CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Lee Van Nice is going turkey hunting, Corvallis style.
“See it’s walking away,” said Van Nice as he aims his Super Soaker water gun at a turkey about 20 yards away. “It knows what’s going to happen.”
With one swift thrust Van Nice sends a stream of water raining down on the bird and watches as it manages to waddle just out of reach.
Van Nice says his yard is being destroyed by aggressive wild turkeys that ruin his gardens and leave droppings all over his grass. He said he’s stuffed to the brim with frustration.
“We’ve had 23 in the yard at once,” said Van Nice. “That’s a major flock. Sometimes they fight until the death. We’ve had dead turkeys due to the turkey wars in our yard.”
Now the Corvallis City Council is taking aim at the city’s several hundred wild turkeys. On Monday the council passed an action that allowed police officers to shoot and kill up to 10 turkeys within city limits.
The city will first have to apply for a permit from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) before they can kill the birds.
ODFW officials said that killing the birds is more effective than trapping and relocating them. ODFW District Manager Steve Marx said they think if you kill some birds it will discourage others from sticking around.
Some neighbors like Dolly Harvey said City Council took the appropriate action.
“There are too many turkeys” said Harvey. “I think it was the right thing to do because they’re causing problems in the neighborhood.”
Harvey said the birds get in the road and neighbors like Nathan Solcum agree that the birds can then pose a hazard.
“People come in and out of dark narrow roads and the birds will get right in front of you,” said Solcum. “There’s just too many of them. Maybe the bobcats will get a few more of them too.”
Opponents of killing the turkeys said wildlife can be expected when you live in a wooded area such as Corvallis.
“Of course they’re part of living here,” said Jean Phipps. “And sure they’re ugly, or so my husband said, but I just enjoy watching them when they walk by you. They don’t bother me and I just don’t want them to be killed.”
The permit from ODFW specifically requires that any birds that are shot be dressed and donated to needy families.