News and Updates

Hidden Turkey Carcasses Leads To Kingsbury Bust

Friday, May 19, 2017

Spring turkey hunting season started on May 1 and environmental conservation officers have been busy enforcing the rules, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday.

On May 2, a father and son were hunting in Kingsbury when they saw a man shoot at group of the turkeys standing in a field. He killed several birds and dragged their bodies into the woods before leaving, the father told the investigators.

Environmental Conservation Officers Steve Gonyeau and Tom Wensley were sent to investigate and found four dead male birds partially field dressed and hidden under some dead wood, the DEC said. The officers also found empty shells and shotgun wads.

Gonyeau and Wensley followed a trail to a nearby farmhouse and wrote a list of the hunters allowed on the property.

During their visit, a Lake George-based hunter told them he hadn't been hunting that day but did hear shots. But when the officers searched his hunting gear, they allegedly found two small turkey feathers and a bloody pocket knife matching the description the witness had provided, the DEC said.

The officers confronted the man and he admitted to shooting three times, claiming the turkeys were walking in a line and it was an accident that he shot so many at once, the DEC said.

He turned over the turkey meat and was issued tickets for taking more than the daily limit, taking more than the season limit and failing to tag the turkeys. He agreed to settle the case and paid $500 in penalties on May 10.

Spring hunters are allowed to take one turkey per day and two birds per season, which ends May 31. For more information on the hunting regulations, visit the DEC website.

Washington County was one of the top five counties for turkey harvest in 2016.

About 18,500 turkeys were taken by hunters in New York last year — a seven percent decrease from 2015. Last year's numbers were also well below the five- and ten-year spring harvest average (20,500 and 26,000 birds, respectively).

Turkey populations are down "significantly" since early to mid-2000s due to poor reproduction and severe winter weather in three of the last five years, the DEC said.

On this year's turkey season opening day, Environmental Conservation Officer Jim Cranker issued a ticket for hunting a different animal.

Cranker was patrolling Brighton, Franklin County, on foot May 1 when he heard a single gunshot. Soon after, he found a man with a shotgun on the edge of the field and asked to see his hunting license.

The man did not have a current turkey permit but claimed he wasn't hunting turkeys, the DEC said. Instead, he said, he had taken a shot at a coyote stalking a flock of wild turkeys in the field.

"Despite being afield with a shotgun at 8 a.m., prime turkey hunting time, the hunter staunchly maintained he was hunting coyotes," the DEC said.

However, coyote hunting season had ended in March and the man was ticketed for hunting the animal out of season.