Ca. town tussles with wild turkey trouble

bzzboyz

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Town tussles with wild turkey trouble
Panel to decide on action for bird problem in Contra Costa's Blackhawk


By Tamara Grippi
STAFF WRITER


Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - Contra Costa County's Fish and Wildlife Commitee has come up with a host of strategies to help the Blackhawk community contend with its ever-expanding wild turkey population.

Top on the list is getting the word out to well-meaning residents to stop their habit of feeding the gobblers, a sure way of enabling the birds to multiply rapidly.

The committee also is ready with a series of strategies designed to discourage the birds from roosting in the back yards of residents, including the use of motion-detecting sprinklers and placing lights in the tops of trees.

A few months ago, the Blackhawk Homeowners Association wrote letters to several elected officials asking for help with their uninvited guests. In May, the county supervisors referred the matter to the fish and wildlife committee.

The turkeys, who may cause trouble in the residents' yards, are more popular on the golf course, where members have taken a liking to seeing the feathered companions on the links.

Today, the board will review the recommendations from the committee, including the authorization to print 5,000 copies of a brochure on living with wildlife in Contra Costa.

Members of the fish and wildlife committee are torn on two more controversial strategies: relocation and the issuance of depredation permits allowing residents to kill the turkeys.

The county has received two offers from people willing to adopt the turkey flock. The National Wild Turkey Foundation is willing to relocate some of Blackhawk's wild turkeys to a wildlife area where they can be hunted.

In addition, former county Supervisor Tom Powers has offered to bring the birds to his ranch in Martinez, where they would live undisturbed.

But the state Department of Fish and Game does not currently support the relocation of wild turkeys.

Associate wildlife biologist John Krause said relocation efforts are costly, especially considering the constraints of the state budget. In addition, he said, moving the birds to another area is not a permanent solution.

"When you take birds out of one area, you basically create a vacuum that will be filled another year," he said.

Blackhawk resident Howard Adler is disappointed to learn of the state's position on relocation. In 1999, the Blackhawk Homeowners Association was able to take advantage of the Wild Turkey Federation's free turkey-moving service.

Adler was also surprised to hear that residents had been feeding the birds.


But Susan Heckly, who serves on the county's Fish and Wildlife Committee, said the group has received reports of extensive feeding.


Heckly, who is the wildlife rehabilitation director at the Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum in Walnut Creek, is one of the committee members who sees the killing of the turkeys as a last resort.

The birds, originally introduced to California decades ago, can be legally hunted twice a year, though suburban hunting is not allowed. The state's Fish and Game Code prohibits firearms from being discharged within 150 yards of a residence.

However, a state Senate bill, authored by Sen. Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, would allow any resident whose property has been damaged or destroyed by wild turkeys to apply to the Department of Fish and Game for a permit to kill the birds.

State law allows for such depredation permits for elk, bear, beaver, wild pig or gray squirrels.

Chesbro's bill has been approved by the state Senate and is on the Assembly floor. If the bill is signed into law, residents would have the ability to trap and then euthanize the birds.
 

IBAfoo

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I would be glad to take care of their problem for free.....

 

Backcountry

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FYI, the average home price in Blackhawk is a couple million dollars. A very, VERY select community... this is going to have the trophy-wife / soccer-mom club's panties all twisted.

"Trap & euthanize"? What idiocy! What ever happened to "shoot & eat"? I ain't eating no bird that's been euthanized with anything but a broadhead or a shotgun blast.

Backcountry
 

EL CAZADOR

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I was at a party a month ago at a home (can you really call those places homes? more like train stations if you ask me) in Blackhack. Didn't see any turkeys but I did have a nice view of Brent Jones' place!

Hmm, depredation hunt? 22LR subsonics??
 

KevinZ

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This area is about 3 miles from me and there are turkeys everywhere. I took my daughter nearby up there in the early spring to practice my calling (I am sure that freaks out the Blackhawk folks).

Seem like a fellow with a bow could do alright out there.
 

scr83jp

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A better solution is to declare the area a wildlife preserve and remove the people then they won't be distubed by turkeys. LOL:>)
 

pappy

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guys not that i condone it, but, it is legal in California to shoot turkeys with any pellet rifle .20 caliber or larger....head shot, dead bird....Pappy
 

Hot barrel

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This is the same community that had a real wild pig problem at one time. they were rooting up all of the nice expensive gardens. I know if I lived there, I would most likely buy a bow
 

jdhowe75

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MMMMMMM...Trophy Wife / Soccer mom. Big money for surgery.

Sorry, just day dreaming!

I like the Bow shooting idea myself.
 

Tree Doc

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Why not trap and relocate? DFG and many other states have been planting turkeys all over the country. How the hell do they think Osceola's and Easterns, etc have cross-bred. Most of the colonies in California were planted at one time from out of state. Why not take them into areas that are good and make them better hunting areas?

Sort of reminds me of an issue that cropped up down in So Cal years ago, Mission Viejo to be exact, back in it's infancy. Seems the coots where crappin' on everyones yards and on the golf greens in this little golf course/small lakeside community. The community fathers took the bull by the horns and demanded control and got authorization from DFG. They overlooked one small thing...they didn't tell the neighborhood "how" they were going to control and the people were awakened one morning by the sounds of 12 gauges blasting coots. There were dead coots everywhere while yuppy women and children watched in horror as they ate their Fruit Loops in their sunrooms at 7 a.m.!! It was frikkin' hilarious!!!
 

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