Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Spring Turkey Take by County

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

Annual Comparison

New York State Estimated Wild Turkey Spring Harvest 2010-2020

The estimated wild turkey harvest for spring 2020 was 21,381 birds. This is a 25% increase from spring 2019 and is above the 10-year average spring take (about 19,400 birds). Much of the increase in harvest observed in spring 2020 is likely due to an increase in hunting participation this year. Roughly 94,000 hunters went afield this spring, compared to 76,000 last year and an average of 89,000 per year over the past 10 years. We anticipated the increase in participation based on a surge in turkey permit sales and online hunter education certifications in April as people had more free time due to the response to COVID-19.

Some of the increase in spring harvest from 2019 to 2020 can be attributed to improved turkey abundance compared to last year. There is a lag between turkey reproductive success and spring harvest two years later as hunters prefer to harvest toms (2+ year-old birds). With summer 2017 being one of the worst production years observed since 2009, we anticipated that the spring 2019 harvest would be below average, and this was the case. In summer 2018, reproductive success improved, and subsequently in spring 2020, so did the turkey harvest, although this was likely a relatively small contributor to the increase observed in harvest compared to the larger number of turkey hunters who went afield.

The top five counties for estimated harvest were St. Lawrence, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Oneida, and Delaware counties. The estimated spring turkey take increased from 2019 to 2020 in two-thirds of counties, was similar between years in one-quarter of counties, and decreased in 9% of counties open to spring turkey hunting.

While turkey abundance is still substantially reduced from the levels observed in the early-mid 2000s, the population has stabilized over the past few years based on spring harvest data and other surveys.

Preliminary reports identified one hunting-related shooting incident (HRSI) during the 2020 spring turkey season. This is the same as the previous year and slightly below the long-term annual average (2 HRSIs per spring turkey season). HRSIs are preventable if hunters follow the four rules of firearm safety: (1) treat every firearm as if it is loaded; (2) keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; (3) always be aware of your muzzle and keep it pointed in a safe direction; and (4) be aware of your target and what is in front of and beyond it.

New York State Estimated Spring Turkey Harvest
County 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Albany 261 301 298 305 358 298 211 215 210 230
Allegany 486 527 436 531 425 351 453 432 410 598
Broome 378 315 353 421 412 379 275 326 356 359
Cattaraugus 707 588 744 827 619 477 545 524 519 727
Cayuga 435 462 581 543 497 473 347 344 315 272
Chautauqua 965 928 1,071 1,143 790 569 713 763 632 909
Chemung 242 215 190 222 269 193 262 195 210 291
Chenango 570 490 612 553 537 489 401 562 478 524
Clinton 139 134 182 206 188 179 190 287 280 396
Columbia 358 394 365 525 461 433 286 206 302 411
Cortland 287 298 466 450 292 307 178 282 277 274
Delaware 546 600 817 981 952 737 585 659 666 808
Dutchess 399 396 398 421 418 454 283 345 331 407
Erie 513 600 685 655 432 314 519 372 362 431
Essex 130 117 198 216 193 181 203 271 213 317
Franklin 112 132 179 174 179 210 195 315 248 374
Fulton 144 109 177 164 139 170 194 248 153 201
Genesee 118 181 215 206 133 126 174 174 164 170
Greene 289 285 264 338 399 337 243 281 250 241
Hamilton 55 62 96 78 52 60 53 114 43 117
Herkimer 442 379 442 392 371 338 340 557 355 599
Jefferson 601 575 675 589 501 500 499 683 595 876
Lewis 279 254 371 363 196 237 327 368 306 416
Livingston 289 296 275 373 321 294 349 320 253 395
Madison 367 425 437 518 348 433 293 387 296 393
Monroe 224 325 314 245 224 202 219 163 208 298
Montgomery 263 268 290 363 311 329 302 320 252 252
Niagara 158 248 270 149 148 152 186 148 165 205
Oneida 659 474 627 733 499 420 525 791 589 834
Onondaga 461 510 685 712 577 448 347 399 397 380
Ontario 426 448 456 608 400 421 457 348 315 489
Orange 442 460 461 582 603 538 369 373 331 390
Orleans 102 115 125 128 96 91 110 102 95 92
Oswego 447 534 532 562 479 404 607 280 359 416
Otsego 536 620 723 877 766 650 480 647 622 627
Putnam 83 83 96 122 157 108 84 100 91 85
Rensselaer 306 286 410 417 497 467 313 375 325 420
Rockland 12 17 17 11 53 33 25 20 21 15
St. Lawrence 375 494 637 684 494 629 584 906 675 940
Saratoga 336 258 316 373 308 300 295 423 385 426
Schenectady 62 81 91 122 119 80 92 61 85 74
Schoharie 280 359 367 424 543 486 396 371 325 372
Schuyler 260 222 185 249 154 163 210 209 148 250
Seneca 199 178 169 186 115 112 199 116 141 136
Steuben 767 781 729 894 673 616 661 689 676 786
Suffolk 106 53 73 40 46 53 42 54 34 103
Sullivan 362 394 358 453 458 390 306 271 298 287
Tioga 390 406 348 355 245 301 270 355 325 306
Tompkins 387 362 382 366 317 323 245 300 285 285
Ulster 427 450 446 313 433 360 295 330 260 361
Warren 40 68 96 121 86 95 111 195 75 166
Washington 420 433 545 690 613 647 530 570 630 636
Wayne 313 383 447 399 306 337 448 252 291 279
Westchester 47 44 67 64 31 64 43 39 39 38
Wyoming 338 278 318 286 311 340 344 316 206 372
Yates 398 343 408 481 296 324 279 221 206 325
Total 18,738 19,038 21,515 23,203 19,840 18,422 17,492 19,074 17,078 21,381