Annual Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend is April 23 and 24

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that spring turkey season opens on Sunday, May 1, in all of upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place on Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters ages 12 to 15 is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.

“May is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the fantastic turkey hunting opportunities throughout New York State,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The gobble of a tom turkey keeps hunters going afield year after year to chase these popular game birds.”

The spring turkey harvest in New York averages approximately 19,000 birds and varies based on the number of participants and turkey productivity in the previous few spring seasons. This spring, DEC biologists expect hunters to take more turkeys than last year. Hunters prefer to take toms (birds older than two years) over younger male jakes, so typically wildlife managers see a two-year lag between summer productivity and spring take. Overall, turkey populations are lower than a few years ago due to below-average reproductive success in two of the last three years. However, improved turkey productivity in 2020 will mean a greater proportion of toms available to hunters this spring compared to last year.

Important Information for the May Spring Turkey Season:

  • 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;
  • The bag limit for the youth hunt is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken in upstate New York (north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary) beginning May 1;
  • 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 webpage; and
  • For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2021-22 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the Turkey Hunting pages of DEC’s website.

Buy Sporting Licenses Online

Sporting licenses may be purchased online at any time, and privileges can be used immediately by simply carrying the transaction number (DEC-LS#) while afield. Anglers, hunters, and trappers may also use the HuntFishNY mobile app to display an electronic copy of their license. The HuntFishNY app is available for download through the Apple App or Google Play stores. Back tags and carcass tags must still be mailed, and customers should allow 10-14 days for receipt of their tags. Please visit DEC’s website for more information about sporting licenses.

Citizen Science Opportunity: DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey

Turkey hunters can record the number of ruffed grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to DEC’s website or call (518) 402-8883. To participate in DEC’s Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the “Citizen Science” page of DEC’s website.