Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) came across a wild turkey Friday that appeared to be in distress from the Cameron Peak Fire while clearing debris from Highway 14 in Rustic.
According to CPW, the turkey came charging out of the forest and right up to the wildlife officer. While the bird first appeared to be in distress related to the raging blaze, it became clear as time went on this wasn't exactly the case.
“What became obvious was that it is a domesticated bird being fed by people,” CPW tweeted. “This is not natural behavior.”
The turkey was showing signs of unusual behavior by getting close to the wildlife officer and sticking around waiting to be fed.
(1/3) Last Friday a wildlife officer was clearing debris off HWY 14 in Rustic when working the #CameronPeakFire & this turkey came out of the trees & right up to him. It first appeared to be a bird in distress from the fire, but as time went on that opinion changed. pic.twitter.com/kuVS5NK1eo— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 26, 2020
"What can happen when you feed wildlife is the animals can become demanding," CPW went on to add. "The next person to come across this turkey could be met with aggression and injured by it if it is expecting you to feed it."
A similar incident occurred this month involving a young buck. In this incident, a woman is facing major fines after she illegally raised a deer as a pet that ended up violently attacked a nearby neighbor.
Feeding big game animals is illegal in Colorado. This includes deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, and elk.
The Cameron Peak Fire burning 15 miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes is now estimated at 208,663 acres with 64% percent containment as of Thursday afternoon. It is the largest wildfire in Colorado history, with more than 1,500 firefighters battling the blaze.