The Bear and the Turkeys… Not a Love Story….
Last Saturday morning I noticed that the turkeys were somehow miraculously out of their pen and huddled around the outside of the hen-house. ”Uh oh, his is not good” I thought to myself as I ran for the door screaming “come on, the turkeys are out” in the general direction of my half awake wife. We sprinted down the hill toward the tightly packed flock of turkeys to discover that their pen had been ripped apart and two of the twelve turkeys were missing.
Only a bear could have inflicted the level of destruction and mayhem that we found.
Our turkey pen is a ten by ten foot by six-foot high covered heavy steel structure. On the outside there is (was) a three-foot high covering of fine mesh rabbit wire to keep skunks and raccoons out. Surrounding that is (was) a six-foot high heavy shade cloth to block the wind and direct sun. All of the rabbit wire and shade cloth are now shredded and on the ground. The heavy steel latching system that held the gate closed was twisted outward ninety degrees and the gate was wide open. Domestic turkeys are not known for their intelligence. These birds casually walked back to their pen and strolled inside like nothing had happened.
I grabbed a heavy caliber rifle and set out in search of Mr. or Mrs. Bear. I followed our western fence line and saw where the bear had tried unsuccessfully to pull the two thirty-five pound turkeys through the four-inch holes in the wire fence and finally carried them over the fence. I tracked a trail of blood and feathers down the side of the ridge and through the buck brush and oak trees to a small clearing where the bear consumed his ill-gotten booty. All that was left were feathers, a few bone fragments and about a five-pound mound of what bears are reputed to do in the woods.
After waiting up for several nights for the bear to return for round two, i called the department of Fish and Game and was issued a depredation permit. The next night my friend and I sat up on a hill about sixty yards away and waited all night with rifle and shotgun in hand. The turkey thief never came. At this point we have hung cow bells all over the compound and have a baby monitor outside in hopes that if it returns for a second helping of turkey we’ll hear it and can inspire Mr. or Mrs. Bear to take a dirt nap.
I’ll let you know if/when it comes back and what the outcome (if any) is.