Strutting Turkeys Stymie Cabbie
Inside the Outdoors, March 2
, 2012

Most turkeys, as we know them from reading in books, usually are found in the wooded areas or maybe picking seeds out of grass or cornfields belonging to farmers.

But to find two, standing in the middle of a parking lot, was highly unlikely. Anybody who would have “captured the moment” might have certainly come to that conclusion.

To view them, perhaps gobbling in low tones about their mates back in the woods, could be a presumption of thoughts, perhaps. But that is stretching the imagination a bit.

So, as the story goes, one of our finest Veteran’s Cab female cab drivers had reached her destination recently in the city of Greensburg, when she looked outside her driver’s side window to observe two fairly large toms. “These weren’t little birds,” she said. “They stood about four feet tall.”

But if you think this is where the story ends, you have another thing coming.

It so happened that our middle-aged blond exited her vehicle and began photographing her onlookers with a cell phone. Not happy at all with the ordeal, the turkeys raised their fanned tails, increased their chatter and charged the Latrobe employee.

I can understand the amount of conversation, and even wanting to look good for our nature lover, but to actually run at her would startle anybody, including our innocent bystander.

And yes, the woman who asked for me to keep her identity unknown, did get some nice pictures.

By the way, in telling this story to a friend, he said that in all probability the turkeys must have been Amish, for they do not like to have their pictures taken. The birds were sounding off that the woman was photographing them, thus running toward her to advise her of this. Also, each of these had beards. Now what more proof does one need?

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This little story is not a hoax, as some have come to believe. It is true, a couple from Jersey Shore, PA, caught themselves a purple squirrel, no less, in one of those catch and release-type traps. I saw the photos myself, and can honestly say the animal is purple-colored all over its body.

Some people say it must have gotten into some sort of pollutant. Others think ink cartridges may have discolored the animal. It is definitely a mystery.

As CBS News reported, “Jersey Shore resident Percy Emert says he and his wife, Connie, caught the purple squirrel Sunday in a trap with peanuts. He says even the inside of its ears were purple.”

I like the story whereby it is alleged it held up a bank and the purple dye exploded when it opened the bag causing the embarrassment of this rodent not looking like his relatives.

“The couple say they released the squirrel Tuesday. They say a state game warden later took samples of purple fur lift in its cage and trimmed from its tail,” the website said.

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Even though we don’t find feral hogs and swine around here, they are definitely not only a resident of the great outdoors, but also found in abundance in Pennsylvania as well. I never thought much about them until I visited the 27th Annual Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show at the Monroeville Convention Center two weeks and listened to two women talk about their experiences in Texas hog tying wild feral hogs. When landowners there have a problem, they call upon Christie Chresne and Julie Snead. Along with Julie’s uncle and a number of dogs, the trio go about their business with tracking devices attached to their animal team which send signals back to a GPS’s held by the people. Once the animals are corralled by the dogs, the female duo jumps one animal at a time, tying it up. Chresne said as many as 15 hogs have been caught on one hunt, each of them tied to a tree until all are caught. They reportedly kill none of them, but give them to the farmers who called them to catch these animals. It is the farmer that usually puts them down and then butchers them for meat products.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, “Feral swine refers to any pig that is found outside of captivity. They pose a very real threat to native state wildlife and wildlife habitats. Not only do they damage wildlife habitats, but they will kill birds, the young of many mammalian species and transmit a host of dangerous diseases. Because they have no natural predators, they can live anywhere and reproduce rapidly, they will be difficult to control in the best of circumstances.”

Snead said, “One has to very cautious when hunting these animals, for they are very intelligent animals and try to hide even in the proximity of our presence.”


- Paul J. Volkmann
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