The Scoop

2020 Youth Turkey Hunt Kicks Off April 25–26 in Suffolk County

This is the only time anyone can hunt wild turkeys on Long Island.

Wild turkey hunting is not generally permitted on Long Island, but the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does allow junior hunters, ages 12–15, to take birds in Suffolk County during the annual youth turkey hunting weekend, from April 25–26.

“Many New Yorkers are eager to spend time outdoors and turkey hunting is one great way to reconnect to nature,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Whether participating in the upcoming youth hunt with your children, or heading out on your own in pursuit of a wary gobbler, be sure to hunt safe and hunt smart by following the important guidelines in place both to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to support hunting safety.”

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 25 and 26

Hunters 12–15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit.

Youth 12–13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14–15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but 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.

The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and in Suffolk County.

The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird in Suffolk County.

Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older. In Suffolk County it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys, and all other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Hunt Safe! Hunt Smart!

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course:

Point your gun in a safe direction.

Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

Be sure of your target and beyond.

Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

Stalking stinks! Set-up with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.

DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange or blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set-up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.

A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hunter education courses have been cancelled through April 30. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).

“Hunting safe” also means following social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Purchase licenses and/or turkey permits online to avoid visiting busy stores or because stores may be closed or have limited hours. Licenses and tags purchased online take 10-14 days to arrive, so online purchases for the youth turkey hunt should be made by April 10.

Hunt close to home. Opt for day trips instead of staying at a hunting camp to avoid close contact with other hunters;

Avoid crowds at parking areas and other locations where people congregate. Keep a distance of 6 feet or more from others.

Avoid high-traffic destinations. If a hunting location is crowded, choose a different spot or time to visit. For alternative hunting locations visit DEC’s website.

Hunt alone. If hunting with someone not from your household, whether an adult or youth, practice social distancing, take separate vehicles to the hunting location, and make sure to maintain at least six feet of distance. Only share a hunting blind with someone from your household.

Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face and wash mouth calls after handling.

If hunters do not feel well, they should stay home. Elderly or vulnerable parents and guardians should not go out with kids on the youth hunt while COVID-19 is a danger this year.

Go to DEC’s website dec.ny.gov/outdoor/hunting.html for information about getting hunting licenses and much more.

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