Reward offered for information about injured turkey

Articles in The Times about a wild turkey running around Vineyard Haven with an arrow through its back caught the attention of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Wildlife Society Wildlife (HWSW). (See “Archer’s arrow fails to fell wild turkey,” June 17 issue, and “Wild turkey continues to thrive,” June 24 issue.)

On Tuesday, the two organizations issued a press release announcing a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting a turkey with a bow and arrow in Vineyard Haven.

“The public plays an incredibly vital role in reporting poaching crimes, and we urge anyone with information about this incident to come forward,” Elise Traub, deputy manager of the HSUS Wildlife Abuse Campaign, wrote in the press release.

A few weeks ago concerned residents in the vicinity of Greenwood Avenue and Franklin Terrace spotted a turkey with a hunting arrow lodged just under the skin along the bird’s back, with the feathered end sticking out on one side and the tip protruding slightly through the skin on the other.

Tisbury animal control officer Laurie Clements has made several attempts to catch the bird, which continues to thrive despite its injury. Ms. Clements said the latest sighting of the turkey was reported by a resident on Franklin Avenue in a message left at her office last Saturday.

Last week Massachusetts environmental police Sgt. Matt Bass said he also received a few calls from Islanders about the wounded turkey and went looking for it, without success.

“We appreciate the public’s help in locating this injured animal,” Sgt. Bass said in the press release. Anyone with information about this case or the turkey’s current location may call Sgt. Bass at 1-800-632-8075. Callers may remain anonymous.

The Massachusetts spring turkey-hunting season ended on May 22, which means the turkey may have been shot illegally. As part of its animal protection role, HSUS works to curb poaching across the country.

Sergeant Bass told The Times on Tuesday that the HSUS reward on Martha’s Vineyard is the first time one has been offered in Massachusetts by the organization.

In addition, Ms. Clements said Cape Air has offered to fly the injured turkey, if captured, to Barnstable, where the HSUS Cape Wildlife Center has the facilities and expertise to treat the bird.