Spring turkey season opens May 1 in all parts of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. The annual youth turkey hunting weekend April 24 -25 for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open in all parts of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.
In 2020, turkey hunters took approximately 21,500 birds during the spring season, an increase of about 25% from 2019, due to a rise in hunter participation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This spring, hunters can expect good numbers of jakes based on average-to-good productivity in 2020 and a mild winter. However, two-year-old birds may be more difficult to find. During 2019, turkeys in experienced one of the worst breeding seasons in the 25 years DEC has been monitoring productivity, and the effects of this poor productivity will be experienced most heavily for hunters targeting adult birds this year.
During the Spring Youth Hunt April 24-25, hunters 12 to 15 years of age must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit. Youth 12 to 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 to 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.
Accompanying adults 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 one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.
The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. The 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 14 or older. In Suffolk and Westchester counties it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys; all other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.
Spring turkey season, May 1-31, 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, except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County.
Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with the turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested. They must also report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird, by calling (866)426-3778 of by reporting online at the DEC Game Harvest Reporting website.
More information about turkey hunting in New York is available online.