Barrhaven wild turkey mayhem


The soon-to-be viral video of two wild turkey ‘Jakes’ pursuing a woman in Barrhaven, reminds us all how well our transplanted residents are doing.

Wild turkey numbers continue to flourish in Eastern Ontario and so too does the hunting opportunities for North America’s largest feathered foul.

When April 25th arrives, turkey hunting enthusiasts will be out in full force in search of a bearded gobbler. Since only the male wild turkey is fair game during the spring season, Jakes (young males) and Toms (adult male) are the birds of choice for local hunters.

The problem with Barrhaven, of course, is the dreaded firearms “No Discharge Zone” which prohibits the use of any firearm; thus eliminating any opportunity of controlling bird numbers through a controlled harvest.


(City of Ottawa – firearms “No Discharge” Zone Barrhaven-area)

Ok, so you can’t hunt these Barrhaven birds.  What then can you do to protect yourself from a wild turkey attack?

First off I would suggest, if confronted by an irate gobbler,  be sure to protect your groin-area from an aggressive ‘peck’ or ‘ spur poke.’ Male gobblers have spurs they us a defense mechanism and to fight rival males during the spring mating season.

These spurs can be dangerous if you’re poked with one, although it certainly doesn’t happen very often. So, what is the likelihood of being jabbed in the groin or receiving a spur to some other part of your body?

Just about nil…you are much more likely to be attacked by the dog next door!

Let’s keep it in perspective here people. These are only birds, they are NOT western cougars, black bears or grizzlies. No one has ever been killed by a wild turkey according to my extensive research (Google)

Sure these birds may be a pain, but in all honestly are not really a threat to life or personal property. I know my neighbour’s complain that gobblers make a mess of their vegetable garden, but unfortunately if you live within the firearms ‘No discharge’ zone, there is little you can do to control them.

My neighbours put-up a ‘scare turkey’ which is basically a scarecrow for wild turkeys. From what I have seen, though, it does little to rid their property of wayward gobblers.

I say we just get used to them.  I personally find them to be rather intriguing and neat to watch. (And they’re also darn good eating)

Perhaps a can of bear spray might come in handy for Barrhaven people who live in fear. Keep in mind that shops who sell Bear Spray may have you fill-out paperwork and you will probably be asked your intentions with regards to the product.

In the meantime, keep a hand over your groin and try to avoid these feathered bandits on residential streets.

And hey, don’t feel bad it could be worse. The town of Churchill, Manitoba has to deal with Polar Bears strolling into town each year!


Here is the segment from CHEZ 106 FM’s Doc & Woody Show: [esplayer url=”″ width=”250″ height=”25″]


For a full appreciation of the size some gobbler’s spurs can get, check out the image Iggy sent me:



42 thoughts on “Barrhaven wild turkey mayhem”

  1. Ok, so how on earth would a turkey stab you with a spur. They are on the back of thier leg, close to the ground, so would they do a roundhouse kick and jump as high as your head? Or jump straight up while doing a somersault and back kick you hehe
    Fact is, they weigh about 15 -20 pounds and a swift kick to thier body would send them running.
    And I’d be very careful discharging a bear spray in the city, if they are realy afraid, carry a cane or a snall baseball bat
    Funny piece on CHEZ 106 this morning Jeff

    1. Hey Iggs…I picture them doing a ‘standing drop kick’ like that old WWF wrestler used to do! A big old Tom could take you out with that I bet..hehe

      I’m just trying to get residents of BBQhaven all worked-up!


  2. I watched a documentary on PBS entitled “My Life as a Turkey”. It was about a man who hand raised some wild turkeys. The ending was quite interesting. The males turned on him and cut him with their spurs. It was mating season and they no longer viewed him as a parent, but as a rival. It is well worth watching.

    Years ago, my father was attacked by a wild turkey while he was chopping wood at the cottage. Not a smart move to attack a human who is carrying an axe!

    1. Hunting Mom said ; “and cut him with their spurs”

      See Iggs, it’s that Standing Dropkick I was telling you about!

      HM, I would love to watch that!!


  3. Chez made them sound like an invasive species this morning. It’s funny how city people view wild animals in what they believe is their territory.
    Normally you don’t get within 300 yards of a turkey unless you walk under them on a roost. The drop kick ability is new to me and I will keep that in mind.

  4. Ya he was probably like that idiot that raised the bear only to have it attack.
    Hunting Mom, did it show the attack? Was he lying down?

  5. turkeys will actually jump in the air and drop kick there prey (other turkeys ) do a google search i am sure you will see tons of pictures of it

  6. Iggy

    No, the documentary did not show the attack, it just referred to it. This man had a very close parent like relationship with the birds so he may well have been sitting down or lying down when the attack occurred. I believe the wound was to his upper body.

  7. Yeah, I don’t know what’s the bigger nuissance, the gobblers roaming around (which I agree, not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things). Or listening to Jan Harder preach ‘unfiltered’ trying to blame the MNR and anyone else she can think of for the birds roaming around.

    If I remember correctly, turkeys were reintroduced over 20 years ago (I might be mistaken, but it’s been a while at least) How seriously did Ms. Harder and the rest of council consider a wildlife management plan to account for population growth/migration? It’s the same story every fall with deer collisions.

    I’ve never heard of them talking about it, nor consulting the public. All we hear is reactionary fear mongering and overreactions with no constructive plans or ideas. Maybe if these birds were cyclists, then accomodations would have been made, but i digress…

    1. hehe…Mario, ever consider running for counsel?? I highly doubt any of the counsellors know much about wildlife management and how it can/will affect the CITY of Ottawa..otherwise a plan would be in place to deal with Urban coyotes!


  8. Hunting Mom says:
    March 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm
    I watched a documentary on PBS entitled “My Life as a Turkey”. It was about a man who hand raised some wild turkeys. The ending was quite interesting. The males turned on him and cut him with their spurs. It was mating season and they no longer viewed him as a parent, but as a rival. It is well worth watching.

    Yeah, I remember seeing that coverage also. Quite interesting, but my God was it a slow moving documentary, still, captivating to a point.

    1. Yes Iggs, Id rather have a turkey try to poke my eyes out, than to be bitten by a bear!

      Wonder if anyone in Barrhaven has lost an eye yet..hehe


  9. I would suspect that the same turkey ended up with an ‘upper body’ injury as well… nothing that a simple dressing wouldn’t cure.

    1. Was actually kidding about the standing drop kick, but maybe there is something to it.

      How long can the spurs actually get a big tom? Anyone taken the time to measure it? Guess if you’ve filled out the MNR harvest report, you have.

      Would 1 cm(10 mm) be possible on a large Tom??


  10. @Mario
    isn’t it fun to listen to Jan Harder squawk, almost sounds like a wild turkey
    and every time she speaks she starts off with
    “I’m sick and tired”
    “I’m so fed up with”
    Jan, may I make a recommendation then
    if you’re that “sick and tired”

    Jeff, the spurs are one of the measurements of a big tom, beard length, weight, and spur length
    I’ll do a bit of research and see how long they got last year on the

    1. LeGrand, check out the print version of today’s paper..some wonderful exposure for the OFS and Brewer Park Project!

      They gave me an entire page this week under the “Last Word” section..gotta keep hunting & fishing as high profile as possible, ya know.


  11. from the Turkey Guru and others

    Hey , Iggy it depends on the area, if there are lots of rough ground they will be somewhat rounded . Ice will damage them, In florida the spurs can go to 2in. Age, the longer they live the longer the spurr. Larry smith who owns south nation archery showed me a set of a bird killed not far from his store that were 2 in 4 years old, lots of corn down there. lots of rough ground where I hunt a 1in &1 1/8 killed last year also a4 year old has been my best. Spurrs dont taste good either . good luck

    Your right about the terrian but that persists more to out in the western states where rocky ground is hills and most of the travel is up and down. Not sure if I can agree with the 2 in in 4 years. As most of the ageing is with spurs. A number years ago we shot a Tagged bird in Ontario Northern South Centeral. That bird traveled 50 some KM from where it was released. None of it was rocky enough to ware spurs and where it was shot in Victory Harbour traveling from Shanty Bay in Barrie the bird was 5 years old and had 1 5/8 spurs on both legs.

    This was the back ground info from the tag numbers…

  12. i was watching the video of the women in barhaven, and she was saying how big those tom’s were. they were only young jakes, so if she really did run into a bigger bird, they would really have to edit the swearing in the video. as for spur length, the two bigger toms i have got were one just under a inch and one just over. they were two and half year old birds. can’t wait for the opener now.
    one last trip out for walleye and then it is time to practice up on my turkey calls.

    1. Hey jaye, I noticed the language in that vid too..surprised they didnt bleep it out, I mean, those young turkeys were right there to hear everything.

      They helped me upload the audio from CHEZ 106 Doc & Woody Show the other day, does anyone know if it works?


  13. Yes Jeff, I saw it. Many thanks.

    I passed-it on to our OFS President, and also to one of our members that works for Green Drake Outfitters.

    Tried a few times to leave a thank you comment, but been having difficulties for some reason or another.

    1. Sorry Hunting Mom, anytime you comment with a link attached, it gets sent directly to my Spam folder…and sometimes it takes me a few minuted to realize.

      All is well now


      1. Ok, so you’re saying that gobblers that live in more rocky terrain may have ‘prematurely’ shortened spurs?

        So using the spur length in age determination would be futile?

        It’s like using dental wear as aging in whitetails…in College, we learned allllll about categorizing dental wear into age classes..based on wear and dental condition.
        The problem is, locations where deer forage on items other than browse or ag the Sitka Blacktail for example, who feed heavily on kelp from the Ocean..and as a result, their teeth wear prematurely.

        I suppose spur with tooth wear in deer..can be used as a general indicator of age..but that’s it

        Interesting stuff actually..


  14. Cruelty to animals hahahahaha too much
    how about cruelty to humans ?
    oh we don’t count
    I sure hope they don’t throw me in jail
    raccoons and Squirells are rodents

    1. For anyone who missed it, the audio from CHEZ 106 FM’s Doc & Woody Show is now working…scroll to bottom of the above post!


  15. Squirrels are rodents but raccoons aren’t. Raccoons are classified as carnivores rather than rodents, and their diet is omnivorous.

  16. with all due respect, I don’t care what they are classified as, they are distructive rodents and have no place in a city

    1. Check out the photo I just added to the Post…incredible the size of some turkey spurs!


    1. Unfortunately, raccoons are generally considered as ‘cute’ in most people’s view. It makes it very difficult when trying to manage a population of ‘aesthetically pleasing’ animals.

      Sounds ridiculous but you’d be surprised how many people look at it that way. Ever wonder why moose are perceived differently and get different treatment? They aren’t as cute and cuddly and people in the city don’t care as much what happens to them…

      Yes fishr, vermin indeed!


  17. Equally ridiculous is that someone should face legal consequences for trying to protect his property from these “vermin”. I am still fuming about that.

  18. hi jeff funny story about 14 years ago there were a bunch of turkeys living near a house beside the old stittsville flea market as my father and i drove by i decided to get out and snap a few photo’s bad idea that bastard turkey turned on me and had me running up the side of the highway as i looked back my father was laughing so hard he was tearing up i said give me a hand so he got out of the vehicle and tried to get the attention of the turkey and soon he was the target you know jeff i never saw my father run back over highway 7 so fast to get into the van the turkey actually followed him and was pecking at the door . Moral of this crazy story if you are going to take pictures make sure you bring a big stick ….lol

  19. In some regions of the U.S. such as Appalachia many people refer to raccoons and other pests as ‘varmints’, which is derived from the word ‘vermin.’

  20. I mentioned my buddy who started shooting coons from his bedroom patio door a while back. He feeds the turkeys for enjoyment and he started to see the coons hanging around the turkeys in spring. He thought it was odd that he would always see coons when the turkeys were around but the coons didn’t touch the corn he has out. When he didn’t see young turkeys later on he realized that these coons must be following the hens to their nests and eating the eggs. At that point he declared war and since he started his rabies immunization plan he has shot 33. Now that’s a problem.

    1. johan, I have no doubt the coons hang around for the poults in the spring, but I can also guarantee they’re eating your buddy’s corn too. They’ve eaten tons of my deer pellets over the years and I have yet to find anything they won’t eat…even rotten apples.

      Sounds like a rather effective rabies immunization program to me..perhaps even more effective than the redfox baitdrop program which, as we know, was extremely effective to the point where foxes are no longer a serious rabies concern in this part of the world. Watched one out hunting in my back field this weekend…neat to watch actually.

      Had another neat visitor to our property this weekend…blog post to come!


  21. They didn’t have much of a chance to get the corn after the turkeys licked it up and he never put it out before dark. That was the weird part, he said they are were always around the turkeys yet not seeming to bother with the corn he put out. That’s how he caught on. I have had my own experiences with coons killing my healthy Muscovy ducks. I use the same inoculation program which guarantees them against rabies.

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