ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – The New York State Department of Environment Conservation has proposed changes to turkey hunting regulations and is inviting the public to weigh in.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the proposed changes, announced on April 6, would give hunters more opportunities to hunt turkeys and would establish a spring turkey season on Long Island. The changes will go into effect later this year if they are enacted.

One of the proposed changes would change the minimum shot size for turkey hunting from #8 to #9 across the state, “to account for advances in shotshell technology,” the announcement said. The DEC explained that previously, any shot sizes smaller than #8 were banned because they weren’t powerful enough to “humane harvest” a turkey downrange. However, changes in the metals used in shot types now make #9 tungsten shot as powerful as #5 lead shot, according to the DEC.

“Wild turkey restoration is one of the greatest success stories of modern wildlife conservation,” Commissioner Seggos said. “In New York, DEC’s management and protection of wild turkeys has allowed the birds to maintain self-sustaining populations in all suitable habitats of the state. This regulation change would expand hunting downstate, ensuring New York remains a premiere destination for turkey hunters in the Northeast.”

Another proposed change would create a spring turkey season from May 1 to May 31 in Suffolk County with a limit of one bearded bird for the season. The DEC said adding another season is possible because of the increasing wild turkey populations on Long Island. If enacted, this change would go into effect in 2023.

The DEC is inviting the public to comment on the proposed changes from now until June 5, 2022. Anyone with comments can email wildliferegs@dec.ny.gov with “Proposed Turkey Regulations” in the subject line or can mail Joshua Stiller, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4754.