Hundreds of wild turkeys menace Utah city of Mendon

By: 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MENDON, Utah (AP) — Turkeys are a cherished symbol during the holidays, but in the northern Utah city of Mendon, they’re just a pest.

Residents report finding dozens of the birds in their yards, damaging grass and dropping waste, The Herald Journal in Logan reported .

The turkeys end up causing property damage, Mendon Mayor Ed Buist said, but there’s not much he can do to protect his residents. Only the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources can trap the hundreds of wild turkeys or issue hunting permits to thin their numbers. The problem is much bigger than Mendon, said Phil Douglas, Division of Wildlife Resources’ conservation outreach manager for the northern region. Wild turkeys can be found throughout Cache County and beyond.

“We have turkey depredation issues really all throughout the state,” Douglas said.

There are three basic approaches to handling wild turkeys, Douglas said. The first approach is to prevent conflicts between humans and wildlife by keeping them out of urban areas. The Division of Wildlife Resources has planted oats on the west side of Mendon to feed the turkeys and prevent them from heading into town to look for food. Douglas said that has worked in the past.

Another option is trapping, of which there are two main types. A walk-in trap can handle 15 to 20 at a time, while a drop-net trap can round up 50 birds. Division of Wildlife Resources crews are getting ready to start trapping, Douglas said. The cold weather and snow helps concentrate the birds in certain areas, making them easy to trap in groups.

The third option is issuing fall hunting licenses. The Division of Wildlife Resources is “fairly liberal” in issuing fall hunting permits to property owners in agricultural areas where appropriate, Douglas said.

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