DEAR JOAN: I live in a retirement community similar to one in Walnut Creek where they had a turkey infestation a year or so ago. I have never seen more than one in the section where I have lived since 1998 -- one lone wild turkey.

Last week I noticed a man was driving around our cul-de-sac. I finally asked him if he was looking for someone. He responded that he was looking for turkeys and that our association manager had called for him to round them up and kill them because there had been complaints about turkeys looking in doors and scratching parked cars.

Wild turket
Wild turket (Courtesy of Nancy Wright)

I asked how he was killing them and he said with a bow and arrow to knock them down, then he kills them by wringing their necks. This seems overly inhumane. The one turkey I have seen has passed through my backyard and is in no way a nuisance. He is a beautiful white and brown one.

I feel to kill him is cowardly and cruel when he is only looking around for something to eat. I called the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the man I spoke to confirmed that the agency had granted permission for the turkeys to be killed in response to a complaint by our manager.

If there is such a permissive killing law, it should be revoked. The man in the truck who uses the bow and arrow said there are "hundreds of wild turkeys," which I very much doubt. There always seem to be nature-haters behind such complaints.

Please note this in your column. I feel there are probably more of us who do find a few wild turkeys lovable and don't want them to be killed, especially in this cruel fashion.

Elisabeth Pforr

Brentwood

DEAR ELISABETH: I have no direct information on the number of turkeys in your retirement community, but there are plenty of people around the Bay Area who are dealing with them. The turkeys can be destructive.

The state has two main methods for dealing with the growing turkey population -- encourage hunting during season, and through special "depredation" permits to landowners who can prove that their property is being damaged or destroyed, or is under threat. The permits are for elk, bears, beavers, wild pigs, wild turkeys and gray squirrels.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife must review the requests to determine the damage or threat actually exists, and is not just someone's desire to rid their property of every living creature that might cross the property lines.

From what you've seen, it doesn't appear that the turkeys are causing significant trouble. Scratching cars and peeping in windows is annoying and slightly disturbing, but it certainly does meet the level I would expect to obtain a permit. However, the turkeys may be wreaking havoc in other parts of your community that you are unaware of.

I'd recommend you talk to your neighbors, close and distant, to find out what trouble, if any, they are having with the turkeys. If enough of you believe there is not a problem, you should go immediately to your manager and ask him to stop the killing. You also can ask the state to reconsider its depredation permit, which is revocable.

I'd also encourage folks to go to www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild to learn how to discourage wildlife from your backyards. There are nonlethal methods to keep them at bay.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read the Animal Life blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/pets.