I've been riding motorcycles in Minnesota since I was a teenager. If you ride safe, you know there are things you always need to be looking out for. One of those is deer. Recently, there's another animal you need to look out for.

I've had my fair share of close calls with deer. It's always the ones you don't see that get you. I was riding years ago on a two-lane road when a buck came flying out of the woods at full speed. I hit the brakes, even locking up the rear wheel for a minute. The deer saw me, and then jumped back and forth. I swear I almost hit this deer 5 times in a split second, it just didn't know how to get out of the way.

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Then, I had a close call just last year that was even harder to avoid. I was riding back from Michigan when I saw a flash from the tall grass in the ditch. It came at me about head high. I instinctively ducked right away. Whatever it was missed me by inches, but I honestly had no clue. It looked to me like a large gray plastic grocery bag flying in the wind. It happened so fast.

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My uncle was riding behind me. When we got to the next stop I asked him if he saw what it was. It was a wild turkey.

A turkey gobbles during the spring mating season.

Back when I started riding motorcycles, I never even thought about hitting a wild turkey. I'm from Northern Minnesota, and we didn't have them around here. Now we do, as the turkey population has increased to around 70,000 across the state. The turkeys are moving north too.

Can a wild turkey actually take you off a bike if it hits you?

Yes, it can. Check out this video.

This last Sunday I was driving back with a friend in his truck when we saw three wild turkeys fly up from the ditch and nearly hit an oncoming motorcycle. The turkeys were on the side of the road and then got spooked by the oncoming cars and took off.

The birds are big, heavy, and slow to take off.

So when you're out riding, be sure to keep an eye out for these wild turkeys coming out of ditches!

LOOK: Here are the states where you are most likely to hit an animal

Hitting an animal while driving is a frightening experience, and this list ranks all 50 states in order of the likelihood of such incidents happening, in addition to providing tips on how to avoid them.

Gallery Credit: Dom DiFurio & Jacob Osborn


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