NEW: City of Watertown teaming up with GF&P to address turkey problem

February 15, 2025

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Watertown has been going to the birds—specifically wild turkeys.

There ‘s a growing population of them within the city limits to the point where it has become a problem, so they’re teaming up with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department to address it.

Captain Steve Rehorst says with an estimated 100-plus wild turkeys roaming the city limits, overpopulation poses a number of challenges, including property damage, nuisance behavior and risks to the public.

The police department and GF&P have collaborated on a plan to trap and relocate the turkeys to suitable habitat in Texas through the National Wild Turkey Federation’s relocation program.

Rehorst says a small portion of the turkey population may be euthanized in the process. That decision was made after considering several factors, including the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.

Police Chief Tim Toomey says failure to address turkey overpopulation can lead to increased conflicts between wildlife and residents, and potential environmental imbalances.