The Thanksgiving Day meal is not the only place you can find turkeys in New Jersey. Plenty of wild turkeys are roaming every county in the state.
On the brink of extinction in the 1970s, wild turkeys have made a dramatic comeback in the Garden State since the Department of Environmental Protection began a restoration program.
From woodlands to the suburbs, an estimated 25,000 of the big birds thrive throughout the state.Wild turkeys constantly vie for position within the flock and might test humans who try to feed them, said Bob Eriksen, regional biologist with the National Wild Turkey Foundation.
“They’re not really capable of inflicting serious injury,” he said. “However, an elderly person may be knocked over by a bird that gets particularly aggressive. It’s a very rare occurrence.”
It’s too late to nab one of those wild turkeys for your Thanksgiving meal. The fall hunting session ended Nov. 1, and the wild turkeys wont be fair game until the spring hunting season begins.
In the meantime, homeowners in suburban areas will have to put up with the nuisances the wild fowl can present.
“They can range from wild turkeys just hanging around the house, scratching in the mulch around the shrubbery, to jumping up on the deck to access a bird feeder,” Eriksen said. “And, by the way, they are birds, so bird feeders are attractive to them.”