The 15th Annual Youth Turkey Hunt for junior hunters ages 12-15 is open this weekend.

Almost 6,000 junior hunters harvested an estimated 1,600 birds during the two-day youth-only hunt in 2017. The estimated turkey harvest for spring 2017 was about 17,500 birds.

This is the 15th year DEC is offering special youth-only turkey hunting opportunities for junior hunters says Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The Youth Turkey Hunt is an excellent chance for young hunters to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters to learn about conservation first-hand, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of New York's hunting community."

  • Youth must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Youth must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
  • Accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit.
  • The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling.
  • The adult 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 and is open in all of upstate New York. 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.

Citizen Science Opportunities:
DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey - Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey form, visit DEC's website or call (518) 402-8883.

To participate in DEC's Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the "Citizen Science" page of the DEC website.