With turkeys gone wild, Maine expands hunting

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Once nearly wiped out of existence, turkeys are running wild.

Buoyed by what’s been called the most successful wildlife restoration project ever, wild turkeys are eating crops, ruining gardens, crashing into cars and motorcycles and even smashing through suburban windows.

The unprecedented population spike prompted Maine to expand its turkey-hunting rules, creating a bounty for bird hunters. The fall turkey hunting season began Thursday.

Nonexistent in Maine 26 years ago, the turkey population has increased to an estimated 60,000 birds. The growth in Maine mirrors what’s been happening across North America, with the numbers climbing from about 1 million to 7 million birds in the past 30 years.

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