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Adult Spring Turkey Header


By Donny Talbott - June, 2014

As a turkey hunter on Long Island, I know what you are thinking when the trees are in bloom, bird song fills the air and literally dozens of turkeys cross your path while out searching for whitetail sheds: Could it possibly be time for an adult Spring Turkey season on the Island?  The answer is Yes and No. Yes it is time, but No, I don’t believe it will happen any time soon. So, like any other concerned hunter, I reached out to New York State DEC and spoke with Wendy Rosenbach, the spokeswoman for DEC office of communications for some answers.

The question laid on the table was simple: “what would it take to implement an adult Spring Turkey Season in WMU1C?” The answer, however, is a little more complicated. According to Rosenbach, the DEC has no plans to implement a spring turkey hunt on Long Island at this time. As with any season setting, DEC considers both biological and social factors when establishing appropriate season dates and bag limits. In past discussions about spring hunting on Long Island, the public expressed concern about potential conflicts between spring turkey hunters and other users of public lands (for example hikers and wildlife watchers) in Suffolk County. When DEC established the two-day youth-only turkey hunt in Suffolk County, the regional DEC Biologist worked with many of the local state land user groups to discuss and address any of their concerns. If in the future DEC decides to consider implementing a spring season, this type of outreach would be done again.

I asked the question: What is the estimated current turkey population in Suffolk County?
Rosenbach stated, In 2009, DEC estimated the Long Island turkey population to be about 3,000 birds, but it is likely significantly lower than that now due to several successive years with poor reproductive success. I also asked, at what point, based on population numbers would a spring adult season be considered as a means of population control? Rosenbach exclaimed, As previously mentioned, DEC would consider both biological and social factors when setting a season. The number of birds would not be the sole deciding factor on whether to have a spring season on Long Island, however, if DEC decides to consider implementing a spring adult season in the future, we would ensure it would not threaten the turkey population.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of allowing our youth to sit in the woods unimpeded in their chances of bagging a nice spring strutter. Song bird watchers and hikers have their rights too. However, given the number of youth that hunt the spring season, I think we could afford to squeeze a few of us adults into the mix, extend the season for a couple weeks, move it to the beginning of April and still have plenty of room for the power walkers and the flower sniffers to roam about the woods. Afterall, we pay enough in local and state taxes so us hunters should get a little return on our investment as well. We are not at all interested in continuing to fund the Bridge and Tunnel Authority every time we cross the GWB to get to our hallowed hunting grounds upstate.  It’s a matter of convenience and Long Island turkey hunters are merely looking to simplify their already hectic lives.

Rosenbach’s advice to Long Island hunters is to reach out to your local legislators within your districts to let them know that you are in favor of an adult spring turkey season. You can also write the DEC commissioner, Joseph Martens:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1010
Click the link to send an email to the commissioner:
You can also contact the local DEC office located in Stonybrook to let your voices be heard. The number for the Stonybrook office is: (631) 444-0200

A wave starts with a let's go throw some stones!!





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