Spring turkey hunting kicks off May 1

From left, Matt Patnode of Tupper Lake, Doug Higgins of Piffard and Ron Patnode of Burke display their catches in May 2017 in Burke. (Photo provided)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that the spring turkey hunting season will open on Wednesday, May 1.

The DEC said in a press release that hunters took about 19,000 turkeys during the 2018 spring hunt, but warned that hunters may see fewer adults this spring.

“Poor turkey reproductive success in summer 2017 may mean that hunters see fewer adult gobblers this spring compared to last year, but this may be offset by opportunities for jakes resulting from improved reproductive success in 2018 and good overwinter survival,” the release said.

Turkey hunting is allowed from one half-hour before sunrise until noon each day, and hunters cannot use a rifle or handgun loaded with bullets; only shot may be used.

In the spring 2018 hunting season, hunters in the counties that are either wholly or partially within the Adirondack Park took a total of 4,475 turkeys. St. Lawrence County had the most with 906, while hunters in Franklin County took 315 and 271 turkeys were shot in Essex County.

There will also be a youth turkey hunt this coming weekend for hunters ages 12 to 15. Youths and adult hunters must have a turkey stamp along with their regular hunting license. For more details on the youth hunt and turkey hunting regulations, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8366.html.

Hunters are required to report their take to the DEC within seven days of a successful hunt, and the DEC is asking turkey hunters to volunteer for a citizen science project involving ruffed grouse.

“Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season,” the DEC’s website said. “The characteristic sound of a drumming male grouse is as much a part of the spring woods as yelping hens and gobbling toms.

“The Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey provides a harvest-independent index of grouse distribution and abundance during the critical breeding season in the spring.”

To learn more about the ruffed grouse drumming survey, go to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48169.html.

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