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April 25, 2013

Turkey season begins May 1


• If a hunter takes a turkey or carries a decoy, wrap it in hunter orange.

A small game hunting license and a turkey permit is required to hunt turkey. Hunting with a bow is allowed. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun only when using shot no larger than No. 2 and no smaller than No. 8. A turkey cannot be shot with a rifle or a handgun. Hunters must fill out the tag that comes with the permit and attach it to any turkey immediately after it is shot. 

For more hunting rules and regulations, visit

The DEC has changed the way that seasonal turkey harvest is reported. In the past, it only summarized the number of birds actually reported by hunters. Now, the department reports an estimated total turkey harvest based on surveys of about 12,000 turkey permit holders after the close of the hunting season. This results in a calculated harvest based on estimated reporting rates, and according to the DEC, provides a more accurate harvest estimate and a more realistic assessment of the status of New York’s wild turkey populations. 

Estimated wild turkey harvest during spring 2012 was about 19,000 birds, well below the five-year and 10-year averages (about 29,500 and 30,300 birds, respectively). Almost 7,800 junior hunters harvested about 1,900 birds during the ninth annual Youth Turkey Hunt. This is twice the harvest observed during the 2011 youth-only hunt. 

For more information about past turkey harvests and for a county by county breakdown, visit

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