The 2012 spring turkey season opens today (May 1) in all of upstate New York lying north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. An analysis of the 2011 spring turkey take, including a county-by-county breakdown, can be found on the DEC website. Take figures for the 2011 fall turkey season and county-by-county breakdown can also be found online.
DEC is looking for turkey hunters to participate in their ruffed grouse drumming survey as hunters are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go online or call (518) 402-8886. To participate in DEC’s Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys visit the “Citizen Science” page of the DEC website.
Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their small game hunting or sportsman 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 and arrow. Successful hunters must fill out the tag which comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested. Successful hunters must also report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online.
For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the “Turkey Hunting” pages of the DEC website.
Be sure to follow the cardinal rules of hunting safety: (1) assume every gun is loaded; (2) control the muzzle; (3) keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; (4) be absolutely sure of your target and what may be beyond it; and (5) don’t stalk. Set-up with your back against a large tree and call birds to you. To find a sportsman education class in your area, go to online or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).