Free-roaming, large numbers of wild turkeys in New Jersey have been a persistent problem for locals for years, but little has been done to address the issue. Wild turkeys are a continuous reminder to New Jersey residents that Thanksgiving 2022 is still a long way off, even if they are still eating the Wild turkey they cooked.
According to NJ.com, residents of Holiday City are still encountering issues with wild turkeys, and Toms River wildlife officials have stated that “they can’t move them.” There is a lack of action to help residents with their problems.
New Jersey’s Role in the Evolution of Wild Turkey
According to NJ.com, in 1977, in an effort to revitalize the state’s dwindling wild turkey population, New Jersey Fish & Wildlife (NJFW) released 22 birds into the wild. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection projected that there were 23,000 wild turkeys in the state in 2006; by 2022, that number is expected to decrease to around 21,000.
New Jersey Fish & Wildlife is responsible for managing the number of wild turkeys in the state, therefore each year they decide how many hunting licenses to “harvest.” There were 2,428 wild turkeys taken by hunters in 2022, up from 2,327 in 2021.
To quote New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection bird expert Jimmy Sloan: “very versatile bird that can thrive in many different settings,” wild turkeys are widespread across all 21 counties in the state. That includes the wild turkeys that have been causing issues in Toms River.
It’s true that “wild turkeys have been running free since 2019,” but that hasn’t stopped Jimmy Sloan from personally addressing complaints of turkey-related nuisance in the neighborhoods of Deptford, Sicklerville, and Holiday City.
Ex-Mlb Star Todd Frazier Struggling with Wild Turkey in 2019
To make matters worse, “his family was attacked by a couple of them a year ago,” as NJ.com reported in 2019, former MLB player Todd Frazier was vocal about how the wild turkeys were being a nuisance on his property. He posted a picture of the flock of birds surrounding his car on Twitter (seen in the photo tweeted below).
Quote from Todd Frazier: Toms River and the wildlife of Toms River claim they are unable to be relocated. Incredibly absurd. They almost hurt my loved ones, destroyed my vehicles, wrecked my yard, and did a lot of other terrible things.
According to a tweet from Todd Frazier (h/t @FlavaFraz21), Wild turkeys, like the ones in this photo tweeted by Todd Frazier, would likely be a nuisance to most people.
Residents of New Jersey Say Wild Turkeys Are Still an Issue
No one seems to care about the wild turkey epidemic plaguing New Jersey (particularly Toms River). According to NJ.com, “the state removed some of the birds” since that 2019 issue, but “there’s still a problem at Holiday City in Toms River.”
After a wild turkey invasion in Ocean County, New Jersey in 2019, CBS New York tweeted the tweet (below). Recent issues with wild turkeys in New Jersey include: Alice Agnello, a resident of Holiday City, has had three “intimidating” close calls.
She recounts an incident in which a wild turkey snatched her purse. Panicked she hurried into the garage and shut the door. A wild turkey ran in front of her automobile, causing her to slam on the brakes, and then a few weeks later,
another wild turkey began pecking at her vehicle. Fannie Mae, a Montclair resident, claims that for the past two years, the same wild turkey has been circling her property. Last week, the bird reappeared and made itself known in her backyard;
today, it regularly defecates on her front porch. What did she say? She,” he said. To add, I believe this to be the same bird. If there are feces on the front porch, she’s back. -Fannie Mae, a local of Montclair
Further Investigation on NJFW Website Into Reporting Wild Turkeys
Because they are a managed species, wild turkeys cannot be hunted or trapped, but NJFW will “capture troublesome birds and release them back into the wild – but only if the turkey is committing major property damage, like tearing up the landscape or denting cars with their beaks.”
According to new evidence uncovered, the assertions made by locals on NJ.com appear to be real (regarding little to no action being taken if reported to NJFW). If you go to the NJFW website and click on the FAQ section, you’ll find this answer under the heading “There’s an animal in my yard and I want someone to remove it.”
Because wild animals are found wherever there is suitable habitat, we do not relocate them. After one species of animal is gone, usually, another species will move in to take its place. Feared by some, but valuable to others, many animals simply need to be left alone to thrive.
Black rat snakes, for instance, can be found just about anywhere in New Jersey, even in people’s backyards, where they feed on mice and insects and seek refuge in places like crawl spaces, around foundations, or in vegetation. They do their hardest to avoid humans, as do most animal species.
Specifically, the NJFW does not answer the question of what to deal with wild turkeys on its frequently asked questions page, but instead provides the generic response, “let it move ahead.” The only catch is that individual wild turkeys tend to stick to certain parts of their territory and frequently revisit the same spots.
When it comes to dealing with wild turkeys that wreak havoc and devastation in New Jersey communities, it is crucial that NJFW listens to and acts upon the concerns of locals. Please tell us about any bad encounters you’ve had with wild turkeys in your area below.