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For Release: Friday, February 17, 2023

DEC Announces First-Ever Spring Long Island Wild Turkey Hunting Season

Responsible Management of Reintroduced Wild Turkeys Results in Rebounding Healthy Turkey Population

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the dates for the first-ever spring Long Island wild turkey hunting season. The opening of this new season is the result of wild turkey reintroduction efforts DEC initiated in the mid-1990s.

"DEC is excited to give Long Island hunters an additional local turkey hunting opportunity," said Cathy Haas, DEC Regional Director. "Not only does this new season give more opportunities to local hunters, it also serves as an example of how locally extirpated populations can be successfully reintroduced and flourish. Both the fall and new spring seasons are possible thanks to the diligent work of DEC's regional wildlife staff, as well as the cooperative efforts of local hunters and volunteers who took the time to share their turkey sightings, allowing our staff to assess population health and growth."

In 2009, the first fall-only wild turkey season opened in the region. DEC carefully monitored this new season over the ensuing years and confirmed the Long Island wild turkey population could continue to thrive while under hunting pressure. Long Island proved to be a region where safe and successful hunting of wild turkey was possible, with no hunting safety incidents reported throughout 14 fall seasons.

The spring wild turkey season will open on May 1 and run through May 31, consistent with management practices in New York State and the Northeast.

Season Dates: May 1-31

Hunting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise until noon

Manner of Taking: Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot no larger than number 2 and no smaller than number 9, or with a bow. Hunters may not use crossbows or rifles. Handguns are not permitted while hunting on State lands.

Valid License and Tags: Hunters must have a valid New York State hunting license and a turkey permit to participate in the hunt.

Spring Turkey Season Bag Limit for WMU 1C:

  • No more than one bearded turkey per day; and
  • No more than one bearded turkey in wildlife management unit (WMU) 1C

Additional information on NYS Turkey Hunting Regulations can be found on DEC's website. Successful hunters will be strongly encouraged to bring harvested birds to the Ridge Hunter Check Station located at 484 Randall Road, Ridge, NY. DEC staff will be recording biological data to help evaluate the season and population structure. Visiting the check station will not be mandatory, but all birds harvested must be reported within 48 hours by phone (1-866-426-3778) or via DEC's Game Harvest Reporting webpage. For check station hours of operation, visit DEC's Hunting on Long Island webpage or call the Region 1 Wildlife Office (631-444-0310).

Status of Wild Turkey on Long Island

Long Island's wild turkey population is an example of successful restoration and management efforts. Populations of wild turkey on Long Island disappeared in the late 19th Century due to reduced forested habitat, as these environments were cleared for colonial farms and firewood. In the mid-1990s, DEC trapped approximately 75 wild turkeys in upstate New York and released these birds at three locations in Suffolk County. The Long Island population is now estimated at more than 3,000 birds and growing.

Wild turkeys have become a common sight at many locations in Suffolk County and some locations in Nassau County, and the population has reached a level that in some locations, nuisance permits have been issued in order to control the amount of damage the birds are causing. DEC monitors population size and distribution through annual August turkey surveys, bow hunter sighting logs, and harvest indices. Based on that information, DEC determined the population is sufficient to support a spring hunting season.

Areas Open for the Spring Season

All of Wildlife Management Unit 1C (Suffolk County) is open for spring turkey hunting. The demand for spring turkey hunting on DEC-managed lands makes it necessary for hunters to follow specific access procedure to ensure equal hunting opportunities for all. More information is available on the DEC website at DEC's Hunting on Long Island webpage. Properties open to shotgun spring turkey hunting require entering a drawing and advance reservations. Lands that will be open for spring turkey on Long Island are:

DEC-Managed Lands in Suffolk County:

  • Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest - Archery Only
  • East Bartlett Pine Barrens State Forest - Archery Only
  • Carmans River Pine Barrens State Forest - Archery Only
  • Ridge Conservation Area - Archery Only
  • Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest - Shotgun and Archery
  • Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve - Shotgun and Archery
  • Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest - Shotgun and Archery

Cooperative Hunting Areas that will allow spring hunting season are:

  • Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area - Shotgun and Archery
  • David A. Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area - Shotgun and Archery
  • Kings Park Cooperative Hunting Area - Archery Only
  • Otis Pike Preserve Cooperative Hunting Area - Shotgun and Archery

Tidal Wetlands Properties: (archery only, no reservation required)

  • Fireplace Neck
  • Havens Point
  • Long Beach Bay

DEC-managed lands open to shotgun turkey hunting will be closed to other users from two hours before sunrise until noon throughout the season. Properties owned by local, county, and/or state (State Parks) governments may or may not allow spring turkey hunting. Hunters and recreationalists should reach out to the landowner to determine if access restrictions are in place. For more information on hunting seasons and regulations, please visit the DEC's hunting webpage. For tips and further details on regulations on turkey hunting, contact DEC regional wildlife office at (631) 444-0310 or visit DEC's Turkey Hunting Regulations webpage.

Additional information can be found at the following webpages:

Hunting on Long Island
Long Island Public Hunting Areas
Public Hunting Opportunities in Suffolk County, Long Island
Conditions for Use of DEC-Managed Lands in Suffolk County

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