Today I meandered over to a gathering at the home of some friends who live in the woods outside of town. I had been to their house before, but this time was different. Instead of my friends meeting me once I got out of my car, I was met by some wild turkeys. Two toms and a hen walked up to my driver’s door before I could get out. The toms were both displaying in an aggressive manner and the hen pecked the ground a few feet away.
It unnerved me that the turkeys knew which car door I would exit. “This can’t be good,” I thought. After futilely waiting a few minutes for them to budge, I decided on an alternate exit strategy. I clambered over the stick shift console and went out the passenger door.
The turkeys immediately spotted me and followed. I walked faster. They walked faster. Soon I was running for my life to the house door. Just in time, my friend opened the door. She deterred the turkeys with a big stick and ushered me quickly into the house. I swear the turkeys would have followed me right inside, had it not been for that stick.
She apologized for the turkeys, saying they “just showed up” about a month ago. Although the turkeys live in the woods, they are obviously imprinted on people for food.
Despite trying several methods, the only way my friends have found to deal with them is to carry sticks whenever they go out. My friends say the turkeys also stand at their sliding glass doors and watch them while they watch television. Creepy!
As others arrived for the gathering, our main source of entertainment was watching their various reactions to the attack turkeys. Most people got off easier than I did because my friends made it out there sooner with their sticks.
Once I eventually left, the turkeys chased my car the whole way down the long driveway, as if getting back at me for my earlier escape. They kept at it until I was able to leave them in a cloud of dust on the main road.
Wild turkeys have been in the news lately because they are becoming more common in northern Minnesota. People are wondering if the department of natural resources (DNR) has stocked them or something. Nope, says the department.
In my travels between the southern and northern parts of Minnesota over the years, I have noticed turkeys along the highway. Every year, they are farther north. (Opossums are coming, too. Yuk!) I guess it was just a matter of time before they reached my friends’ yard.
The DNR calls the turkeys’ range expansion “one of Minnesota’s greatest conservation success stories.” Last year, the DNR expanded the turkey hunt to include all of northeastern Minnesota. The spring season is open from now until May 31.
Turkey hunters, if you are having trouble finding your prey, I know where a couple are. Just ask. 🙂