Thursday, April 14, 2022

NYS DEC announces proposed changes to wild turkey hunting regulations

wild turkey - male

On April 6, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced proposed changes to wild turkey hunting regulations, giving hunters additional turkey hunting opportunities. The proposal, if enacted, would not be in place until later this year and among other changes, establishes a spring turkey season in Suffolk County in 2023, with a season limit of one bearded bird.

“Wild turkey restoration is one of the greatest success stories of modern wildlife conservation,” Commissioner Seggos said. “In New York, DEC’s management and protection of wild turkeys has allowed the birds to maintain self-sustaining populations in all suitable habitats of the state. This regulation change would expand hunting downstate, ensuring New York remains a premiere destination for turkey hunters in the Northeast.”

The existence of wild turkeys on Long Island is a relatively recent phenomenon, with populations growing to more than 3,000 birds. The first turkey hunting season on Long Island was a five-day fall season in 2009 with a one-bird bag limit. After DEC established this season and, later, a two-day youth-only spring season, turkey populations in the area continued to increase. Their populations can now support additional hunting opportunities in the form of a spring season from May 1 through May 31 with a bag limit of one bearded bird.

If adopted as proposed, a spring season would occur in 2023 in Suffolk County.

In addition, another proposal scheduled to take effect this fall, would change the minimum shot size from #8 to #9 for turkey hunting statewide, to account for advances in shotshell technology. Previously, shot sizes smaller than #8 were prohibited because they lacked the kinetic energy downrange to humanely harvest a turkey. Recent advances in shotshell technology use heavier metals such as tungsten alloy, tungsten-iron, or bismuth. These heavier shot types, sometimes referred to as “Tungsten Super Shot” or “TSS,” maintain enough energy to humanely harvest a turkey. In terms of kinetic energy, #9 tungsten can have the same weight as #5 lead shot and achieve a higher pellet count.

The DEC welcomes public comment on these regulatory proposals through June 5, 2022. Please send comments by email to with “Proposed Turkey Regulations” in the subject line or by mail to Joshua Stiller, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.

For more information, visit the DEC proposed regulations page.

Male Adirondack wild turkey. Photo courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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6 Responses

  1. Spencer says:

    Good morning; The Township of Islip, Suffolk County and agencies signed off on the destruction of an eight acres old growth wetlands forest. The area has been clear cut for use as a universal dredge dump site. Community residents discovery of this operation was no fully known until after the natural habit had been destroyed.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Old growth on Long Island? And they chopped it down! Shame! I didn’t think there was any old growth left, or wildlands, on Long Island except those areas which are preserved as State land, or parks. William Levitt sure got the ball rolling so far as destroying all of that once beautiful wooded and fielded haven. My grandfather, and dad, shared many stories over their years about the Long Island they knew growing up in the early to mid 1900’s; about all of the woods and fields that they knew and hunted on. Massapequa was a favorite hunting grounds at one time for my grandfather, as was numerous other places that are long since cemented over, all of those hunting grounds disappeared, all of the marshlands now with homes and industry sat upon them. (We learned after ‘Hurricane Sandy’ how all of those marshlands would have been good buffers had they not been bulldozed-over so that housing, or new tax havens, could be constructed!)

    And of course the history in old newspapers dating back before my grandfather was born (1897) is quite fascinating. It was a wooded paradise, and there once was a field 16 (?) miles long by yea miles wide called the Hempstead Plains eventually disappeared. That was way back, but the history is there. I have found old newspaper reports of squatters on Long Island as late as the early to mid 1800’s, in my hometown, who built log huts, or wooden shacks, in the woods and lived in them with nobody else around for miles square. Even blacks were known to do this back then….to prove they have history down there also. It is just amazing all of the history we don’t know….until we come upon it. That’s called enlightenment!

    There’s nothing new under the sun Spencer, including what you describe above. It’s a shame really, but this is what some of us call progress and which we will continue to implement until they take the value out of money.

  3. Steve B. says:

    Much of what is central and eastern Nassau County was not wooded, but instead open plains, known as the Hempstead Plains. Theres a reason one of the hamlets is called Plainview. Theres a section of wild eastern prairie preserved in Eisenhower County Park. Much of the trees in the area were planted when development took place.

    As per the Turkey regulations, the DEC has proposed a new turkey hunting period for May, where a major preserve will be closed to all other recreational activities. Theres a major and heavily used mt. bike trail at one of these areas – Rocky Point, and the state is going to have a major fight on their hands to get this closed to hunting,

  4. buck says:

    That doesn’t look like an Eastern wild turkey in the photo, which frequents these parts.

    Curious where it is stated that other forms of recreation would be shut down during a proposed May 1-31 turkey hunting season on Long Island.

  5. Marina T. says:

    Honestly, these proposed changes to wild turkey hunting regulations are so controversial and can cause really ambiguous reactions. I can say that I don’t support these novelties because I think that they are not rational and necessary. From my point of view, we need to make more efforts to save more wild animals because it should be a priority. I don’t really understand hunting because I can’t remain indifferent to defenseless animals, despite the fact that their death is inevitable in many ways. Of course, these new changes can open more prospects and opportunities for hunters, helping make hunting more effective, but killing of animals, in itself, is an inhumane fact. Man has been hunting wild turkeys for a long time, but I would really like to save as many animals as possible.

    • Boreas says:

      Marina T,

      I understand and agree with you. Unfortunately, in the last 4-5 centuries, we have totally upset natural systems in our country and around the world. First, we hunted game species to near-extinction (extirpation). Then we decided anything that preyed on those species must be eradicated, leaving more game for us. At the same time we decided to cut down every tree we could get to.

      Enter the Industrial Revolution and less reliance on game for food and wood for fires. As people started moving toward cities, much of nature started to rebound – but not always in a good way. Many natural systems were damaged in unnatural fashion. So rather than restoring the natural systems, unnatural predation – licensed sport hunting – was utilized to maintain “sport/game” species to the detriment of other species – both animal and plant species. This is where we are today.

      Now we have generations of sportsmen who have grown up with hunting for sport that supposedly “manages” herds and flocks. But we are FAR from getting natural balances back in our wild lands, let alone our settled lands. If banning hunting were to take place today, we would have a real mess on our hands. So at least for now, it is necessary.

      We have allowed and re-introduced game species without re-introducing their natural predators, thinking sportsmen would take the place of those predators. BIG mistake. Nature doesn’t work that way.

      Until citizens start pushing for balancing ecosystems naturally instead of artificially, predation by humans will need to continue. IDEALLY, a naturally balanced ecosystem should allow for a certain amount of variable hunting pressure with natural prey/predator cycles maintaining balanced populations over time. This will be especially important with climatic changes imparting additional, ongoing stresses to natural systems adding even more unknown variables to the equation.

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