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December 04. 2013 10:27PM

Vehicles go off-road to run over turkeys in Raymond, Kingston

RAYMOND — Two recent cases of wild turkeys intentionally being run over by vehicles have ruffled some feathers.

"Unfortunately, it's more common than we'd like to see," Fish and Game Conservation Officer Chris McKee said.

McKee is investigating separate incidents in Kingston and Raymond that left four wild turkeys dead.

Two people were recently charged in connection with allegedly mowing down three wild turkeys with a vehicle on Hunt Road in Kingston. McKee said the vehicle was driven off the road to strike the turkeys.

In mid-November, a neighbor told authorities that he saw a man in a sport-utility vehicle drive onto a private field on Harriman Hill Road in Raymond and attempt to run down a turkey flock.

"He tried to chase it down, but was unable to catch up to it," McKee said.

One of the turkeys was struck and killed near an area along Harriman Hill Road where a school bus drops off students. McKee said the man who witnessed the incident picked up the dead turkey so the children wouldn't be startled when they arrived at the bus stop.

The turkey killing has angered Harry and Sally Richard, who own the property where the turkeys were chased.

"It's very frustrating. I love the turkeys. They're like pets to me," Sally Richard said of the flock of nearly 50 turkeys that often hangs out around their property.

Intentionally killing wildlife with a vehicle can result in a charge of "unlawful method of take," McKee said. The charge is a violation-level offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. A person could also be charged with reckless operation, he said.

Last year, Ian Gamble of Francestown was issued two violations for taking a turkey with a motor vehicle and for hunting without a license after he allegedly raced through a flock of turkeys along a road in Greenfield. One of the turkeys was killed in the incident, which was captured on video.

McKee said he sees incidents like these about once or twice a year.

"Apparently they're just getting their kicks out there," he said.

Harry Richard doesn't think it's funny. He said the tire marks from the turkey chase are still visible in his field.

"I'd like to see them caught and punished," he said.

According to Fish and Game Department statistics, there are 40,000 wild turkeys in the state.

From 1854 to 1975, wild turkeys were extinct, but a flock of 25 turkeys released in 1975 restored the population. In 2012, hunters took 3,873 wild turkeys.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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