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Wild turkey hunt idea doesn't fly in Newport

A proposed wild turkey hunt in Newport has been shot down.

Acting on complaints about a growing turkey population, city staff proposed expanding the archery ordinance that allows a city deer hunt to include the birds. But a split City Council pierced the bow hunt plan on Thursday, Jan. 3.

"I don't see a need for us to have a turkey hunt in Newport," council member Steven Gallagher said.

Newport executive analyst Renee Helm said the city had received complaints about the growth in the number of turkeys in Newport. People have been frustrated by damage done to lawns; there are sometimes 12 to 18 turkeys gathered on residential property.

"They do scratch, so they tear up the yard," City Administrator Brian Anderson said.

Gallagher said the birds also can be aggressive toward people. Newport Police Chief Curt Montgomery said his department had not received any complaints about turkeys in the past year, but there previously was a complaint that a turkey chased a child at a school bus stop.

Council member Bill Sumner raised safety concerns, arguing that the angle an arrow is shot at when hunting turkey is different than the angle used to shoot a deer.

"Keep in mind, I voted for shooting the deer, but I think this is unnecessary," Sumner said.

Council member Tracy Rahm jokingly wondered whether squirrels would be the next target if turkey hunting was allowed.

"Turkeys taste better than squirrels," Mayor Tim Geraghty said.

Sumner, Gallagher and Rahm opposed the measure. Geraghty and council member Tom Ingemann voiced support for a turkey hunt.

The ordinance would have allowed for a fall and spring hunt.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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