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Fall Turkey Take by County

As described in DEC's Wild Turkey Management Plan (PDF, 283 KB), DEC estimates the 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.

Fall Turkey Harvest 2006-2016

Estimated wild turkey harvest during fall 2016 was 2,316 birds, a roughly 13% increase from the fall 2015 estimated harvest. From 2015 to 2016, the estimated turkey take increased in about half of the 56 counties open to fall turkey hunting, and decreased in about one-third (the remainder were similar between years). The counties with the highest estimated take in fall 2016 were Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Delaware, Jefferson, and Suffolk County.

In response to a decline in turkey numbers over the past decade, as well as a better understanding of the influence of habitat and weather on turkey populations and the key components of fall turkey hunter satisfaction, we modified the fall season structure beginning in fall 2015. This resulted in a two-week season with a one-bird bag limit statewide, which was a reduction in season length and bag limit for much of the state.

The change to the fall season was evaluated through a research study where hens were banded and radio-tagged in order to estimate survival and harvest rates. Hen survival is the main driver of changes in turkey populations, so understanding the percentage of hens that survive from year to year and that are taken by hunters in the fall is critical to providing sustainable harvest opportunities for this popular game bird. While harvest rates on hens were similar among years, the percentage of hens in the harvest declined from an average of 50% in 2013-14 to 45% in 2015-16. More data are needed to determine whether the change in season structure that began in 2015 will consistently result in a lower percentage of hens in the fall harvest.

The estimated number of fall turkey hunters decreased about 7% from 2015 to 2016, which is in line with the downward trend in fall turkey hunters observed over the last two decades, rather than a decline in participation due to the change in the fall season structure that began in 2015. When we control for changes in participation, the estimated take/100 days effort increased across the state from 2015 to 2016, except for the Lake Plains where it was similar between years. Despite below-average reproductive success in summer 2016, the increase in the take/100 days effort in fall 2016 is likely due to two years with average to above-average production (2014 and 2015) and a mild winter in 2015-16, resulting in more turkeys on the landscape in fall 2016 than the previous year. In addition, in areas with a lack of hard and soft mast, birds had to roam farther in search of food, making them more vulnerable to harvest.

Estimated Turkey Harvest/100 Days Effort, Fall 2013 through Fall 2016
Region Fall 2013 Fall 2014 Fall 2015 Fall 2016 Change in Season Structure
2013/14 to 2015/16
Long Island (Suffolk Co.) 4.8 5.0 6.6 12.9 1 week, 1 bird to 2 weeks, 1 bird
Lake Plains 0.4 0.7 1.0 1.2 No change
Western NY 1.4 1.1 1.0 1.6 4 weeks, 1 bird to 2 weeks, 1 bird
Adirondacks/Tug Hill/
Champlain Valley
1.1 1.7 1.0 3.1 3 weeks, 1 bird to 2 weeks, 1 bird
St. Lawrence Valley 7.1 5.1 3.5 4.5 3 weeks, 2 birds to 2 weeks, 1 bird
Southeastern NY 1.4 2.5 1.4 1.8 7 weeks, 2 birds to 2 weeks, 1 bird
Statewide 1.4 2.0 1.4 1.9
New York State Estimated Fall Turkey Harvest
County 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Albany 153 125 42 160 65 121 33 76 13 18
Allegany 279 391 201 254 152 123 122 98 73 63
Broome 416 382 176 262 91 194 81 113 48 37
Cattaraugus 594 546 290 352 170 193 229 163 66 118
Cayuga 279 232 102 124 75 135 67 79 26 24
Chautauqua 474 617 298 480 226 279 236 196 105 116
Chemung 87 106 50 50 40 41 52 27 29 32
Chenango 651 598 298 406 111 309 79 172 51 62
Clinton 29 7 47 19 26 12 15 22 7 30
Columbia 192 219 93 124 77 145 62 100 53 43
Cortland 291 283 139 185 53 108 37 76 29 30
Delaware 717 796 427 569 140 394 131 440 133 109
Dutchess 349 271 100 138 150 124 98 116 36 48
Erie 372 125 217 220 84 122 19 74 69 59
Essex 29 0 20 10 14 27 2 19 34 27
Franklin 70 33 44 36 44 14 12 60 14 66
Fulton 70 66 67 45 14 43 15 28 19 21
Genesee 48 21 34 33 21 17 3 3 10 6
Greene 145 164 48 116 39 161 67 137 26 48
Hamilton 37 3 33 7 7 23 2 25 3 30
Herkimer 265 230 348 160 110 123 39 203 43 69
Jefferson 529 265 408 248 203 188 176 212 42 87
Lewis 138 85 145 81 63 70 71 91 20 66
Livingston 68 94 30 38 34 27 30 54 22 39
Madison 305 344 199 243 81 174 52 94 21 26
Monroe 105 38 54 44 51 51 8 47 17 29
Montgomery 184 137 99 185 36 154 71 79 40 48
Niagara 55 56 47 59 38 43 8 27 10 19
Oneida 403 197 257 193 124 95 100 110 32 53
Onondaga 384 374 226 157 144 167 69 143 29 22
Ontario 93 160 59 75 58 61 74 44 37 37
Orange 325 464 184 264 168 207 144 158 58 54
Orleans 29 32 22 11 25 11 1 0 10 8
Oswego 179 157 144 128 117 65 14 58 24 41
Otsego 564 598 256 301 122 315 119 297 92 58
Putnam 87 125 21 36 17 27 29 6 21 8
Rensselaer 267 194 100 155 71 121 40 97 26 36
Rockland 4 0 0 11 0 13 4 12 3 2
St. Lawrence 244 124 233 167 103 144 78 196 48 77
Saratoga 109 66 74 69 47 83 37 81 30 43
Schenectady 79 51 29 47 18 24 17 24 3 10
Schoharie 302 335 114 160 93 247 75 236 58 50
Schuyler 65 58 41 63 16 27 26 31 10 14
Seneca 48 24 37 37 29 32 8 30 5 4
Steuben 325 387 221 295 161 164 56 153 95 59
Suffolk n/a n/a 102 104 101 110 30 36 87 81
Sullivan 313 313 135 174 60 197 37 125 40 39
Tioga 517 434 194 257 101 177 60 158 36 41
Tompkins 420 434 159 188 71 142 40 85 31 28
Ulster 291 210 122 207 131 132 104 103 43 30
Warren 29 3 20 12 10 31 5 13 19 32
Washington 329 327 213 179 83 234 42 152 71 41
Wayne 109 75 47 44 38 40 11 37 19 19
Westchester 16 43 15 14 15 33 8 15 3 8
Wyoming 111 89 50 82 31 38 41 64 27 21
Yates 81 106 73 85 74 70 70 78 29 30
Total 12,654 11,614 7,204 8,164 4,243 6,422 3,256 5,373 2,045 2,316