EDGEFIELD, SC — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced the first dates for the regular spring wild turkey hunting season on Long Island. The opening of this new season is the result of wild turkey reintroduction efforts begun by DEC in the mid-1990s, along with decades of diligent and responsible wildlife management.
“The NWTF New York State chapter supports decisions based on sound science that balance the biological and social capabilities of wild turkey populations with hunting opportunity,” said Eric Davis, New York State chapter president. of the NWTF. “Based on the wild turkey recovery that has occurred on Long Island and the increase in wild turkey populations, science supports opening a spring season in Suffolk County.”
The Long Island wild turkey population is an example of successful restoration and management efforts. Like regions across the country, wild turkey populations on Long Island disappeared in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
In the mid-1990s, DEC trapped approximately 75 wild turkeys in upstate New York and released them at three locations in Suffolk County. Long Island’s population is now estimated at over 3,000 birds and growing.
“DEC is pleased to provide Long Island hunters with an additional opportunity to hunt local turkeys,” said DEC Regional Director Cathy Haas. “This new season not only provides more opportunities for local hunters, but also serves as an example of how locally extirpated populations can be successfully reintroduced and thrive. Both the fall and new spring seasons are made possible by 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, making that allowed our staff to assess the health and growth of the population. .”
In 2009, the region’s first fall-only wild turkey season opened. DEC carefully monitored this new season over the next few years and confirmed that Long Island’s wild turkey population could continue to thrive under hunting pressure. Long Island proved to be a region where safe and successful hunting of wild turkeys was possible, with no reported hunting safety incidents for 14 fall seasons.
In addition, DEC first established a spring juvenile turkey season on Long Island in 2009, when the turkey population grew to gameable levels. The relatively new season has successfully provided safe and sustainable opportunities for many new and young hunters.
The new spring wild turkey season, now open to all eligible hunters, will begin May 1 and run through May 31, in accordance with management practices in New York State and the Northeast.
The new opportunity will make it easier to introduce hunting and outdoor recreation to new audiences, crucial to funding wildlife conservation efforts.
“This spring, New York City turkey hunters are ready to take advantage of the new season available in Suffolk County,” said Cliff Cadet, president of the NYC Metro Longspurs chapter, known for making new hunters available outdoor opportunities. “For new hunters, this is another chance to explore public land so close to the city. For seasoned hunters, especially those who are Long Island residents, this spring season opens up access to turkey hunting much closer to home. This is a great victory for everyone!”
“The New York State chapter of the NWTF greatly values the partnership we have with DEC to build a bright future for wild turkeys and turkey hunting in New York State,” Davis said.
Learn more about turkey hunting on Long Island and in New York.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and robust recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.
2023 is the 50th of the NWTF he anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50 he anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Find out how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.