight. The birds were reintroduced into Utah in the 1980s, and this year, the Division of Wildlife Resources already relocated about 180 wild turkeys from Cache Valley to the Book Cliffs in eastern Utah.
"They can tear up landscaping and gardens and some people just don't like them hanging out in their trees or whatever, so we will come in and trap and remove them or we can offer people tags to remove them themselves," Randall McBride of the Division of Wildlife Resources said.
Many consider the turkeys part of nature, while others consider the birds a nuisance. In the winter months, the birds travel in groups then travel separately in the summer while brooding. DWR has been relocating the birds for the last five years, and say they've received plenty of calls this year for relocation assistance.
"Out of Cache County last year, for a three-month period we removed probably about 150 birds, and this year we've already removed 150 in a one month," said McBride.
DWR is working with cities as well as private citizens to set traps and the citizens of Mendon don't doubt the increase of the bird population.
"They are hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of them," Roger Conrad of Mendon said.
Roger Conrad says the turkeys are the talk of the town. He says trapping will only solve part of the problem, but there's no way to get rid of the birds because they have their young in town and come back every year. Conrad says the birds know they can get food in town and fears they will always come back. He also says the turkeys are not the cleanest neighbors either.
"It's all over the driveway, on the sidewalk, just piles of poop. If you like walking in poop it's a good deal," said Conrad.
Conrad said the turkeys also ate the new grass he planted and made his backyard a muddy mess. He says the town's options are limited, and trapping can help but won't completely solve the problem.
"You can't shoot them, you can't discharge a firearm in town, so you have to live with them," Conrad said.
If your property has an abundance of wild turkeys and you would like to be part of the turkey relocation program, contact the Division of Wildlife Resources: https://wildlife.utah.gov/turkeys.
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