160,000 to 180,000
Wild Turkey Population
About 300,000 turkey permits; 70,000 to 80,000 active hunters (estimate)
Number of Licenses Sold Annually
Hunting license, $22; turkey permit, $10
Cost of Resident License and Permit
Hunting license, $100; turkey permit $20
Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit
Some would suggest that New York spring gobbler hunting isn't what it was several decades ago.
Back then, roughly a quarter-million turkeys roamed the state. Estimates now put the number at about 160,000 to 180,000 birds. Turkey productivity in 2022 was improved from 2021 but still below average. Recruitment continues to be a long-term management focus, and recent productivity has resulted in a lower but stable turkey population in New York. Poor productivity in 2021 will likely mean fewer adult gobblers available to hunters. In 2022, New York hunters shot 19,355 turkeys.
The official New York State Department of Environmental Conservation turkey harvest management word is:
After reaching their peak around 2001, wild turkey populations declined gradually over the next decade, followed by a more severe decline since 2009. There are several reasons for this, including a natural population contraction as turkey populations settled down to levels more in line with local environmental conditions, and other factors such as density dependence, poor production, and changing habitats and predator communities.
The decline in turkey numbers may be more pronounced in some areas. Reasons for this include cold, wet spring weather, tough winters, and changes in habitat quantity and quality. In areas where open habitats such as agricultural fields, hayfields, old fields, thickets, and young forests have been lost due to development and vegetative succession, there are fewer turkeys. In areas with a larger proportion of big woods, turkeys will persist, but at lower densities than areas with a mix of mature timber, early successional habitats, and agriculture.
Northeastern hunters know New York offers vast public lands, wildlife management areas, state forests and landowners willing to offer access (18.6 million forested acres).
Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.