Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Fall Turkey Take by County

graph showing New York State Fall 2018 Estimated Turkey Harvest

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 2018 was 2,270 birds. This is well above fall 2017 (1,278 birds), slightly above the three-year average fall harvest (1,900 birds), but below the five-year average fall harvest (2,900 birds).

We observed an increase in turkey harvest from 2017 to 2018 in over 80% of the 56 counties open to fall turkey hunting. Very poor production in summer 2017 was a significant factor in the low harvest observed in fall 2017. Improved reproductive success in summer 2018 and less abundant mast crops contributed to the considerable increase in fall harvest between years. The top counties for estimated harvest were Delaware, Chautauqua, Suffolk, Cattaraugus, and Washington.

Of the estimated 2,270 birds killed during the fall hunting season, about 26% were adult males, 30% were adult females, 27% were juvenile males, and 16% were juvenile females. The poult/hen ratio in the fall harvest was 1.5, a decrease from fall 2017 (2.3 poults/hen). This contradicts the summer survey where the poult/hen ratio increased from 2017 (2.5 poults/hen) to 2018 (2.7 poults/hen). This contradiction may be due to hunters being more selective in years with improved turkey numbers, thus increasing the number of larger adult birds taken.

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 three to five years, 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 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Albany 42 160 65 121 33 76 13 18 6 25
Allegany 201 254 152 123 122 98 73 63 40 82
Broome 176 262 91 194 81 113 48 37 9

33

Cattaraugus 290 352 170 193 229 163 66 118 63 97
Cayuga 102 124 75 135 67 79 26 24 7 20
Chautauqua 298 480 226 279 236 196 105 116 58 136
Chemung 50 50 40 41 52 27 29 32 6 15
Chenango 298 406 111 309 79 172 51 62 20 36
Clinton 47 19 26 12 15 22 7 30 6 12
Columbia 93 124 77 145 62 100 53 43 8 43
Cortland 139 185 53 108 37 76 29 30 7 23
Delaware 427 569 140 394 131 440 133 109 29 153
Dutchess 100 138 150 124 98 116 36 48 17 70
Erie 217 220 84 122 19 74 69 59 74 63
Essex 20 10 14 27 2 19 34 27 3 26
Franklin 44 36 44 14 12 60 14 66 6 7
Fulton 67 45 14 43 15 28 19 21 15 10
Genesee 34 33 21 17 3 3 10 6 14 20
Greene 48 116 39 161 67 137 26 48 6 36
Hamilton 33 7 7 23 2 25 3 30 3 12
Herkimer 348 160 110 123 39 203 43 69 58 45
Jefferson 408 248 203 188 176 212 42 87 65 57
Lewis 145 81 63 70 71 91 20 66 31 36
Livingston 30 38 34 27 30 54 22 39 6 21
Madison 199 243 81 174 52 94 21 26 17 43
Monroe 54 44 51 51 8 47 17 29 22 29
Montgomery 99 185 36 154 71 79 40 48 20 41
Niagara 47 59 38 43 8 27 10 19 48 26
Oneida 257 193 124 95 100 110 32 53 34 59
Onondaga 226 157 144 167 69 143 29 22 6 15
Ontario 59 75 58 61 74 44 37 37 22 48
Orange 184 264 168 207 144 158 58 54 26 48
Orleans 22 11 25 11 1 0 10 8 4 20
Oswego 144 128 117 65 14 58 24 41 30 26
Otsego 256 301 122 315 119 297 92 58 30 80
Putnam 21 36 17 27 29 6 21 8 2 3
Rensselaer 100 155 71 121 40 97 26 36 18 28
Rockland 0 11 0 13 4 12 3 2 0 3
St. Lawrence 233 167 103 144 78 196 48 77 37 50
Saratoga 74 69 47 83 37 81 30 43 18 34
Schenectady 29 47 18 24 17 24 3 10 3 10
Schoharie 114 160 93 247 75 236 58 50 33 46
Schuyler 41 63 16 27 26 31 10 14 11 18
Seneca 37 37 29 32 8 30 5 4 14 6
Steuben 221 295 161 164 56 153 95 59 48 76
Suffolk 102 104 101 110 30 36 87 81 124 120
Sullivan 135 174 60 197 37 125 40 39 6 58
Tioga 194 257 101 177 60 158 36 41 6 25
Tompkins 159 188 71 142 40 85 31 28 12 36
Ulster 122 207 131 132 104 103 43 30 23 36
Warren 20 12 10 31 5 13 19 32 15 22
Washington 213 179 83 234 42 152 71 41 11 85
Wayne 47 44 38 40 11 37 19 19 34 26
Westchester 15 14 15 33 8 15 3 8 3 3
Wyoming 50 82 31 38 41 64 27 21 32 39
Yates 73 85 74 70 70 78 29 30 12 33
Total 7,204 8,164 4,243 6,422 3,256 5,373 2,045 2,316 1,278 2,270