Wildlife is abundant in Hutchinson and sometimes causes problems for residents. The city deals only with wild animals that are sick, injured or for complaints involving nuisance wildlife. Please call the Hutchinson Police Department at (320) 587-2242 to report a nuisance, sick or injured wild animal, or to report a wild animal bite.
For more information on wild animals, see the following…
Coping with wild turkeys
Hutchinson’s abundance of open space and natural areas attracts its share of wildlife, from birds and frogs to coyotes, deer and wild turkeys. While many residents enjoy finding these animals in their natural habitat, it may not be enjoyable when those same animals are damaging landscaping, soiling lawns and declaring your property their territory.
First and most important in helping keep the wild critters at bay—don’t feed them. If you want to feed birds in your yard without attracting other animals, follow these tips:
- Keep bird feeder areas clean. Use feeders designed to help keep seed off the ground, as the seed may attract turkeys and other wild animals. Clean up any spilled seed daily.
- Mount bird feeders away from trees and shrubs when possible and install baffles or other animal guards on pole-mounted feeders to keep squirrels and raccoons from reaching the seed.
- Temporarily discontinue feeding birds if other animals become a nuisance.
Read on for more tips on dealing with wild turkeys.
The number of wild turkeys in the city seems to rise and fall throughout the year. Much of this is due to new hatchings, predators and the migration of the birds. According to Chief Daniel Hatten, Hutchinson Police Department Chief of Police, wild turkeys are the most difficult to discourage from visiting your property. Once they settle in, they are messy and territorial. However, here are a few tips that may help.
- Don’t feed them. Keep wild things wild! Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause turkeys to act tame and may lead to bold or aggressive behavior, especially in the breeding season. If you are using bird feeders, follow the tips above for smart feeding.
- Cover windows or other reflective objects. If a turkey is pecking at a shiny object such as a vehicle or window, cover or otherwise disguise the object. String foil reflective tape at about knee level to keep turkeys out of certain areas of your property.
- Do not allow turkeys to be comfortable in the presence of people. Don’t let turkeys intimidate you. Scare or threaten a bold, aggressive turkey with loud noises, swatting with a broom or water sprayed from a hose. Another method is to open and close an umbrella (preferably black) in the direction of the turkeys. This imitates a male turkey defending its territory and may scare off the turkeys.
- Educate your neighbors by passing this information along. Your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food for turkeys or neglecting to act boldly towards the birds. It requires the efforts of the entire neighborhood to help keep wild turkeys wild. Turkeys are important and valuable birds in Minnesota. They are classified as game birds for which regulated hunting seasons and management programs have been established.
Two final notes:
- Trapping and relocating “nuisance” turkeys is not an option. The methods used to trap turkeys in remote areas are often impractical or ineffective in urban or suburban areas due to safety or disturbance. Released turkeys may also continue their inappropriate actions where they are released or may move substantial distances to other suburban sites.
- Although the turkeys may be driving you crazy, remember that the discharge of any firearm or air-powered weapon is prohibited within the city limits of Hutchinson (city ordinance 130.03).
For more information about wild turkeys, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website and search “turkeys.”