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DEC finalizes regulation to expand, improve wild turkey hunting

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced changes to wild turkey hunting regulations that will provide hunters additional hunting opportunities. The finalized regulation establishes a spring turkey season in Suffolk County in 2023, with a season limit of one bearded bird, and makes #9 shot legal for hunting turkeys statewide during the fall and spring seasons.

“Wild turkeys are a conservation success story in New York and across the United States,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Thanks to DEC’s careful management and restoration programs and the work of our conservation partners since the 1960s, sizable populations of turkeys can now be found in every region of the state. This new regulation will increase opportunities for New York turkey hunters and supports ongoing effective management of this game bird.”

Since the 1990s, the turkey population on Long Island has grown to more than 3,000 birds. In 2009, modern turkey hunting on Long Island began with a five-day fall season and a one-bird bag limit. After DEC established this season and later a two-day, youth-only spring season, area turkey populations continued to increase. Current turkey populations support additional hunting opportunities in the form of a spring season from May 1 through 31, with a bag limit of one bearded bird. 


For most turkey hunters, the new spring 2023 season will be the first spring turkey hunting opportunity on Long Island. Spring turkey hunting on Long Island will begin in May 2023 in Suffolk County, Wildlife Management Unit 1C.

In addition, following a public comment period earlier this year, DEC is modernizing statewide turkey hunting regulations by changing the minimum shot size from #8 to #9 for turkey hunting statewide. The change was necessitated by advances in shotshell technology. Previously, shot sizes smaller than #8 (larger number indicates smaller size) were prohibited because they lacked the kinetic energy downrange to humanely harvest a turkey. Modern shotshells use heavier metals such as tungsten alloy, tungsten-iron, or bismuth, maintain enough energy to humanely harvest a turkey, and perform as well or better than many traditional turkey loads. Changes to shot size restrictions apply to both fall and spring seasons and go into effect on Sept. 1, 2022. 

For more information about turkey hunting, visit here.



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