The 2012 spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York lying north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and the annual Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend is set for April 21-22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today reminded hunters. The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.
"Turkey hunting remains a very popular activity with more than 100,000 turkey hunters taking to the field each spring," Commissioner Martens said. "Since 2004, we have also offered a special opportunity for junior hunters. 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."
For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting " pages of the DEC website.
New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 dedicated volunteer Sportsman Education instructors. Even one incident is too many, so be sure to follow the cardinal rules of hunting safety: (1) assume every gun is loaded; (2) control the muzzle; (3) keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; (4) be absolutely sure of your target and what may be beyond it; and (5) don't stalk! Set-up with your back against a large tree and call birds to you. To find a sportsman education class  in your area, go to DEC's website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).
An analysis of the 2011 spring turkey take , including a county-by-county breakdown, can be found on the DEC website. Take figures for the 2011 fall turkey season  and county-by-county breakdown can be found on DEC's website.
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. The characteristic sound of a drumming male grouse is as much a part of the spring woods as yelping hens and gobbling toms. 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, go to the DEC website or call (518) 402-8886.
To participate in DEC's Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys visit the "Citizen Science " page of the DEC website.
Do you have photos from a spring turkey hunt you would like to share? DEC has created a Hunting and Trapping Photo Gallery  for junior hunters ages 12-15, young trappers under age 16 and hunters who have harvested their first big or small game animal. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a junior hunter, or if you are an adult who would like to share your first successful hunt, visit the photo gallery on the DEC website.