Outdoor Journal: Spring turkey season begins May 1

Wild Turkeys (meleagris gallopavo), two toms displaying, Newfield NY, USA

Wild Turkeys (meleagris gallopavo), two toms displaying, Newfield NY, USA

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced in a press release that the spring turkey season opens on Sunday, May 1, in all of upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. 

“May is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the fantastic turkey hunting opportunities throughout New York State,” Seggos said in the release. “The gobble of a tom turkey keeps hunters going afield year after year to chase these popular game birds.”

Important Information for the May Spring Turkey Season:

Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license.

Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.

Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day.

Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow (except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County).

Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested.

Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 or report harvest online at DEC’s Game Harvest Reporting Website; and for more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2021-22 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the Turkey Hunting pages of DEC’s website.


Turkeys are tough. You need to be close (30 yards or less is best).

You need to get a clear head and neck shot. Do not try to shoot them in the body or when they are flying.

Point your gun in a safe direction.

Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

Be sure of your target and beyond.

Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

Sit with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.

The  DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange, a blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.

A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To find a class in your area, visit the DEC’s Hunter Education Program website or call 888-hunt-ed2 (888-486-8332).


Turkey hunters can record the number of ruffed grouse they hear drumming while afield to help the DEC track the distribution and abundance of all this game bird. To get a survey form, go to the DEC’s website or call 518-402-8883.

Let me know how your Spring Turkey Season was. Email me at [email protected]


A reader wanted to know if one can use laser sights on deer in New York.

I did some research, and any scope that projects light beyond the body of the scope, including laser sights, is prohibited for hunting deer in New York. One can use them at night for hunting coyotes, foxes or raccoons. You cannot use artificial lights to hunt big game.

Categories: Sports

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