Free-ranging emu chases away turkey, hunter

spectr17

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Angry Emu Scares Off Turkey Hunter

April 6, 2002
 
SCRIPPS-MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE

   COTTONWOOD, Calif. -- Spring turkey hunting is hard enough -- wild turkey are smart and elusive -- without being bullied by a renegade emu with a nasty disposition.

   "I was definitely harassed, that's for sure," said Jeff Middlebrooks of Cottonwood, who was ambushed early this week by the male emu. "I had to fend him off all the way home. I put my shotgun up a couple of times."

   Middlebrooks was hunting along Cottonwood Creek when he said the emu struck. Middlebrooks said he had just called in a young male turkey, and was about to squeeze the trigger of his shotgun when he heard a noise.

   "A big, rushing, charging noise, coming right up from behind," he said. "I turned around and there was this emu making this weird hissing sound.

   "It scared me and completely scared off the turkey I was about to get -- a legal one, too."

   Middlebrooks told the story to his neighbor, Chris McDonald, who called the California Department of Fish and Game office in Redding on Wednesday to ask if he or Middlebrooks could declare open season on the emus.

   "As far as native wildlife, you have a right to defend yourself if attacked, even in the case of a protected species like a mountain lion," said Paul Wertz, a department spokesman. "We don't know if there's any rules or regulations for exotics. We told him no," people can't go out and indiscriminately kill emus.

   Emus were brought to the state in the early 1990s with the promise of quick profits for their owners. The flightless birds with nubby 6-inch wings are native to Australia, stand an average of 5 feet 6 inches tall and can weigh up to 150 pounds.

   The birds are highly adaptable to most ecosystems and a breeding pair can produce 30 to 40 eggs a year, according to a breeder's Web site.

   "Oh, great," McDonald said. "People brought them here, couldn't feed them, then cut them loose.

   "We're going to be up to our ears in emus down here."
 

Welby

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The same thing is happening here too.  Emus and ostriches used to be big business before the market for them collapsed.  At its peak, emu eggs were $1,000 apiece and a pair of adult emus might run $10,000 or more.  Now, that tide has dramatically changed.  Farmers can't even give them away - literally!  (In fact, just last week I saw an ad in a local trading magazine where a farmer was trying to do just that!)

Those who used to raise them have resorted to turning them loose and free ranging emus are not uncommon now.  Every once in a while, you hear an outrageous or funny story about some homeowner who discovered a really big bird or "turkey" living in his or her backyard.  Even a couple I attend church with discovered one in their backyard...however, they had sense enough to know what it was and what to do with it.

One look at those huge drumsticks and big breasts (ha ha - you know what I mean):rofl and my friend dashed to the house for his gun.  Upon his return, the emu dashed away at an incredible speed and my friend had no chance to take aim.

Another story, and this is probably one of the best, centers around the hunters from Tuscaloosa, AL that kept getting spooked out of the woods by something big, tall, hairy, and really smelly.  And it made a funny clicking noise too.  Their fear even prompted a town meeting (from what I heard) about the beast.  Finally, one hunter placed his fears aside and remained on his deerstand until after dark when the beast finally arrived.  The hunter mustered up the courage to shine his flashlight on the beast and discovered that the "Bigfoot" that had been spooking everyone was really just a free ranging emu.
 

PowDuck

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Seems to me it would be like the regs on freeranging hogs. No season and free for the taking. Shoot that big ol' thang! Don't think it'd fit in my game bag though. Would make a big wingbone call.
 

Tominator

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Emu comes by me when I'm hunting and he gets a free ride in the Turkey Hearse.
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Freedom

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I'm with you guys.  About the time I get assualted by a big-a$$ bird is the time I drill it!  You'd have to drag one of those things out like a deer!! haha  Can you imagine showing up at the check station with one?!  "Yep, I shot me this here 150 lbs turkey in my secret spot!  Just gave a couple a yelps and he came running right in like he was going to give me the boot!":laff-2-awe:
 

shaginator

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I can see it now on JHP -- the Emu Hunting forum.

That's gonna take one gigantic turkey fryer.
 

Bald Eagle

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A couple years ago in Adams County, Ohio two 14 yr. old boys on 4 wheelers came across a free ranging emu and both of them got pretty well beat up.  One had to get 60 stitches in his face and neck.  A sherrif's deputy went out to investigate and got run off by the bird.  Finally, a few weeks later, the guy who owns the land shot it with a 30-06 from about 100 yards.  The game warden and the sherrif came to inspect the critter and nobody but the emu got their feathers ruffled.  I don't know if anyone tried to eat it.

From the reports during that time an emu is a very formidable adversary and can usually whip a person in short order.  Evidently they run up to the front of you and hit you with both feet and start scratching ferociously.
 

shaginator

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I've been told emu and ostritch taste the same.

I've had ostrich burgers at Fuddrucker's -- which is a chain you find out in California; not sure where else they are. Ostrich (at least ground ostrich meat) is pretty good. It is lean like most game as you would expect, but unlike venison, has a flavor closer to beef.


(Edited by shaginator at 10:45 pm on April 10, 2002)
 

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