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Wild turkeys swarm NWI woman's vehicle
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Wild turkeys swarm NWI woman's vehicle

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series
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SCHERERVILLE — Christine McCants was leaving a friend's house last week when she encountered unexpected visitors. 

McCants said her friend lives on Golfview Drive near Austin Avenue, where a rafter of wild turkeys tends to hang out. 

"We always see them roaming around," McCants said. 

McCants spotted the turkeys on Thursday while driving and slowed down to take a look. 

However, she wasn't expecting a "fowl" encounter with the birds: "It gets in the street, and I'm stopped and it fluffs up and it starts coming right at me," McCants said. 

"He puffed up and he's walking right toward my car, it was like a bad Western. I'm like what the hell is going on here? ... Is this thing going to show me down?" 

Still sitting in her blue Chevrolet, McCants said two turkeys approached the driver's side window. 

When she tried to leave, the turkeys began to lunge for the car tires — one even jumping in front of her car, McCants said. 

"I'm laughing, but at the same time I'm like, 'Oh, my God, if I was not in my car, I would be terrified right now,'" McCants said. 

After a few minutes, she honked her horn, hoping the turkeys would let her drive away. But they persisted, moving back to the driver's side window. 

McCants joked she was "safely able to escape" after distracting the pair with her hand and the car window.

However, McCants doesn't want to see the rafter removed from the area. Rather, she wanted to share the story because it's light and funny. 

"I just thought with everything so serious now, I thought it was something I kind of had to share because people just, they need just a little pick-me-up, a little distraction," she said. 

The unincorporated Crown Point resident said she drives through the area on her way to work and sees the turkeys, which often make their way into every-day conversation. 

This was her first up-close encounter with the turkeys. Usually, she sees them crossing the street or hanging out on the side of the road. 

The turkeys often congregate in the area — a wild turkey crossing sign hangs on a utility pole in the 1400 block of Austin Avenue. One right below it asks residents to not feed the wildlife. 

However, about 75 years ago McCants might not have had such a close encounter with the birds. 

In 1945, wild turkeys were considered a vanishing species in the United States, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

From 1956 through 2004, 2,795 wild turkeys were released at 185 sites across the Hoosier state.

Now, the DNR estimates the spring density in most of the turkey range in Indiana is one to six birds per square mile, with some places estimating as many as 25 birds per square mile.

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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