- BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) - Some rural Oregon residents are suffering from a different twist on a common post-Thanksgiving malady: too much turkey.
So, for the first time since the state released a flock of wild turkeys in Baker County about 14 years ago, biologists are trying to catch some of the gregarious gobblers and move them to less populated areas.
On Tuesday, wildlife managers tried to lure the turkeys with food, then used a rocket-like device to propel a net over them. On this try, the launcher malfunctioned, failing to release most of the net, making a mess and scattering birds.
"We're going to try again nest week, as soon as we can get the turkeys to trust us again," said Tim Callaway, an assistant biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Deborah Mader, who owns 180 acres in Pine Valley with her husband, David, said she rarely saw a turkey on their land five years ago.
Later there were more birds, but they stayed for just a couple of weeks during the winter, she said.
Now, the gobblers hang around most of the year, munching on her horses' hay and feeding in her grain fields. Mader says she's concerned the big birds might scare away the smaller songbirds she feeds during the winter.
"I'm looking out my window right now and I can see, oh, maybe 50 turkeys running across the field," she said.
Matt Newberry and his wife, Inga Thompson, have seen the same trends with the turkey flocks on their 120-acre property on the west side of Pine Valley.
When they moved in eight years ago there were few turkeys, Newberry said. Now there are at least 100 living on the property year round.
"They're just so thick. They're constantly in our flower and vegetable garden. They even come on the porch," he said.
And then there's the matter of the turkeys' leavings.
"Turkey crap is something to be reckoned with," Newberry says. Still, Newberry and the Maders don't want all the turkeys run off. "We really like having them around," he said. "But anything in too big a number is a problem."
Although biologists hope this fall's trappings will alleviate the problems plaguing landowners. If that doesn't work, Callaway said, the ODFW may add a fall turkey hunt.
Neither Mader nor Newberry has ever hunted wild turkeys, but both said the fall hunting season seems appropriate.
"I wouldn't mind finding out what a wild turkey tastes like," Mader said.