Mystery Of Missing Turkey Continues - Brevard, NC


November 9, 2017

Shrouded in mystery, the disappearance of a dissident turkey that deserted its flock to strut among moving vehicles on U.S. 64 has people wondering, “What happened to the turkey?”

Some have speculated that the turkey moved on from the car-chasing game and found a farm to freely flap, while fear of foul play leaves others fretting.

“I don’t know what happened to that turkey,” said Justin McVey, district wildlife biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission. “I’ve been hearing about that turkey since April.”

McVey said a man called him weeks ago and asked if he could come and try to trap the turkey, saying he thought he could get hold of it.

“But I couldn’t legally let him do that,” McVey said. “So I told him, ‘No.’”

McVey, in a previous interview, said the reason the turkey was in traffic on U.S. 64 was because someone was feeding it, and that every time he had gone to investigate, the turkey was not there.

“I actually went out last week and got the trap set up, but I was talking to some local folks who said they haven’t seen the turkey in awhile,” McVey said in a more recent interview.

He had cameras set up, and a trap.

“It’s a drop net, so basically it’s a net that you manually release and it drops down on the turkey,” McVey explained. “It’s pretty effective, and it’s how we trap ducks, so it’s just about sitting and waiting on the turkey to show up. Then, you let go of a rope and the net drops down.”

If the turkey were in the area, McVey said, it would have come for the bait McVey left out, which included corn.

“Honestly, who knows where it is,” McVey said. “The bird was surprisingly mobile for having an injured leg.”

McVey said he doesn’t know how the turkey got injured, but when he first came out to try to catch it, it held one leg in the air when it landed as if it were hurt.

“I’m going to say it either got eaten by a coyote, hit by a car or some concerned citizen relocated it,” McVey said.

Both the Brevard Police Department and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department had no information on the turkey’s whereabouts.

“The National Wild Turkey Federation was supposed to send someone here to trap and relocate it, but that hasn’t been done yet as far as I know,” said Eddie Gunter, chief deputy for the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is an organization located in Edgefield, S.C., that works to conserve and manage the turkey population and habitat.

Pete Muller, the NWTF public relations manager, said they have not responded to any loose turkeys in Transylvania County.

“But I will say, with the abundance of turkeys in a lot of places, situations in which turkeys terrorize neighborhoods, because they are out and about, aren’t uncommon,” Muller said. “People think of them as a farm animal almost, and don’t treat them with the respect they would give other wild game like a deer or a bear.”

One concerned citizen who did not want to be identified, said that when the turkey was there and she would be driving on U.S. 64 she would stop to visit the turkey, and that it liked the company.

“He would hang out and walk right up to the car, and sometimes I could tell he wouldn’t want you to leave and would hang on, or follow you back to your car,” she said.

The few times she was in the area, she said she saw a bowl of water and food out for the turkey, and she said the last time she was there, the bowls were gone.

She said her and others named the turkey “Tom.”

“That’s because it’s a male turkey, called a ‘tom,’” she said.

Others insist the turkey is named “Fred.”

All agree, they want the turkey safe.

“I want him to be OK,” she said. “You could tell he just wanted to hang out. I hope he’s safe.”


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