Turkey Hunting in New York

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  • B
  • 160,000-180,000 (estimate)

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 89,000 (turkey permits)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $32

    Hunting license and turkey permit.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $120

    Hunting license and turkey permit.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Some would suggest New York spring gobbler hunting isn't what it was a decade or two ago.

Back then, roughly a quarter-of-a-million turkeys roamed the state; estimates now put the number at around 160,000-180,000 birds.

I can personally attest to this decline, having turkey hunted the state since the early 1990s, yet there are still some decent opportunities to be found.

Northeastern hunters know New York offers good spring gobbler opportunities, with vast public lands, Wildlife Management Areas, state forests and landowners willing to offer access (18.6 million forested acres).

That's one upside; here's another.

The Empire State sells a fairly affordable non-resident license/turkey permit.

That said, public perception outside this region regarding gun-rights threats might see some cry out for a lower grade.

Add a minus to our "B" if you must, but this Turkey Hunting Nation post is about New York turkeys and turkey hunting.

Yes, such issues are real; but as the media depicts challenges to our lifestyle by urban lawmakers, rural state residents and landowners are often hunters and gun owners. 

New York wild turkey numbers have been on a downward trend, with last year's hatch offering hope. As of this writing, the official New York State Department of Environmental Conservation turkey harvest management word is:

After reaching their peak around 2001, wild turkey populations declined gradually over the next decade, followed by a more severe decline since 2009. There are several reasons for this, including a natural population contraction as turkey populations settled down to levels more in line with local environmental conditions, and other factors such as density dependence, poor production, and changing habitats and predator communities.

The decline in turkey numbers may be more pronounced in some areas. Reasons for this include cold wet spring weather, tough winters, and changes in habitat quantity and quality. In areas where open habitats such as agricultural fields, hayfields, old fields, thickets, and young forests have been lost due to development and vegetative succession, there are fewer turkeys. In areas with a larger proportion of "big woods" turkeys will persist, but at lower densities than areas with a mix of mature timber, early successional habitats, and agriculture.

Fun Fact: Top counties for "estimated harvest" often include Chautauqua, Steuben, Otsego, Delaware and Erie. 

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in New York (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

New York Turkey Hunting Regulations

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