CLEAR LAKE — Please don’t feed the wild turkeys in Clear Lake, advises the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
A roving band of wild turkeys — some say there are up to 11 birds — is becoming a problem in Clear Lake.
The turkeys have been sighted in various locations around town, particularly around Sunset School at 408 Mars Hill Drive, Highway 18 and Main Avenue.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Greg Hanson said the sightings are unusual for Clear Lake but not for other North Iowa communities with forest cover.
Hanson said that saying there are 11 turkeys on the loose is speculation on his part.
“I am not absolutely certain (there are 11) because I haven’t seen them myself,” he said. “Every time I go over there I haven’t been able to find them.”
Hanson likened the turkeys to the geese and ducks at East Park in Mason City.
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“They get used to people giving them handouts and stuff. Unfortunately the toms in the springtime get kind of aggressive,” Hanson said.
“They’ll at least threaten people. They may try and run somebody off while trying to protect their little flock of hens from someone trying to steal them.”
Hanson said turkeys should not be allowed to get used to humans.
Residents should get rid of all food sources on their property and not feed the turkeys.
He advised residents who find the turkeys on their property to “harass them” by making a lot of noise and chasing them away. The turkeys will see the human as a threat of some kind.
“Running them off is probably the best way to do that.”
The males can get 18 to 25 pounds. The hens are quite a bit smaller, probably eight to 10 pounds.