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Turkey that terrorized Quebec town taken down by slingshot-wielding resident | CBC News


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A wild turkey that was roaming the streets of Louiseville, Que., and chasing its residents was slain Thursday morning by a resident armed with a slingshot, according to Mayor Yvon Deshaies. 

Deshaies, who had issued a call to arms Wednesday, says he knew the man was a good shot and talked to him about taking down the turkey. 

Several residents of Louiseville — a town of about 5,000 — had filmed the turkey in question terrorizing people on the streets in videos that have since gone viral on Facebook. 

“When it’s attacking citizens, or children, a person in a wheelchair, it doesn’t matter — that’s not normal,” said Deshaies. “I defend my citizens.”

It is illegal to hunt wild turkeys in Quebec before the hunting season kicks off at the end of April. But, Deshaies says he has no regrets and that provincial police, the Sûreté du Québec, were present during the killing to ensure everyone’s safety. 

“I’m not going to wait for [the turkey] to scratch a child,” said Deshaies. 

Deshaies adds that he demanded help from Quebec’s Environment and Wildlife Ministry but never heard back. 

Late Thursday, the Wildlife Ministry responded to the Louiseville situation, saying it sent game wardens to the town last week to speak to residents about cohabiting with wildlife.

Wildlife protection authorities have opened an investigation into the turkey’s killing, the ministry said in a written release.

It also stated that a municipality can deal with an animal that has become a pest by hiring a qualified person to trap it but that person must respect all rules and laws. In the case of the Louiseville turkeys, for example, that would include “trying to scare them off by various means and eliminating any food source that might be drawing them to that sector.”

Provincial regulations don’t allow for citizens to snipe aggressive turkeys with slingshots even if it is hunting season, which runs this year from April 26 to May 20 and from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1.

There’s a reason those regulations are in place, said Tadeusz Splawinski, a volunteer biologist and researcher at the Canadian Wild Turkey Federation, a conservation organization. 

There are specific weapons allowed by certified hunters during specific times, he said. Those weapons are allowed for the safety of hunters and to reduce the suffering of the animal, he said.

In Quebec, for example, crossbow and bow bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 22 mm to hunt turkeys.

An erroneous attempt to kill a turkey with a slingshot could have injured the bird, leaving it to die slowly and painfully, Splawinski said. Or a missed shot could have injured someone, he added.

Typically if you’re being attacked by a turkey, it’s better to stand your ground, he said. Turkeys don’t see humans as a threat, but as a minor inconvenience and they can assert their dominance, especially during breeding season. 

According to the Wildlife Ministry, male turkeys may even attack their own reflection on a car during breeding season, but they can be scared off by yelling and being assertive.

Shooting them with a slingshot is not the solution, Splawinski said.

“I think the way it should have been handled is through the proper channels,” he said.

However, the mayor was steadfast in his support of the way the turkey died.

“If they bring me to jail, I’ll go,” said Deshaies.

The man who shot the turkey with a slingshot brought the claws back to the mayor and the bird will be cooked and eaten on Friday. 

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