Wild Turkey Successfully Released Back Into the Wild

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFGCommunications, (916) 322-8908
Patrick Foy,DFGLaw Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and UC Davis worked together to capture, treat and release a wild turkey that captured residents’ imagination this week.

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Two DFGemployees, Warden Patrick Foy andDFGWildlife Veterinarian Ben Gonzales captured an elusive wild turkey that was shot with an arrow and had been living in theDavisarea with arrow protruding from its body. Early Friday morning, after several unsuccessful capture attempts, Foy and Gonzales used a netgun to secure the frightened animal and transported it to the animal emergency room at UC Davis’ veterinary care facility.

“This turkey was very lucky, we had some of the best veterinary care in the world available just across the freeway,” said Warden Foy. “It was a real animal ‘ER’.”

At UC Davis, the two-year-old male turkey was evaluated by a team of veterinarians specializing in avian species and surgery. Dr. Michelle Hawkins, associate professor of veterinary medicine determined that the arrow had penetrated the soft tissue of the turkey’s tail but had missed the bird’s vital organs.

“He will fly again,” said Dr. Hawkins. “The arrow was removed from the turkey and antibiotics were administered. When the turkey awoke, it was evident he was ready to go home.”

Friday morning DFGemployees and the Davissurgical team were on hand as the bird was released to its home habitat. Video is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/californiadfg/,

Wild turkey season is open through the Nov. 27, however the turkey was shot before the season had opened and was wounded with a target arrow instead of a hunting arrow, both illegal actions.

Weighing up to20 pounds, the wild turkey was once under consideration to be the national bird for theUnited States. While these wild game birds seem harmless, they often become pests, destroying flower and vegetable gardens, leaving their droppings on patios and decks, and roosting on cars.