Youth turkey season this weekend

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Mason Witkowski, 13, and his father Paul, during the 2021 youth spring turkey season. Courtesy of DEC

New York state offers several youth hunting opportunities to allow young hunters time afield with experienced adult hunters outside of the regular hunting seasons.

As a result, they gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting community. This spring, the youth turkey hunt is April 23-24.

If you’re an experienced, licensed hunter, please consider taking a youth out! The youth season is open throughout upstate New York. Several non-profit groups sponsor specific events, and we encourage experienced hunters to reach out and take a kid hunting.

Other details of the youth turkey hunting weekend are as follows:

•           Eligible hunters are youth 12, 13, 14 or 15 years of age, holding a hunting license and a turkey permit.

•           All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult, as required by law for a junior hunter.

•           Youth 12 or 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or person over 21 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

•           Youth 14 or 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or person 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. S/he 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. Crossbows may not be used by licensees who are under 14 years of age.

•           The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York (north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary) and Suffolk County. Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to noon.

The bag limit for the youth hunt is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken in upstate New York (north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary) beginning May 1.

All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

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