Horse sanctuary to city: We'll take your wild turkeys

OAKLAND, Ore. - State wildlife officials gave the city of Jefferson, Ore., the green light to kill three wild turkeys in town. An ODFW spokesperson says a public works employee, who is a bowhunter and rifle hunter, will be harvesting the turkeys.

Scott Beckstead from the Humane Society of the United States would prefer the city allow his organization to trap and transport the birds to a horse sanctuary in Oakland, Ore.

"Targeting three turkeys out of a larger population for killing is not going to solving the problem," Beckstead said.

The Duchess Sanctuary - the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest - has plenty of room for the turkeys to live among the horses, he said.

"We have 1,120 acres of paradise, and we already have wild turkeys that live here full time on the property," Beckstead said.

The Oregon Department of Wildlife said the agency issued the city of Jefferson three kill permits. With an estimated wild turkey population of nearly 50, however, community education will be need to help teach Jefferson's 3,000 residents how to live with the turkeys.

Beckstead agrees with that tactic.

"The right approach to dealing with any urban wildlife issue is to use non-lethal methods that will serve the goal in the long term," he said. "I wanted the City of Jefferson and ODFW to understand that there are options besides killing these birds."

The sanctuary has offered to trap and transport the turkeys on their own dime, but they haven't heard back from the city of Jefferson yet.