Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Spring Turkey Season starts May 1

wild turkey - femaleNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announces the start of spring turkey hunting season on May 1. This applies to all Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester county line.

Remember this season to follow the DEC’s safety tips in order to prevent injury and the spread of COVID – 19. The DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend, for junior hunters aged 12 to 15, will take place as well this season on April 25-26.

During the 2019 spring season, Turkey hunters took around 17,000 birds. Spring harvest success is measured relative to two years prior, as hunters focus primarily on “gobblers” (2-year-old birds). The 2019 breeding season started off slow due to inclement weather, but conditions in summer of 2018, as well as good over winter survival due to abundant food in the fall has contributed to a population gain that may offset the slow start to 2019’s breeding season.

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; and all other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

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

  • 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 Reportingwebsite; and 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.

“Hunting Safe” also means following social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Purchase licenses and/or turkey permits online to avoid visiting busy stores or because stores may be closed or have limited hours. Licenses and tags purchased online take 10-14 days to arrive, so online purchases for the youth turkey hunt should be made by April 10, and for the regular season by April 16;
  • Hunt close to home. Opt for day trips instead of staying at a hunting camp to avoid close contact with other hunters;
  • Avoid crowds at parking areas and other locations where people congregate. Keep six feet or more from others;
  • Avoid high-traffic destinations. If a hunting location is crowded, choose a different spot or time to visit. For alternative hunting locations visit DEC’s website.
  • Hunt alone. If hunting with someone not from your household, whether an adult or youth, practice social distancing, take separate vehicles to the hunting location, and make sure to maintain at least six feet of distance. Only share a hunting blind with someone from your household;
  • Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face and wash mouth calls after handling; and
  • If hunters do not feel well, they should stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.

Hunter education classes are also required for new hunters, however, due to COVID – 19 the classes have been cancelled through to April 30th. To find a class available to you, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2.

To find information on, and to purchase a sporting license online, visit this link.

The DEC is also seeking willing hunter to engage in a “citizen science opportunity” to record the number of rugged grouse they hear drumming while afield in order to help the DEC track the distribution and population of this bird. To get a survey form, click this link, or call (518) 402-8883.

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NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.




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