DEC announced changes to wild turkey hunting regulations that will provide hunters additional hunting opportunities. DEC is modernizing statewide turkey hunting regulations by changing the minimum shot size from #8 to #9 for turkey hunting statewide. The change was necessitated by advances in shotshell technology. Previously, shot sizes smaller than #8 (larger number indicates smaller size) were prohibited because they lacked the kinetic energy downrange to humanely harvest a turkey. Modern shotshells use heavier metals such as tungsten alloy, tungsten-iron, or bismuth, maintain enough energy to humanely harvest a turkey, and perform as well or better than many traditional turkey loads. Changes to shot size restrictions apply to both fall and spring seasons and go into effect on Sept. 1, 2022.
Also, a finalized regulation establishes a spring turkey season in Suffolk County in 2023, with a season limit of one bearded bird, and makes #9 shot legal for hunting turkeys statewide during the fall and spring seasons. Since the 1990s, the turkey population on Long Island has grown to more than 3,000 birds. In 2009, modern turkey hunting on Long Island began with a five-day fall season and a one-bird bag limit. After DEC established this season and later a two-day, youth-only spring season, area turkey populations continued to increase. Current turkey populations support additional hunting opportunities in the form of a spring season from May 1 through 31, with a bag limit of one bearded bird. For most turkey hunters, the new spring 2023 season will be the first spring turkey hunting opportunity on Long Island. Spring turkey hunting on Long Island will begin in May 2023 in Suffolk County, Wildlife Management Unit 1C.
For more information about turkey hunting, visit DEC’s website.