A Postal Service mail carrier reportedly beat a wild turkey to death with a club after it attacked him on his delivery route in Sacramento, California.
According to a Fish and Wildlife official interviewed by CBS 13 Sacramento, it was a last resort after the mail carriers on the route had been attacked multiple times by the aggressive birds.
“They deployed pepper spray. They used their mail bags to swing at the turkeys, and they kicked the turkeys that were coming in to attack them, and nothing was working,” Capt. Patrick Foy with the California Fish and Wildlife Service said in the interview.
The Wildlife Service also said that turkey mating season was likely the reason for the birds’ unusual aggression.
USPS spokesperson Meiko Patton told the Sacramento Bee in a statement that the incident was being investigated by the Postal Service.
“Our employees have had several altercations with aggressive turkeys in the area, including a recent attack on a letter carrier,” Patton told the Sacramento Bee. “We have been working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to mitigate the issue. However, this allegation is alarming, and if true, (is) inexcusable and do not reflect the efforts of our more than 650,000 employees who faithfully serve and deliver for America every day.”
The Sacramento Bee also interviewed Foy who reiterated the same statements he made in the interview with CBS 13 Sacramento.
“When I say ‘attacked,’ it is physical contact. They’re jumping on ‘em,” Foy told the Sacramento Bee.
He added that a wildlife biologist sent in to investigate observed four turkeys surround a mail carrier when he got out of his truck.
Fish and Wildlife officials unsuccessfully attempted to capture some of the turkeys after the incidents while Postal employees attempted to defend themselves as best they could with the pepper spray and swinging mail bags in the meantime.
Foy said in the interview that when reports of the mail carrier killing the turkey surfaced online, half of the neighborhood was angry about a turkey being killed and the other half was angry that somebody doesn’t come to remove the turkeys.
He added that there was evidence that some residents in the area had been feeding the turkeys which contributes to the problem as they tend to become less afraid of people.
Foy also said in the interview that the carcass of the dead turkey was “the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen” in his 25 years of working at Fish and Wildlife.
As to why the turkeys are so densely populating the area, CBS 13 Sacramento said that it is a result of a state sponsored hunting program. From 1960-2020, thousands of farm raised turkeys were released into the wild and their population increased more rapidly than expected.