Proposed Changes Would Expand Hunting Opportunities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today 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.

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