We call those things Waldo County Rats. Ten years ago they re-introduced those things here in Maine. Since then we are over-run with them. Just last week I fired a nasty letter to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner telling him we need to do something about these rats.
This winter alone I have killed three turkeys, one with my snowmobile and two with my car. Fortunately my letter did some good. They are going to grant me a nusience permits to rid these rats off our crop ground.
Here is the letter I wrote:
Dear Commissioner Martin,
To say I am disgusted with the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife is a gross understatement, at least only as it pertains to the Turkey Population here in Maine. I am sure I do not have to remind you that the mission of your department is to control wildlife in Maine. Granted that is a difficult job at best, but the turkey population here is certainly out of control, and your measures so far to combat it, are woefully inadequate.
Today as I returned home from Belfast with my 18 month old daughter, two turkeys flew overhead and straight into my windshield, luckily with out damage to my vehicle. This comes on the heels of a snowmobile incident I had where a turkey flew into my snowmobile. While I certainly mean to harm to the birds, the point was driven home that we need a better management policy, at least here in Waldo County.
As a reference, the Johnson family has been in Maine before this country was even a country, and has been farming this state for many years. With 400 acres, I would say we are a fairly large landowner in Waldo County and as such allow hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and ATV's on our property,and will continue to do so well into the future. While we are not hunters ourselves, we certainly understand that land ownership has rights and privileges, and its only fair to allow hunters and hunting, to control wildlife and provide recreation for our friends and neighbors.
Since we are doing the right thing, I implore you to do likewise. Last year a hunter approached me and asked permission to hunt turkey on my property. I readily agreed. Since this man had to work during the week, this left him with only one Saturday in which to hunt. He parked his car, walked up into our fields, picked one out of thirty birds feasting on our dairy farm crops, and returned with his felled bird within ten minutes. As he later explained to me, the entire hunt was a waste of time. The turkey permit cost him more money, and took less time, and was less of a hunt, then if he went into a grocery store and plucked a dressed turkey out of the freezer. From the way he talked, he will not be returning to our property to hunt turkey again.
The fact is, we need hunters like him. The turkeys YOU reintroduced to Maine have taken off and are decimating the farm crops here in Waldo County.They are grubbing for the same food as deer and are multiplying in numbers that are not being kept in check. We are driving into them with our cars, our snowmobiles, and our ATV's. Since we are allowing hunters on our property to keep them in check, please help us attract hunters. For that reason ask you to consider the following:
* Extend the fall and spring turkey seasons to two weeks or more. That way hunters that work during the week can have more time to hunt and explore the hunting terrain for turkeys
* Allow more birds to be taken per permit. Its just not worth it for a hunter to end the season in 10 minutes time with one felled bird
* Investigate the Turkey Population in Waldo County and see if additional permits or additional birds can be taken even if its just in this county. We are overun with turkeys!!
* Allow nuisance turkey permits to be issued to thin the population in problem areas like on our farm
In conclusion, it is my sincerest hope that this letter brings to your attention the need for additional turkey management here in Waldo County. It should be noted that I am not disgruntled with the turkey population as a whole, but just feel additional management steps need to be implemented. Considering the efforts you put forth to bring the wild turkey population back, and that Ben Franklin's admiration of the species was so high that he wanted to make it the national bird, it would be a shame to allow mismanagement to having the wild turkey be known as the Waldo County Rat?
Travis S Johnson
This was his reply:
Thank you for your e-mail, in which you offered the following suggestions:
Extend the fall and spring turkey seasons to two weeks or more. That way hunters that work during the week can have more time to hunt and explore the hunting terrain for turkeys
Allow more birds to be taken per permit. Its just not worth it for a hunter to end the season in 10 minutes time with one felled bird
Investigate the Turkey Population in Waldo County and see if additional permits or additional birds can be taken even if its just in this county. We are overun with turkeys!!
Allow nuisance turkey permits to be issued to thin the population in problem areas like on our farm
Prior to receiving your e-mail, I had asked the biologists of the Wildlife Division to meet with the Maine Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to discuss several turkey management topics, such as you suggest. They will be meeting later this month. Following that meeting, the Wildlife Division will consider the ideas of the NWTF and those received from the public and will present me with updated ideas for turkey management.
By the way, the Department will issue nuisance turkey permits under some circumstances to landowners like you; if you’d like to consider this, please contact either Jim Connolly or Keel Kemper at our regional office in Sidney .
Roland D. Martin
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"