Turkey Hunting Seasons
Fall Turkey Season
- You may take a bird of either sex.
- There is one carcass tag for the fall season and it may be used in any fall turkey hunting zone. Immediately after taking a turkey, you must fill out the carcass tag in ink and attach it to the bird.
- If you take a turkey, save one of its legs. You will receive instructions about what to do with the leg when you report your harvest. The legs are used for age and sex information.
Spring Turkey Season
- In the spring, you may take two bearded birds. You may only take one bird per day.
- Fill out the carcass tag and attach it to the bird.
- You do not need to save and send in turkey legs in the spring. You do need to take careful spur, beard, and weight measurements for harvest reporting.
- Spur measurements: Spurs should be measured from the tip of the spur to the base of the spur, where it emerges from the scaly part of the leg. Measure to the nearest ¼ inch. Do not measure to the forward edge of the leg, only to the base of the spur.
- Beard measurements: Beards should be measured from the tip of the beard to the base, where it emerges from the skin. Put the end of your ruler against the base of the beard and extend the beard along the body of the ruler. Measure to the nearest ¼ inch.
- Record the weight of the turkey to the nearest pound.
Spring Youth Hunt
Eligible hunters are 12–15 years of age and hold a Junior Hunting License and a Turkey Permit.
All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult, as required by law for a Junior Hunting License (see Special Seasons Designated for Young Hunters).
The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and Turkey Permit. He/she may assist the youth hunter (including calling), but may not carry a firearm, crossbow or bow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt. Crossbows may only be used by licensees who are 14 years of age or older.
The bag limit for the youth hunt is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken beginning May 1.
All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.
Why Do We Have a May 1 Opener?
Research has found that the optimal start date for the spring season is the median date of incubation (when about half of hens are on nests). In New York and much of the Northeast this is around May 1st. A May 1 opener provides the best opportunity to pursue gobblers when they are vocal and responsive to calling while minimizing disruption to reproduction. An earlier season start can disrupt breeding behavior and nesting, negatively affecting long-term turkey abundance and hunt quality.