Undercover Operation Catches Rogue Turkey

Expert poses as a victim, then grabs 'Gerald'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2020 5:00 PM CDT
Notorious Turkey Caught in Sting
University of California-Davis grad student Will Hemstrom encounters a wild turkey who follows him closely in 2016.   (Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee via AP)

A wild turkey's five-month reign of terror in Oakland ended Thursday when it fell for a sting operation. The aggressive turkey, called Gerald, had been terrorizing Grand Lake residents and prompted the closing of the city's Morcom Rose Garden, KGO reports. "I swear I was getting flashbacks to the velociraptor scenes in 'Jurassic Park' as he was 'cooing' at me, sizing me up," one complaint to Oakland Animal Services read. "And before you laugh at all this, I'm telling you he was relentless!" Another complaint also saw no humor in the situation, warning that young children were in danger from the turkey. The threat is over now; Gerald has been released in wild land in the East Bay hills near Orinda. He'll find other turkeys there, per SFist.

The complaints were helpful in laying the trap. Residents had reported that the turkey seemed to most often go after older women. So Rebecca Dmytryk, director of Wildlife Emergency Services, went to the garden, acting as if she were frail and retreating when he neared, pretending to be frightened. The turkey then puffed up and appeared aggressive. "I saw his reaction to me and I said, Oh, you want a piece of this?" Dmytryk said later. "I'll give it to you." When Gerald charged her, she "scruffed" him, getting hold of his neck, a move that doesn't hurt the turkey. "To know the turkey is now in a wild area, situated with other turkeys where he will be safe, it feels like the best possible outcome," said the director of Animal Services. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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