Turkey Hunting in New York: Season Timing, Bag Limits, and Best Spots


Although not the most popular location for turkey hunting, New York State is home to quite a few turkeys and has a turkey season each year. With the proper license and paperwork, you can legally hunt turkeys in this state.

However, New York turkey season has many regulations and rules. So before opening the door, it’s important to understand how to legally hunt in this state.

Below, we’ll cover season periods, luggage limits, and other important regulations you should be aware of. Note that states can change regulations at any time. It is therefore important to pay attention to local announcements regarding possible changes.

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Turkey Season in New York Timing

In New York, the turkey season is divided into two distinct parts: spring and fall. Both seasons are slightly different and often have different regulations.

Spring Season

New York’s spring season begins in late April and lasts through May. However, the exact date varies from year to year. Therefore, annual checks are important.

Spring is peak hunting season for most turkey hunters. This time of year coincides with the breeding season for turkeys, so males are sensitive to calls and very active.

Because of this, the hunt is more likely to be successful. But spring weather in New York is unpredictable. So you need to be prepared for different situations, such as warm afternoons and cool mornings.

Fall Season

Fall turkey hunting in New York usually takes place in October and November. This time of year does not coincide with the breeding season, so it is not as popular as the spring season.

Turkeys have low calls and are often difficult to spot. Hunters often target flocks rather than individual birds, but must first locate the flock. Still, many hunters enjoy going to the woods in the fall. Because changing colors can be a beautiful experience.

Special Youth Season

There is also a special Youth Season weekend each season. This weekend offers young hunters a chance to learn about turkey hunting. The state considers this time of year important in preserving its hunting traditions, and is therefore often heavily publicized.

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License Requirements and Costs

A valid hunting license is required to hunt turkeys in New York. The type of license depends on whether you are a resident or non-resident. Resident licenses are often much cheaper than non-resident licenses. Special rates are often offered for the elderly, disabled and young hunters.

Licenses are available through the New York State Environmental Protection Agency’s website, local licensing offices, and some online vendors. A turkey license must also be obtained in addition to a hunting license.

This permit allows you to participate in both spring and fall turkey seasons. As with hunting licenses, different rates apply for residents and non-residents. Under state youth hunting programs, some youth hunters may be given free turkey permits.

Bag Limits and Regulations for Turkey Season in New York

New York is primarily home to his two types of turkeys. Eastern wild turkey and hybrid Eastern Rio Grande turkey. Various catch limits vary by hunting ground. You should always determine the exact catch limits for the zone you are hunting before entering the field. Please note that if you go to another area while hunting, the regulations may be slightly different.

Baggage limits change every year. However, hunters are generally allowed to catch one bearded turkey per day in the spring. The fall turkey hunting season is often more regulated as hunters often hunt entire flocks rather than individual birds.

During turkey season, you can hunt with shotguns, bows, and crossbows in New York. Shotguns must be 20 gauge and often have shot size restrictions to ensure safe hunting. Archery equipment is often also regulated, for example, by the strength of the pull.

The legal shooting time changes daily depending on the time of sunrise. Legal filming times often begin at sunrise and last until noon.

After a successful turkey hunt, all hunters are required to properly tag their turkeys according to state regulations. Depending on the exact zone you are in, you may also need to report turkeys. This report helps states determine local turkey populations.

Local Hunting Zones in New York

New York is divided into different hunting areas. Everyone has their own rules and regulations. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what area you are hunting in and follow the appropriate regulations. You can travel between zones, but you must follow each zone’s regulations.

For example, different zones apply different baggage limits. In areas where turkeys are more abundant, hunters are often allowed to catch more birds.

Each area contains a mix of private and public land, and hunting is allowed. Public areas often have special regulations that hunters must follow, such as registering with the park prior to hunting day. Private property requires permission from the landlord, and written permission must be obtained for hunting in this area.

There are many popular hunting spots for turkey in New York. Here are a few options:

  • Catskill Mountains: The Catskill Mountains have a wide variety of terrain, including dense forests and open fields. Therefore, it is a prime destination for turkey hunters. The area has a mix of public and private hunting grounds.
  • Adirondack Pack: This is a vast natural area with countless scenic views and abundant wildlife, including turkeys. The northern part of the park has a mixed hardwood and coniferous forest where turkeys can be spotted. However, you must remain in the designated hunting areas of this region.
  • Finger Lakes Region: Large turkey populations throughout the region, making it one of the most productive turkey hunting regions. There are many public hunting grounds consisting of forests and rolling hills. However, local wildlife management departments often have their own regulations and seasonal deadlines.
  • South Tier: This area also has a large turkey population, making it a popular choice for turkey hunters. Counties such as Steuben and Allegany have public areas that are perfect for turkey hunting. The rolling hills and farmland make the area very productive.
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