Youth turkey hunt set for this weekend

The Leader-Herald

ALBANY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s annual youth turkey hunt is scheduled for this weekend, just before the start of the official turkey hunting season on May 1.

According to the DEC, the hunt, for junior hunters ages 12-15, is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.

Through this program, the DEC hopes to encourage experienced hunters to take novice hunters into the field this spring, whether the novice is a young person or an adult getting into the sport for the first time.

“Hunting is an excellent way to connect people to the natural world,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. “Spending time afield with a new hunter is a chance to teach them about conservation, the environment, and wildlife. It’s the perfect opportunity to put novice hunters on the path to becoming safe and responsible hunters.”

According to the DEC, an increase in the number of birds harvested is expected due to a combination of the turkey population experiencing reproductive success in 2015 and the relatively mild winters of 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The estimated turkey harvest for spring 2016 was 18,400 birds, and nearly 6,000 junior hunters harvested an estimated 1,300 birds during the two-day youth hunt in 2016.

To participate, hunters age 12 to 15 are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit.

Hunters age 12 to 13 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

Teens ages 14 to 15 need to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt.

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

The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and across Suffolk County.

The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird.

This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds.

A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1.

Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older.

All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

The official spring turkey season for all hunters runs from May 1 to 31.

Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island.

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.

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

Hunters who are successful must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird by calling 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or reporting a harvest online at DEC’s website.

To obtain a hunting license online go to: ny.gov/services/get-new-york-state-hunting-license

Youth turkey hunt set for this weekend

By Chad Fleck

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