Thursday, August 13, 2009

And Why Are They A Nuisance?

From Today's Newsday:
"LI launches first-ever wild turkey hunting season
August 12, 2009 By PATRICK WHITTLE

The resurgence of wild turkey in Suffolk County could land the big birds in, for them, a most foul location: the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Standing between the gobblers and the oven will be the marksmanship of Long Island hunters.

This fall, Long Island will have its first-ever wild turkey hunting season. The season - the five days leading up to Thanksgiving - will limit hunters to taking one bird apiece at several Suffolk locations with either a bow and arrow or shotgun, state regulators said.

State officials, who announced the special hunting season Tuesday, said the hunt was necessitated by the remarkable repopulation of wild turkeys on Long Island.

Wild turkeys vanished from the Island in the 19th century but were reintroduced in the 1990s when state Department of Environmental Conservation workers trapped 75 birds upstate and released them in three locations in Suffolk County, DEC officials said. Due to a lack of predators and an abundance of suitable habitat, the birds thrived, and officials say now there are about 3,000 turkeys in Suffolk.

The chance to shoot turkeys suits Mark Wroobel, a lifelong hunter and owner of Suffolk County Trap and Skeet in Yaphank, just fine.

"Any time you can add seasons for people, especially close to home, I think it's a great idea," said Wroobel, adding that previously hunters had to go upstate to shoot turkey.

Others say they will wait to see how the hunt plays out. The season could help control the turkey population, said Roy Gross, president of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who cautioned the animals still deserve to be hunted humanely.

"When you have too many animals, you have to control them," Gross said.

State laws do not allow for turkey hunting in Nassau, and the birds are not heavily concentrated there, said DEC spokeswoman Aphrodite Montalvo. The DEC made the decision to legalize turkey hunting in Suffolk after finding "there was a large enough number of turkeys" to sustain a hunt, she said. In some places, the birds have become a nuisance, officials said.

DEC officials plan a series of sportsman education programs in Suffolk this fall and ask that any hunters interested in shooting turkey attend."

So if in the 1990's they were able to capture 75 live ones upstate to dump off in Suffolk, why not come on down and capture 1500 and bring 'em back up there. Now there's an art/sport...capturing turkeys alive! No bows, no arrows, no blood. And then the "nuisance" factor has been pruned a bit.

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