Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

‘About 100’ turkeys taken in L.I. season

East Hampton, N.Y. – About 100 hunters had Long Island wild
turkey for Thanksgiving after the first turkey hunting season ended
with a flourish.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said 30
hunters reported bagging a bird during the first-ever turkey season
in Suffolk County on the island last month (Nov. 21-25), which
resulted in a calculated harvest of about 100 birds.

The heaviest was a 19-pound gobbler, while the longest beard
measured 11 inches.

“Overall, we are very pleased with how the season worked out,”
DEC wildlife pathologist Chip Hamilton said in a press release.

Thirty turkeys were reported through the DEC’s “DECALS” system,
and the agency believes there were likely at least three times that
many shot during the special 5-day season, said DEC wildlife
biologist Mike Schiavone.

“We had nothing to go on because it was the first season, but it
was about what we thought it would be,” Schiavone said.

The DEC said more than 650 hunters went through check stations
at the state-owned Rocky Point and Otis Pike areas.

The number of hunters was kept down because the season coincided
with Southern Zone rifle season for deer, he said.

Schiavone said 10 birds were reported taken the day before
Thanksgiving, while seven of the “reported harvest” birds were shot
the first day of the season, Nov. 21. Hunters could take a hen or
gobbler through the day before Thanksgiving.

He said there were also no reports of injuries or accidents.

“That was the most important thing, it was a safe and enjoyable
season,” he said.

The DEC did an extensive educational program to let the public
know of the first turkey-hunting season on Long Island.

Turkeys disappeared from Long Island in the 1800s as their
habitat disappeared, but the DEC re-introduced them in the 1990s by
releasing about 75 birds that were trapped from upstate sites.
Since then, the DEC estimates the population has risen to about
3,000 birds.

Hunters had a good deal of publicly managed lands in Wildlife
Management Unit 1C on which they could hunt, including Otis Pike
Preserve, Rocky Point Natural Resources Area and Westhampton
Management Area. Schiavone said municipally-owned land in Southold
and East Hampton was also included among the areas that could be
hunted.

The birds that were checked in were shot in Brookhaven,
Southampton, Riverhead and East Hampton.

The first bird taken off of state land and examined at DEC’s
hunter check station at Ridge was a 14-pound tom with a beard
measuring 8.5 inches.

Schiavone said the DEC expects to offer the season again next
November with similar dates and regulations.

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