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Fall Turkey Take by County

New York State Estimated Fall Turkey Harvest 2009 -2019

As described in DEC's Wild Turkey Management Plan (PDF), 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.

Annual Comparison

The estimated harvest for fall 2019 was almost 1,600 birds. This is below fall 2018 (about 2,300 birds), and below the average fall harvest from 2015-18 (about 2,000 birds).

The large decrease in estimated take between years is a result of the conditions hunters encountered in fall 2019-poor reproductive success coupled with abundant food, particularly in the Northern Zone. In summer 2019, the average of 2.3 poults/hen was the lowest observed since this survey has been conducted. Abundant mast crops in some areas limited turkey movements and harvest vulnerability. We observed a decrease in turkey harvest from 2018 to 2019 in over 70% of the 56 counties open to fall turkey hunting. The top counties for estimated harvest were Suffolk, Delaware, Jefferson, Oneida, and Lewis.

Of the roughly 1,600 birds killed during the fall hunting season, about 28% were adult males, 25% were juvenile males, 37% were adult females, and 11% were juvenile females. This is the highest proportion of hens in the harvest since fall 2014. The poult/hen ratio in the fall harvest was 1.1, a decrease from fall 2018 (1.5 poults/hen) and the lowest poult/hen ratio since 2009. The Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey results from summer 2019, which provide a more reliable index of productivity, mirror the poult/hen ratio from the fall harvest. Both summer 2009 and 2019 were among the poorest on record in terms of reproductive success.

Related Factors

While analysis of legs from hunter-killed birds provides an accurate estimate of the age and sex composition of the fall harvest, the Summer Turkey Sighting Survey is a more accurate assessment of reproductive success due to additional factors, including:

  • changes in hunting pressure;
  • hunter behavior; and
  • the influence of food availability on turkeys' vulnerability to harvest.

Fall take has been relatively flat over the last five years (1,300 - 2,000 birds), similar to spring harvest. This is partially a reflection of turkey numbers but is also a function of the relative stability of fall turkey hunting participation over this period. Fall participation has been steadily declining over the past two decades, but this decline seems to be leveling off since around 2013. The fall season currently has between 30,000-40,000 hunters. The modification of the fall season structure beginning in 2015 to a statewide 2-week season with a 1 bird bag limit does not appear to have significantly impacted hunting participation.

New York State Estimated Fall Turkey Harvest
County 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Albany 160 65 121 33 76 13 18 6 25 9
Allegany 254 152 123 122 98 73 63 40 82 39
Broome 262 91 194 81 113 48 37 9

33

14
Cattaraugus 352 170 193 229 163 66 118 63 97 64
Cayuga 124 75 135 67 79 26 24 7 20 26
Chautauqua 480 226 279 236 196 105 116 58 136 59
Chemung 50 40 41 52 27 29 32 6 15 16
Chenango 406 111 309 79 172 51 62 20 36 46
Clinton 19 26 12 15 22 7 30 6 12 11
Columbia 124 77 145 62 100 53 43 8 43 24
Cortland 185 53 108 37 76 29 30 7 23 34
Delaware 569 140 394 131 440 133 109 29 153 86
Dutchess 138 150 124 98 116 36 48 17 70 24
Erie 220 84 122 19 74 69 59 74 63 27
Essex 10 14 27 2 19 34 27 3 26 4
Franklin 36 44 14 12 60 14 66 6 7 29
Fulton 45 14 43 15 28 19 21 15 10 11
Genesee 33 21 17 3 3 10 6 14 20 10
Greene 116 39 161 67 137 26 48 6 36 21
Hamilton 7 7 23 2 25 3 30 3 12 8
Herkimer 160 110 123 39 203 43 69 58 45 33
Jefferson 248 203 188 176 212 42 87 65 57 82
Lewis 81 63 70 71 91 20 66 31 36 71
Livingston 38 34 27 30 54 22 39 6 21 16
Madison 243 81 174 52 94 21 26 17 43 34
Monroe 44 51 51 8 47 17 29 22 29 20
Montgomery 185 36 154 71 79 40 48 20 41 30
Niagara 59 38 43 8 27 10 19 48 26 10
Oneida 193 124 95 100 110 32 53 34 59 75
Onondaga 157 144 167 69 143 29 22 6 15 17
Ontario 75 58 61 74 44 37 37 22 48 29
Orange 264 168 207 144 158 58 54 26 48 21
Orleans 11 25 11 1 0 10 8 4 20 9
Oswego 128 117 65 14 58 24 41 30 26 16
Otsego 301 122 315 119 297 92 58 30 80 46
Putnam 36 17 27 29 6 21 8 2 3 5
Rensselaer 155 71 121 40 97 26 36 18 28 24
Rockland 11 0 13 4 12 3 2 0 3 5
St. Lawrence 167 103 144 78 196 48 77 37 50 67
Saratoga 69 47 83 37 81 30 43 18 34 27
Schenectady 47 18 24 17 24 3 10 3 10 5
Schoharie 160 93 247 75 236 58 50 33 46 38
Schuyler 63 16 27 26 31 10 14 11 18 5
Seneca 37 29 32 8 30 5 4 14 6 7
Steuben 295 161 164 56 153 95 59 48 76 59
Suffolk 104 101 110 30 36 87 81 124 120 102
Sullivan 174 60 197 37 125 40 39 6 58 9
Tioga 257 101 177 60 158 36 41 6 25 26
Tompkins 188 71 142 40 85 31 28 12 36 17
Ulster 207 131 132 104 103 43 30 23 36 17
Warren 12 10 31 5 13 19 32 15 22 8
Washington 179 83 234 42 152 71 41 11 85 17
Wayne 44 38 40 11 37 19 19 34 26 13
Westchester 14 15 33 8 15 3 8 3 3 0
Wyoming 82 31 38 41 64 27 21 32 39 7
Yates 85 74 70 70 78 29 30 12 33 20
Total 8,164 4,243 6,422 3,256 5,373 2,045 2,316 1,278 2,270 1,549