Keep Me Wild: Wild Turkey

Feeding Wild Turkeys Will Bring Problems Home to Roost

California’s wild turkeys now occupy about 18 percent of our state, and are a highly valued upland game bird. Many Californians also enjoy watching them.

Some homeowners can’t resist feeding them. That’s when trouble begins. A few stray visitors soon become a flock of permanent residents that have lost their natural fear of humans.

Adult wild turkeys, which can weigh upwards of 20 pounds, can destroy flowers and vegetable gardens, leave their droppings on patios and decks, and roost on cars, scratching the paint.

Turkeys can become aggressive during the breeding season, occasionally even charging, threatening, and acting aggressively toward people.

Prevent problems by discouraging wild turkeys from becoming too comfortable on your property.

  • If turkeys begin feeding under hanging bird feeders, remove the feeders until the turkeys leave the area.
  • If turkeys are causing problems in your yard, install motion-detecting sprinklers.
  • Wild turkeys typically will not enter yards with dogs.
  • If confronted by a wild turkey that has lost its fear of humans, an open umbrella may help steer it out of your path.
  • Depredation permits are required to kill wild turkeys that are causing property damage. To get a depredation permit, contact a Regional CDFW office.

Controlling Wild Turkey Populations

California’s wild turkey populations are healthy and growing. Hunting turkeys helps to control their populations and maintain their natural wariness of people. Where safe and legal, hunt wild turkeys on your property, or allow others to hunt them.

  • A hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required.
  • Legal methods of take include shotgun, archery equipment, or air rifle.
  • Seasons and other hunting regulations are available from CDFW offices and online.

Homeowners experiencing property damage from wild turkeys may obtain a depredation permit from their Regional CDFW office.

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