Jefferson taking steps to reduce wild turkey population

2013-04-29T09:35:00Z 2013-04-29T09:39:32Z Jefferson taking steps to reduce wild turkey populationCathy Ingalls, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

JEFFERSON — The city of Jefferson is taking steps to reduce its wild turkey population without having to shoot a large number of them, said Gregg Gorthy, the city’s code enforcement officer.

There are between 50 and 60 wild turkeys living in three groups within the city limits.

The steps include asking the people who are feeding the fowl to stop and urging residents bothered by the birds to get a permit from the city so they can haze the turkeys in hopes of encouraging them to relocate outside the city limits.

In late February, the city council passed an ordinance designed in part to prevent wildlife from living inside the city limits and potentially becoming a nuisance. The ordinance gave the city the authority to obtain permits from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to have the birds shot.

The city was preparing to get the permits when resident Lori Hayhurst asked if she and others could trap and move the turkeys to another county. The whole process became too complicated, partly because of game regulations, so the city called a meeting to determine if there were other ways to deal with the turkeys that now are third and fourth generation residents, Gorthy said.

Hayhurst met Monday at city hall with Gorthy, public works director Steve Human, and Nancy Taylor and Anne Mary Myers of ODFW to hear how the state suggests the city deal with the turkeys.

“Basically it’s going to be an education process,” Gorthy said. “We’re telling people who don’t know that there is a new ordinance that doesn’t allow people to feed wildlife inside the city limits. We are explaining that turkeys congregate, stay and roost where the feed is. We are also telling them that certain types of hazing methods are allowed to get the birds to move away.”

Turkeys don’t like to be sprayed with water, have a laser pointer aimed at them, see dangling silver Mylar or encounter scarecrows or motion-activated sprinklers.

Bright lights and noise can be used to disturb roosting turkeys.

Some people have complained to the city that the birds scratch the paint on vehicles, peck the grit off of roofs and tear up shrubbery and ground cover. Some males can be aggressive toward people, especially during the mating season.

Other residents have told officials the turkeys are cute and they enjoy having them around and don’t want to see them go.

The city has gone ahead and obtained permits from ODFW that will allow a hunter to shoot three of the male turkeys, probably early Tuesday morning. Originally, a Marion County deputy was to shoot the birds but the sheriff’s office didn’t want an employee killing the turkeys so the job will fall to a trained, safe hunter, Gorthy said.

When males, especially the older ones, are taken from a flock, the birds tend to disperse, he said.

The dead birds will go to Scio for processing and the meat will be taken to some lower-income residents in Jefferson. The meat is all dark and tastes like pheasant, quail, grouse or prairie chicken, Gorthy said. “The turkeys eat like a free-range chicken.”

“If the turkeys stay in small groups that won’t be a big problem for the city,” he said. “It was never the city’s intent to remove all of the turkeys.”

The city will review the turkey population situation after the males are shot.

Scott Beckstead senior Oregon director of The Humane Society of the United States learned about the turkey situation in Jefferson and sent an email Thursday to the city offering to capture the problem birds and help create a longterm and humane solution to the turkey issue.

City Recorder Sarah Cook agreed to forward the email to the council.

The council did not take any action on the email at last Thursday’s council meeting.

Cathy Ingalls is the city government reporter. She can be reached at cathy.ingalls@lee.net or at 541-812-6094.

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. ScottBeckstead
    Report Abuse
    ScottBeckstead - April 30, 2013 7:51 am
    Yellow Rose, If you're ever interested in learning more about The HSUS and our work in Oregon and elsewhere, feel free to contact me. You can reach me at (541)530-8509 or by email at sbeckstead@humanesociety.org. Have a great day.
  2. YellowRose
    Report Abuse
    YellowRose - April 30, 2013 4:25 am
    Well Scott Beckstead, if you are a part of the Humane Society of the United States, THEN I do NOT blame them for ignoring you!!!! Like PETA, all you will do is find a way to kill the birds, and leave their carcasses to rot where they lay! AND probably film its aftermath and post it on youtube or put it in a commercial to try and further your warped agenda!

    At least by hiring a hunter to kill the males, they will insure that the meat will be used to feed low income families!

    People are on the HSUS and PETA and they way they you PRETEND to do right by the animals but really are all about money and far left activism.

    I commend the government of this Oregon town for not falling for your agenda and wish them well in whatever method they decide to go with to solve this problem!
  3. ScottBeckstead
    Report Abuse
    ScottBeckstead - April 29, 2013 8:54 pm
    What this story fails to disclose, and what I explained to the reporter, was that city planner Gregg Gorthy and city recorder Sarah Cook apparently did not forward my offer to help to the city council. Mr. Gorthy told me verbally that he would do so, and Ms. Cook told me in writing she would do so (see her correspondence below).

    I spoke this morning with a member of the Jefferson city council, who confirmed that at no time did either Mr. Gorthy or Ms. Cook make the city council aware of my email or my offer to help the city find a humane and sustainable solution to the turkey problem.

    I sent the email to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook, and I copied Anne Mary Myers from ODFW, who was adamant that the turkeys should be killed, not humanely captured and relocated. Ms. Myers was unable to provide me with a coherent or persuasive reason for her position, except that capturing the turkeys and humanely relocating them "sends the wrong message to the other turkeys."

    Here is the message in the email I sent to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook:

    Dear Mayor Picket, City Council, and Mr. Gorthy:

    On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, thank you for your willingness to engage in a thoughtful and responsible dialogue over the best way to address the wild turkey population living in the City of Jefferson. The HSUS believes that urban wildlife are best managed using a combination of citizen education, sustained hazing, and nonlethal control when necessary. The killing of urban wildlife typically divides communities and should only be undertaken as a last resort where there is an imminent and serious threat to public health and safety.

    I have conveyed to Mr. Gorthy and Anne Mary Myers at ODFW that The HSUS stands ready to assist in the capture, transport, and relocation of any wild turkeys targeted for removal. We own and operate an 1,120-acre horse sanctuary in north Douglas County that is already home to a population of wild turkeys, and we would be happy to welcome Jefferson’s problem birds onto our facility.

    If the City and ODFW agree that certain problematic birds must be removed, then we submit that every effort should be made first to capture them, not kill them. I would also be glad to use our considerable urban wildlife resources to help the City develop a program of wild turkey management that is sustainable and humane. The goals of such an approach are to create a long-term solution to the problem, treat the animals with kindness and respect, and avoid the conflict and divisiveness that inevitably arises when community leaders choose to kill wild animals within the confines of small towns like Jefferson.

    I regret that I am unable to attend the city council meeting tonight, but I ask that this letter be read onto and included in the record of tonight’s proceedings.

    As the former mayor of Waldport, I understand the challenges and opportunities that arise in running a town like Jefferson, and I thank you for your service. If there are any questions, or if I can provide further information or assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Scott Beckstead
    Senior Oregon Director
    sbeckstead@humanesociety.org
    t 541.530.8509 f 541.459.2251
    The Humane Society of the United States
    737 Tanglewood Street, Sutherlin, OR 97479 humanesociety.org


    Shortly after I sent that message, I received the following response from Ms. Cook:

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you for your input on the wild turkey subject. I will forward the letter on to our City Council via email. This matter is not on our Council agenda tonight; however, there is a very brief "visitor" section at the start of every meeting where this could possibly come up. If so, I will certainly make note of it at that time.

    As Gregg explained during your visit, we are regulated by the state through ODF&W and are following the guidelines they have prescribed for us in dealing with the wild turkey population. Any other arrangements from other individuals, groups or agencies, beyond what the City already has in process, would need to be made through ODF&W, not our office.

    Again, I appreciate your comments and will forward them along as you requested. Have a great afternoon,

    Sarah Cook
    City Recorder

    The Humane Society of the United States remains willing to assist the City of Jefferson in addressing the wild turkeys or any other urban wildlife challenges in a manner that is humane and effective.
  4. ScottBeckstead
    Report Abuse
    ScottBeckstead - April 29, 2013 8:48 pm
    What this story fails to disclose, and what I explained to the reporter, was that city planner Gregg Gorthy and city recorder Sarah Cook apparently did not forward my offer to help to the city council. Mr. Gorthy told me verbally that he would do so, and Ms. Cook told me in writing she would do so (see her correspondence below).

    I spoke this morning with a member of the Jefferson city council, who confirmed that at no time did either Mr. Gorthy or Ms. Cook make the city council aware of my email or my offer to help the city find a humane and sustainable solution to the turkey problem.

    I sent the email to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook, and I copied Anne Mary Myers from ODFW, who was adamant that the turkeys should be killed, not humanely captured and relocated. Ms. Myers was unable to provide me with a coherent or persuasive reason for her position, except that capturing the turkeys and humanely relocating them "sends the wrong message to the other turkeys."

    Here is the message in the email I sent to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook:

    Dear Mayor Picket, City Council, and Mr. Gorthy:

    On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, thank you for your willingness to engage in a thoughtful and responsible dialogue over the best way to address the wild turkey population living in the City of Jefferson. The HSUS believes that urban wildlife are best managed using a combination of citizen education, sustained hazing, and nonlethal control when necessary. The killing of urban wildlife typically divides communities and should only be undertaken as a last resort where there is an imminent and serious threat to public health and safety.

    I have conveyed to Mr. Gorthy and Anne Mary Myers at ODFW that The HSUS stands ready to assist in the capture, transport, and relocation of any wild turkeys targeted for removal. We own and operate an 1,120-acre horse sanctuary in north Douglas County that is already home to a population of wild turkeys, and we would be happy to welcome Jefferson’s problem birds onto our facility.

    If the City and ODFW agree that certain problematic birds must be removed, then we submit that every effort should be made first to capture them, not kill them. I would also be glad to use our considerable urban wildlife resources to help the City develop a program of wild turkey management that is sustainable and humane. The goals of such an approach are to create a long-term solution to the problem, treat the animals with kindness and respect, and avoid the conflict and divisiveness that inevitably arises when community leaders choose to kill wild animals within the confines of small towns like Jefferson.

    I regret that I am unable to attend the city council meeting tonight, but I ask that this letter be read onto and included in the record of tonight’s proceedings.

    As the former mayor of Waldport, I understand the challenges and opportunities that arise in running a town like Jefferson, and I thank you for your service. If there are any questions, or if I can provide further information or assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Scott Beckstead
    Senior Oregon Director
    sbeckstead@humanesociety.org
    t 541.530.8509 f 541.459.2251
    The Humane Society of the United States
    737 Tanglewood Street, Sutherlin, OR 97479
    humanesociety.org


    Shortly after I sent that message, I received the following response from Ms. Cook:

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you for your input on the wild turkey subject. I will forward the letter on to our City Council via email. This matter is not on our Council agenda tonight; however, there is a very brief "visitor" section at the start of every meeting where this could possibly come up. If so, I will certainly make note of it at that time.

    As Gregg explained during your visit, we are regulated by the state through ODF&W and are following the guidelines they have prescribed for us in dealing with the wild turkey population. Any other arrangements from other individuals, groups or agencies, beyond what the City already has in process, would need to be made through ODF&W, not our office.

    Again, I appreciate your comments and will forward them along as you requested. Have a great afternoon,

    Sarah Cook
    City Recorder

    The Humane Society of the United States remains willing to assist the City of Jefferson in addressing the wild turkeys or any other urban wildlife challenges in a manner that is humane and effective.
  5. ScottBeckstead
    Report Abuse
    ScottBeckstead - April 29, 2013 8:30 pm
    What this story does not disclose, and what I told the reporter, is that both city planner Gregg Gorthy and city recorder Sarah Cook both told me they would forward to the city council my email offering assistance, yet they apparently failed to do so. I just learned today from another city council member that at no time did Gorthy or Cook make it known to the city council that I had made the offer to help capture and relocate the turkeys.

    My email was addressed to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook, and I also copied Anne Mary Myers at ODFW, who I spoke with on Thursday, and who was adamant that the turkeys should be killed, not relocated.

    As far as I know, only this one member of the city council that I spoke to is aware that I offered to help. Here is the email I sent to Mr. Gorthy and Ms. Cook, with the request that it be forwarded to the city council:

    Dear Mayor Picket, City Council, and Mr. Gorthy:

    On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, thank you for your willingness to engage in a thoughtful and responsible dialogue over the best way to address the wild turkey population living in the City of Jefferson. The HSUS believes that urban wildlife are best managed using a combination of citizen education, sustained hazing, and nonlethal control when necessary. The killing of urban wildlife typically divides communities and should only be undertaken as a last resort where there is an imminent and serious threat to public health and safety.

    I have conveyed to Mr. Gorthy and Anne Mary Myers at ODFW that The HSUS stands ready to assist in the capture, transport, and relocation of any wild turkeys targeted for removal. We own and operate an 1,120-acre horse sanctuary in north Douglas County that is already home to a population of wild turkeys, and we would be happy to welcome Jefferson’s problem birds onto our facility.

    If the City and ODFW agree that certain problematic birds must be removed, then we submit that every effort should be made first to capture them, not kill them. I would also be glad to use our considerable urban wildlife resources to help the City develop a program of wild turkey management that is sustainable and humane. The goals of such an approach are to create a long-term solution to the problem, treat the animals with kindness and respect, and avoid the conflict and divisiveness that inevitably arises when community leaders choose to kill wild animals within the confines of small towns like Jefferson.

    I regret that I am unable to attend the city council meeting tonight, but I ask that this letter be read onto and included in the record of tonight’s proceedings.

    As the former mayor of Waldport, I understand the challenges and opportunities that arise in running a town like Jefferson, and I thank you for your service. If there are any questions, or if I can provide further information or assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Scott Beckstead
    Senior Oregon Director
    sbeckstead@humanesociety.org
    t 541.530.8509 f 541.459.2251
    The Humane Society of the United States
    737 Tanglewood Street, Sutherlin, OR 97479
    humanesociety.org


    Shortly after I sent the above correspondence, I received this email from Ms. Cook:

    Hi Scott,

    Thank you for your input on the wild turkey subject. I will forward the letter on to our City Council via email. This matter is not on our Council agenda tonight; however, there is a very brief "visitor" section at the start of every meeting where this could possibly come up. If so, I will certainly make note of it at that time.

    As Gregg explained during your visit, we are regulated by the state through ODF&W and are following the guidelines they have prescribed for us in dealing with the wild turkey population. Any other arrangements from other individuals, groups or agencies, beyond what the City already has in process, would need to be made through ODF&W, not our office.

    Again, I appreciate your comments and will forward them along as you requested. Have a great afternoon,

    Sarah Cook
    City Recorder

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

Having trouble activating? Click here for help.

where am i logo
50 Objects

Daily Primer

Follow Us!

Events Calendar

Login or register to add your events to the calendar! Add event

Poll

Loading…

Schools usually require parental consent before showing R-rated movies. Should the same consent be required for comparable literature?

View Results

Offers & Announcements



Featured Businesses

Latest Associated Press Videos

Bulletins