Overabundance of Turkeys in Major Wyoming Hub Causing Big Problems

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/ San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Contributor)

Residents in Buffalo, Wyoming have about had it with turkeys. An overabundance of these gobbling wild animals is bringing chaos throughout the Wyoming hub. This means well-tended gardens are destroyed by these ravenous visitors, pooped-on porches, sidewalks, and cars. Commuting times have even gotten longer as residents spend time waiting for gaggles of turkeys to cross otherwise empty intersections.

Sure, areas like Wyoming certainly see their fair share of wild animal complaints. In fact, Buffalo’s building inspector Terry Asay says he’s used to hearing complaints about busy turkeys wandering the town.

However, this bunch seems to be causing more havoc than usual. According to the planning department official, reports note as many as 40 turkeys congregate in one area at a time. This means front yards or business fronts. Of course, visitors such as these turkeys cause plenty of noise disturbance and leave a mess of droppings.

“They’re a messy animal,” Asay says of the gobblers wandering around city limits.

“There are a lot of them,” he adds noting that the number of invaders just keeps growing over time.

“And they’re gaining in numbers, you can tell,” Asay notes. “They start flocking together.”

Officials Have Little Recourse When Looking To Curb The Wild Turkey Invasion

Turkeys are classified as game animals, and it is this classification that means there is very little that city officials can do about the invasion. However, one option is that the turkeys – or game birds in general – be placed on a list of animals residents are not allowed to feed. According to Asay, some Buffalo residents like to feed the turkeys which encourages the birds to flock to certain areas.

“There are some people out there that love them,” Asay notes.

“And that’s fine,” he adds. “But they’re feeding them and they tend to flock in one area.”

“Artificial feeding of wildlife generally concentrates the animals in a small area,” officials note.

“These conditions are ripe for diseases and parasites to be readily spread from one animal to the next and throughout a whole herd,” the statement continues. “If the animals do not die on their own, Wyoming Game and Fish field personnel are often called to respond to sick animals that have to be put down anyway.”

According to Asay, he passes the turkey complaints on to officials at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This department has jurisdiction over game animals. Their most common remedy for the invasion is trapping the turkeys to relocate the wild animals.

Finding Space For Trapping The Wild Turkeys

Trapping and releasing the animals is a good option for invasions such as this one. However, there are issues with this technique, the most important of which is space to set up the bait traps.

“We need a big space where we can bait them under our nets,” a statement from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department notes. “It means putting bait out and the net’s huge, so we need an adequate space to set up.”