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Tense Turkey Encounter in Elm Grove

An Elm Grove couple had a tense encounter with wild turkeys and part of it was caught on video.

“They just went after me. I was really nervous,” Denise Haeberle said.

It happened while she was taking pictures of the turkeys along Greenway Terrace last week. She was at least nine feet away at the time.

“I told her you better get out of here. Then I stood between her and the turkeys,” her husband Warren Haeberle explained.

That’s when the turkeys went after Warren.

“I thought for sure that they were going to get me. I tried to run away, but the faster I ran, the faster they ran. So I just had to turn around and stop and try to get them not to focus on me, but that didn't work," he said.

Cell phone video of the encounter shows the turkeys making noise and moving at a brisk pace toward Warren.

“I had heard if you make yourself look big, animals think you're bigger than they are and they get frightened. So I did my best ‘make yourself big thing,’ but that didn't work," he laughed.

Warren eventually kicked in the direction of the turkeys, but that didn’t stop them either.

“They were not going to let him go,” Denise recalled.

“It was really scary,” Warren said.

A neighbor eventually drove down the road and went between Warren and the turkeys.

“I just took off and the turkeys actually started attacking his car. They were pecking the bumper,” Warren said.

Denise put video of the incident on Facebook and heard from other Elm Grove families who have experienced similar situations.

The Village of Elm Grove has not received any formal complaints about wild turkeys, but Village Manager David DeAngelis told CBS 58 the turkey population in Elm Grove has increased significantly over the last few years.

Experts at the Department of Natural Resources say wild turkeys can become aggressive right now because it’s breeding season.

“Human/wildlife conflicts can (also) be worsened when wild animals have become accustomed to human interaction, such as when they are being fed by humans," Upland Wildlife Ecologist Mark Witecha explained.

Witecha stressed people should never approach or feed wild animals. “If a person encounters an aggressive turkey, the best thing to do is walk away. If the turkey follows, they will generally not follow for very long,” he said.

Anyone having an issue with wild animals can contact their local DNR wildlife biologist, local conservation warden or USDA Wildlife Services.

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