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Oct 22

Wild Turkeys on my Deck

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009 in North American Animal Art

After moving to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, we built a log home on a wooded acreage.  We were hoping to see wildlife such as cougar, bobcat, bear and subjects for a deer painting.  With excited anticipation we moved in to our new log home.  We had decks surrounding the front of the house with French doors leading out to the deck..

Early one morning in the late summer, we awoke to a tapping on the French door.  I sat up in bed and looked out on the deck.  There, on the deck looking in at us was a young wild turkey.  We were delighted at this charming wake up.  This was just what I was hoping to experience when we chose to live in the wilderness.

Soon this young turkey was visiting us every morning, sometimes, a bit earlier than we would have wanted.  We began to think of him as “our” turkey.  He got used to us very quickly and we began to look forward to seeing him every morning.

I figured this turkey would like some cracked corn.  I raced off to the feed store and came home with a 25 lb bag of cracked corn.  I put it out in the drive way on the gravel for “our” turkey.  He loved it and was soon smacking his turkey lips in anticipation of our morning treat.

We thought we were so lucky that this lonely turkey had found us in the wilderness.  We thought it would be really fun to raise wild turkeys and release them on our property.

We called the Department Of Fish and Game and asked what species of wild turkey would be best for our area of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  He asked, “You want to do what”?  We were puzzled that he did not share our turkey enthusiasm.

Soon, our turkey invited his wild turkey friends to the ongoing party that was our driveway.  We began to awake to the sounds of raucous turkeys demanding their cracked corn.  They actually banged on the window.  No more gentle tapping.  These turkeys did not want to wait at all for their breakfast.

Each day we began to see more and more turkeys.  Apparently “our turkey” was the “decoy” turkey, meant to soften us up.  It was a brilliant plan and soon I was under the control of twenty five turkeys.

The turkeys were not content to wake us up at 5:00 AM.  They were soon banging on my art studio door and then, balancing on my deck railing, six abreast.  We were the most popular turkey buffet in the neighborhood.  The turkeys especially loved dessert, all the sunflower seeds in my bird feeders.

We soon altered our turkey raising dream and began to think of ways to rid ourselves of these blasted turkeys.

One day after a snowfall, I glanced out my art studio window at the large flock of turkeys in my driveway.  Even though, I had stopped feeding them months earlier, they were still scratching at the remaining crumbs from the summer.

I saw some movement above the turkeys in the woods.  Two coyotes were stalking the turkeys!  Oh Joy!  I cheered for the coyotes!  They dashed down the hill into the flock of turkeys, scattering them.  The turkeys flew up to the trees and looked down at the hungry coyotes on the ground.  The coyotes slunk back to the trees and waited.  Then after a couple minuets, the coyotes charged down the hill into the flock of turkeys.  Again the turkeys flew up to the trees while the frustrated coyotes trotted back to the woods, resigned to defeat.

I was most disappointed that the turkey’s natural predator, the coyote could not eliminate my turkey invasion. I was too squeamish to shoot the turkeys so I needed another plan to rid us of the turkeys.

I called the Department of Fish and game and asked for advice.  They said that they would be happy to trap the turkeys and relocate them to the Sandpoint area where there was a rancher who loved turkeys and was eagerly waiting for these turkeys to come and live on his property.  All I could say was thank you, thank you, thank you!

Soon the turkeys were herded into a pen and boxed and sent to the happy turkey loving rancher.