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50/58 Year Anniversaries Of Wild Turkey Seasons In New York
Grand anniversary milestones of conservation success stories of the wild turkey in New York
The first fall season held in the fall of 1959 premiered as a three-day either-sex season, limited to two southern tier counties (Allegany and Cattaraugus.)
The first modern day spring turkey season in New York premiered in 1968 and was held in five Southern Tier counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, and Steuben.) It was reported that there were one hundred and thirty five gobblers (males, bearded) successfully tagged in the inaugural modern day season.
The anniversaries are a significant marker in the historical timeline when reviewed against the backdrop of a grand conservation story of the wild turkey and its restoration from nearing the brink of extinction, from alarming low numbers. At the turn of the century (1900's) the logging and farm practices of the day coupled with unrestricted harvesting for individual subsistence and market hunting wreaked havoc on wild turkey flocks. These practices reduced the populations to the point it was thought they were eradicated entirely from New York. Currently, the estimated population in New York would dwarf the estimated population of the entire Continental United States a hundred years ago, dipping as low as an estimated 30,000 birds.
As modern day sportsmen/wildlife conservation practices took hold, they were adopted by state wildlife agencies and implemented across the United States. In the early 1950's efforts were made to introduce farm raised turkeys but with little to no success due to their inability to evade predators. With the adopting of live trapping, furthered by the use of net cannons, the process of trap and transfer began coincidentally in 1959. In the years leading up to these programs, wild turkeys established flourishing populations in Pennsylvania that expanded northward into southwestern New York prompting both a three day fall season and to kick off trap and transfer operations. Since the early trap and transfer program began in Allegheny State Park, turkeys have been reintroduced to nearly every county within the Empire State and reestablished themselves with these efforts, conservation practices, and ethical hunting by sportsmen. Flocks can be found across the entire state in nearly every county including feathered sightings in Manhattan, Staten Island and well established flocks out on Long Island. New York wild turkeys were also used to help restore populations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Province of Ontario.
Although the estimated peak populations are reported to have occurred in the mid to late 1990's with some northern counties peaking five to ten years later, the peak estimates of 250,0000-300,000 birds during the golden age of restoration has pulled back to estimates of 160,000- 180,000 currently. As conservation efforts and research continues, weather impact on brooding success models, land use studies, landholding capacity models, and avian (and other) disease studies are put forth to provide scientific tools for wildlife agencies to help manage populations, set seasons and bag limits to maintain healthy and flourishing populations for many years to come.
We celebrate a grand milestone in the conservation success story of the wild turkey restoration and comeback in New York. The thousands of hours of efforts of wildlife professionals, conservationists, volunteers, modern day hunting practices of ethical sportsmen, funds raised from earmarked taxation of hunting and fishing equipment purchases along with funds raised by thousands of donations, superfund dollars and grants from the National Wild Turkey Federation have made this success story in New York possible.
About Joyner Outdoor Media:
Joyner Outdoor Media was established in 2006 by author Mike Joyner. The company publishes outdoor & hunting themed works, outdoor blogs, in addition to marketing campaigns, event scheduling etc. Joyner Outdoor Media also provides author services including cover design, content formatting, publishing, press release service, website design, and marketing materials.
Located in the hills above the seven valleys of Cortland County, NY, Joyner Outdoor Media operates from a wonderful log home situated in prime turkey woods providing much inspiration. For more information visit: www.joyneroutdoormedia.com
Joyner Outdoor Media