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Around The Grange
Fisher kills 68 turkeys at Farm

By Dustin Racioppi, Norwich Bulletin (10/11/07)

  DECEMBER 2007 -- It was near midnight Tuesday when Elena Hermonot heard intense barking from her two dogs and she knew something was wrong on the farm.
She went outside to investigate and when she looked into the cage where she and her husband, Rick, keep their 1,200 turkeys at Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Sterling, she saw a fisher cat running away and dozens of turkeys savagely killed.
“She saw one, then two, and by the time she was done, she counted 68,” Rick Hermonot said.  “If she hadn’t gone out there, it would’ve kept killing and killing.”
Rick Hermonot was away on business at the time.  He said he doesn’t know how many fishers attacked the turkeys, but it likely was just one since the animal is known to be solitary.
Regardless, the Hermonots’ profit for the year was lost in a matter of minutes.
“This 68 turkeys represents our profit margin,” he said.  “It’s hard for me to comprehend that a fisher cat would kill that much.  They just go for the neck and rip the throat right out.”
Larry Prioux, an animal control officer in Griswold, referred to the slender, furry mammal in a 2004 Norwich Bulletin article as “killing machines” after several attacks on domestic animals in the area.
The Hermonots had an experience with a fisher three years ago.  The animal attacked their turkeys, killing 22.
Rick Hermonot said this is a new, disturbing occurrence.
“Up until about three years ago, you wouldn’t see a fisher cat,” he said.
Department of Environmental Protection’s Dennis Schain said fishers are native to the area, and aside from a 26-day trapping season, there are no methods of controlling the animal.
“People just need to take the best safeguards possible,” he said.
The Hermonots said from now on they will lock their turkeys in the barn to ensure there will be no more attacks.
Note:  The Hermonots are members of Ekonk Community Grange No. 89 in Sterling.


Fisher Facts

Habitat:  Large tracts of coniferous or mixed hardwood- softwood forests containing large trees suitable for making dens.

Weight:  Males 8 pounds to 10 pounds; females 4 pounds to 6 pounds.

Length:  Males: 36 inches to 40 inches; Females: 30 inches to 36 inches.

Diet:  Squirrels, rabbits, mice, moles, carrion, fruits, mast (primarily beechnuts), porcupines, birds, frogs, turkeys.

Identification:  The fisher's long slender body, short legs and elongated, bushy tail are usually dark brown to nearly black.  The tail, rump and feet are darkest, in contrast to the head and shoulders, which are lighter in color and often grizzled in appearance, especially in males.

Source:  State Dept. of Environmental Protection.


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