DWR Relocates Over 500 Wild Turkey From Cache County
CACHE COUNTY, Utah – Wild turkeys coming down into the foothills are a nuisance to homeowners in some areas as they leave waste and sometimes destroy property. The Division of Wildlife Resources is working to better manage those populations.
Division of Wildlife Resources Technician Nick Madsen and Depredation Specialist Randall McBride worked to box up and relocate the birds to areas where they’ll likely cause less trouble. They gathered up about a dozen wild turkey from two traps Tuesday.
“They’ve become a nuisance during the winter,” McBride said. “They get together in big flocks, and then people tend to not like defecating on their lawns, or destroying their landscape.”
The stop at a ranch in Avon was just one of about a half-dozen workers with the DWR like Madsen and McBride stop at regularly during the winter months.
“They come down into areas where there’s a lot of food available,” McBride said. “We’re just trying to get birds that are already a nuisance away from people, so that they don’t cause a nuisance for somebody else.”
Most of the turkeys are moved to the Brook Cliffs area, near Vernal, where McBride says there is already a large flock and not many people.
In areas, like Mendon, where at times hundreds of the birds come into the town, the DWR faces a much bigger challenge.
As an added tool, McBride says some turkeys in the area have been saddled with GPS backpacks, so that biologists can better track their behaviors, and hopefully figure out how to keep them from going into town in the future.
“We’re just trying to better understand the turkeys in general,” McBride said. “Especially in this area, so we can better manage them, so hopefully they’ll become less of a problem.”
A couple of years ago, with the DWR’s help, the City of Mendon set aside some grazing land for the turkeys just above town.
That hasn’t stopped many of them from looking for easy pickings down below.
“Food availability is really what’s bringing them in,” McBride said.
He said that homeowners need to do their part by not leaving any food sources, like cat food, out for the birds.
McBride also said that GPS backpacks will also soon be implemented in the Clarkston area, where turkey populations are also moving into town by the dozens.
Already, the DWR has relocated more than 500 wild turkeys from the Cache Valley to other areas, this winter alone.
The difficult part, McBride says, is keeping up.
“The only thing that takes time is we have multiple locations,” McBride said. “We have to drive them to those locations, and pull them from multiple different traps, and we only have so much manpower.”
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