Got turkey families in your neighborhood? Sportsmen and women, birders, landowners and other wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to assist the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to count turkey flocks only containing hens and their young poults (broods) this summer. DFW conducts an annual wild turkey brood survey from June through August.

"The brood survey serves as a long-term index on reproduction," explains Dave Scarpitti, Turkey Project leader. "It helps us determine productivity and allows us to compare long-term reproductive success."

Scarpitti also points out that citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and he encourages all interested people to participate.

A turkey-brood survey form has been posted on the agency website. Information needed includes date, town, number of hens seen and number of poults and the poults' relative size compared to the hens. Multiple sightings of the same brood can also be noted. The survey period runs from June 1 through Aug. 31. Completed forms should be mailed to: Brood Survey, DFW Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell St., Suite 230, West Boylston, Mass. 01583.

Rick Marchand, of Townsend, had an unusual start to his day last Saturday. The longtime resident was out in his driveway when he heard his neighbor, Russ Sykes, yelling to him.

"Hey, Rick, there's a bear behind you.


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Well, Rick, of course, thought he was being funny because this being my neighborhood as well, we have had several bears of late in all of our yards.

Sykes yelled again. "Dude, I ain't kidding you. There is a BEAR right behind you!"

Marchand, now sensing something up, takes a look and there just eight feet behind him is a very healthy black bear.

Marchand runs around his truck and the bear runs the other way up the stairs across the front lawn and back into the woods. Meanwhile, Rick is now in shock and requiring a shot of tequila to calm him down. No, not really, but the event was something not many can say has happened to them.

A few days prior, we had a pair of bears who made a raid on another neighbor's house only this time for a bird feeder. The two bears were caught on a trail camera stealing the food. One bear, the female, has a radio transmitter on her neck and the male is there right at her side. The female was collared in February, according to biologists, and at that time had two cubs but now those cubs are on their own wandering around the region. The male will stay with her for only about three days until he breeds her then he is off.

Keep the feeders in, trash covered and grills clean and covered. This will help keep them away from your home. If you walk in the woods, talk a lot, make noise and bring a whistle. They don't like noise and stay well away from any sound.

Bill Biswanger can be reached at bboutdoor1@aol.com.