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Fall Turkey Take by County

As described in DEC's Wild Turkey Management Plan (PDF) (283 kB), DEC has changed the way that seasonal turkey harvest is reported. In the past, DEC only summarized the number of birds actually reported by hunters. Now, the Department reports an estimated total turkey harvest based on surveys of approximately 12,000 turkey permit holders after the close of the hunting season. This results in a calculated harvest based on estimated reporting rates. This provides a more accurate harvest estimate and a more realistic assessment of the status of New York's wild turkey populations.

New York Estimated Fall 2012 Wild Turkey Harvest

Estimated wild turkey harvest during fall 2012 was 6,422 birds. This is significantly higher than fall 2011, but still below the five-year and ten-year averages (about 8,800 birds and 10,300 birds, respectively). The below average fall turkey harvest the past few years is likely due to fewer turkeys on the landscape, as well as fewer turkey hunters and less hunting effort during the fall season.

Of the 56 counties that had fall turkey hunting, most (68%) experienced an increase in harvest from fall 2011 to fall 2012. The counties with the highest estimated take in fall 2012 were Delaware, Otsego, Chenango, Chautauqua, and Schoharie. Of the roughly 32% of counties where harvest was unchanged or declined from 2011 to 2012, half were in DEC Region 8.

There were likely more birds on the landscape last fall due to a mild winter in 2011-12, and good production during summer 2012. Reproductive success, as measured by the summer poult survey, was better than in 2011 and was close to the long-term average after three consecutive years with below-average productivity. Improved production was confirmed by the age and sex composition of the reported harvest. About 55% of the reported harvest was comprised of juvenile birds, the highest proportion of young-of-the-year since 2005. In addition, due to an early green up, followed by a late frost in the spring and a dry summer, there was a lack of hard and soft mast in the woods last fall causing birds to have to roam farther in search of food. These conditions made turkeys more vulnerable to harvest.

The estimated number of fall turkey hunters declined about 2% from last year, continuing a downward trend in fall turkey hunting participation over the past decade (about 77,000 in 2001-02 to 49,000 in 2011-12). When we control for the number of hunters and hunter effort, we observed an increase in take from 1.6 birds/100 days effort in fall 2011 to 2.3 birds/100 days effort in fall 2012.

Due to concerns about turkey population declines, DEC initiated a study in winter 2013 to assess wild turkey hen survival and harvest rates. Having current, accurate data on hen survival and breeding success is critical to the successful management of wild turkey populations. This research will also provide wildlife managers with estimates of the fall harvest rates of female wild turkeys statewide and for major regions of the state. The primary form of turkey population management for wildlife agencies is through the fall either-sex turkey hunting season. Currently however, fall harvest rates in New York are dated or unknown. This information is essential for estimating population abundance and for gauging the effect of fall season length and harvest on population status. This is especially important now that many indicators suggest that turkeys are not as abundant as they were 10-15 years ago.

Forecast for Spring 2013 - Based on brood surveys the last two years and a mild winter during 2012, the spring 2013 harvest will likely be similar to or slightly above spring 2012 and below the five-year average spring harvest (about 26,000 birds). There is a lot of variation among regions of the state and even within a region, so predicting harvest at small geographic scales (e.g., counties and towns) is difficult.

The tenth annual Youth Turkey Hunt was held on April 20-21, 2013. The youth-only hunt is an excellent opportunity for youths ages 12-15 to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community. We look forward to the great stories and pictures we receive from young hunters and their adult mentors.

New York State Estimated Fall Turkey Harvest
County 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Albany 312 246 161 156 153 125 42 160 65 121
Allegany 659 276 267 325 279 391 201 254 152 123
Broome 444 422 287 304 416 382 176 262 91 194
Cattaraugus 882 338 406 361 594 546 290 352 170 193
Cayuga 193 223 181 148 279 232 102 124 75 135
Chautauqua 773 420 413 450 474 617 298 480 226 279
Chemung 134 110 83 82 87 106 50 50 40 41
Chenango 581 488 394 550 651 598 298 406 111 309
Clinton 43 81 9 19 29 7 47 19 26 12
Columbia 426 262 201 175 192 219 93 124 77 145
Cortland 234 266 201 182 291 283 139 185 53 108
Delaware 725 524 416 281 717 796 427 569 140 394
Dutchess 581 639 308 281 349 271 100 138 150 124
Erie 502 260 247 200 372 125 217 220 84 122
Essex 77 81 23 6 29 0 20 10 14 27
Franklin 53 24 107 13 70 33 44 36 44 14
Fulton 56 97 48 25 70 66 67 45 14 43
Genesee 50 48 42 38 48 21 34 33 21 17
Greene 300 225 190 167 145 164 48 116 39 161
Hamilton 24 20 37 0 37 3 33 7 7 23
Herkimer 368 304 247 116 265 230 348 160 110 123
Jefferson 429 699 434 312 529 265 408 248 203 188
Lewis 101 183 65 47 138 85 145 81 63 70
Livingston 65 76 54 82 68 94 30 38 34 27
Madison 228 217 204 213 305 344 199 243 81 174
Monroe 100 17 90 119 105 38 54 44 51 51
Montgomery 216 193 143 133 184 137 99 185 36 154
Niagara 125 39 73 91 55 56 47 59 38 43
Oneida 367 276 283 157 403 197 257 193 124 95
Onondaga 515 244 249 205 384 374 226 157 144 167
Ontario 174 36 74 94 93 160 59 75 58 61
Orange 503 462 362 471 325 464 184 264 168 207
Orleans 69 26 43 5 29 32 22 11 25 11
Oswego 263 97 163 76 179 157 144 128 117 65
Otsego 635 639 417 353 564 598 256 301 122 315
Putnam 78 115 54 57 87 125 21 36 17 27
Rensselaer 210 193 204 118 267 194 100 155 71 121
Rockland 6 8 0 4 4 0 0 11 0 13
St. Lawrence 260 447 149 169 244 124 233 167 103 144
Saratoga 139 177 62 110 109 66 74 69 47 83
Schenectady 90 68 50 46 79 51 29 47 18 24
Schoharie 443 377 305 315 302 335 114 160 93 247
Schuyler 146 57 108 70 65 58 41 63 16 27
Seneca 82 22 36 67 48 24 37 37 29 32
Steuben 521 288 271 329 325 387 221 295 161 164
Suffolk n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 102 104 101 110
Sullivan 228 225 287 285 313 313 135 174 60 197
Tioga 605 393 301 364 517 434 194 257 101 177
Tompkins 378 242 224 296 420 434 159 188 71 142
Ulster 258 238 179 194 291 210 122 207 131 132
Warren 15 89 19 3 29 3 20 12 10 31
Washington 623 427 309 270 329 327 213 179 83 234
Wayne 113 37 95 81 109 75 47 44 38 40
Westchester 24 56 32 11 16 43 15 14 15 33
Wyoming 206 107 149 78 111 89 50 82 31 38
Yates 168 86 56 98 81 106 73 85 74 70
Total 15,800 12,211 9,812 9,202 12,654 11,614 7,204 8,164 4,243 6,422