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Turkey Season Opens May 1; Youth Turkey Hunt Earlier
New York Ag Connection - 04/12/2018

Spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) annual youth turkey hunting weekend is scheduled for April 21-22, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters ages 12-15 is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.

"Each spring in New York, nearly 90,000 turkey hunters take to the field in pursuit of this exciting game bird," Commissioner Seggos said. "This is the 15th year DEC is offering special youth-only turkey hunting opportunities for junior hunters. The Youth Turkey Hunt is an excellent chance for young hunters to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters to learn about conservation first-hand, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of New York's hunting community."

With reproductive success below the long-term average in 2016 and 2017, coupled with harsh winter conditions this year, it is anticipated that the spring harvest will be down from last year. However, good hunting opportunities can be found throughout the state, particularly in regions with good nesting and poult success the last two years (reports from DEC's Summer Turkey Sighting Survey can be viewed at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48732.html).

Almost 6,000 junior hunters harvested an estimated 1,600 birds during the two-day youth-only hunt in 2017. The estimated turkey harvest for spring 2017 was about 17,500 birds.

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 21 and 22:

- 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 across 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.

- All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1 through 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.

- 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 www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8316.html.

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2017-18 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages of DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8366.html.

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