NWTF Commends the Introduction of Inaugural Spring Season on Long Island
EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced the first-ever Long Island regular spring wild turkey hunting season dates. The opening of this new season is the result of wild turkey reintroduction efforts DEC initiated in the mid-1990s, coupled with decades of responsible and diligent wildlife management.
“The NWTF New York State Chapter supports decisions based in sound science that balance biological and social carrying capacities of wild turkey populations with hunting opportunity,” said Eric Davis, NWTF New York State Chapter president. “Based on the wild turkey recovery that has happened on Long Island and increasing wild turkey populations, the science supports opening a spring season in Suffolk County.”
Long Island’s wild turkey population is an example of successful restoration and management efforts. Like regions all over the country, wild turkey populations on Long Island disappeared throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
In the mid-1990s, DEC trapped approximately 75 wild turkeys in upstate New York and released these birds at three locations in Suffolk County. The Long Island population is now estimated at more than 3,000 birds and growing.
“DEC is excited to give Long Island hunters an additional local turkey hunting opportunity,” DEC Regional Director Cathy Haas said. “Not only does this new season give more opportunities to local hunters, it also serves as an example of how locally extirpated populations can be successfully reintroduced and flourish. Both the fall and new spring seasons are possible thanks to the diligent work of DEC’s regional wildlife staff, as well as the cooperative efforts of local hunters and volunteers who took the time to share their turkey sightings, allowing our staff to assess population health and growth.”
In 2009, the first fall-only wild turkey season opened in the region. DEC carefully monitored this new season over the ensuing years and confirmed the Long Island wild turkey population could continue to thrive while under hunting pressure. Long Island proved to be a region where safe and successful hunting of wild turkeys was possible, with no hunting safety incidents reported throughout 14 fall seasons.
Likewise, the DEC first established a spring youth turkey season on Long Island in 2009, as the population of turkeys grew to huntable levels. The relatively new season has successfully provided safe and sustainable opportunities to many new, young hunters.
The new spring wild turkey season, now open to all eligible hunters, will open on May 1 and run through May 31, consistent with management practices in New York State and the Northeast.
The new opportunity will facilitate introducing hunting and outdoor recreation to new audiences, crucial to funding wildlife conservation efforts.
“This spring, New York City turkey hunters are ready to utilize the brand-new season made available in Suffolk County,” said Cliff Cadet, NYC Metro Longspurs Chapter president, who is known for making new outdoor opportunities available to new hunters. “For new hunters, this is another opportunity to explore public lands so close to the city. For seasoned hunters, especially those who are residents of Long Island, this spring season opens up turkey hunting access a lot closer to home. This is a huge win for everyone!”
“The New York State Chapter of the NWTF greatly values the partnership we have with DEC in building a bright future for wild turkeys and turkey hunting in the state of New York,” Davis said.
Learn more about turkey hunting on Long Island and in New York.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.