Spring turkey season opens May 1 in New York State

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NEW YORK (WWTI) – Spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place April 25-26. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open to all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.

“Many New Yorkers are eager to spend time outdoors and turkey hunting is one great way to reconnect to nature,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Whether participating in the upcoming youth hunt with your children, or heading out on your own in pursuit of a wary gobbler, be sure to hunt safe and hunt smart by following the important guidelines in place both to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to support hunting safety.”

Turkey hunters took about 17,000 birds in New York during the 2019 spring season, according to a release from NYS DEC. According to the DEC, spring harvest success is often tied to productivity two years prior, as hunters like to focus on adult gobblers.

While the cold, wet start to the 2019 breeding season meant low reproductive success and poor recruitment in many areas, conditions were better in summer 2018. The population gains made in 2018, combined with good overwinter survival because of abundant food in the fall and relatively mild winter conditions this year, may offset 2019’s poor reproductive success.

DEC provides the following details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 25 and 26:

  • Hunters 12-15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit
  • Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
  • Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
  • The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt.
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.
  • The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and in Suffolk County.
  • The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1
  • Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older. In Suffolk and Westchester counties it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys
  • All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, include:

  • Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island
  • Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license
  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day
  • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day
  • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow (except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County)
  • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested
  • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC’s Game Harvest Reporting website
  • For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the “Turkey Hunting” pages of DEC’s website.

DEC encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters.

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