Youth turkey season looms, still time to get certified

Contributed photo

It’s zero dark thirty and your 12-15-year-old is rousting you from the fog of an early morning deep sleep.

They’re sounding the alarm that you are “going to be late” for opening day. This scenario is likely to be played out in homes all across the state, hours before daylight next Saturday on April 25.

The reason? At precisely 30 minutes before sunrise on that Saturday morning, bearded wild turkeys become fair game with the opening of the 2020 Youth Turkey Season. After being cooped up at home for the past few months, it will be a welcome change to get out of the house out into the woods.

One unforeseen problem is that many prospective youth hunters who signed up to take the required hunter safety course just in time for opening day, had their class cancelled due to the coronavirus.

DEC quickly realized the impact the Covid-19 cancellations had on the Hunter Education Program. They calculate that from March 18 to April 30 there were more than 150 hunter education courses cancelled. Nearly 3,000 would be hunters who already registered would be unable to get their hunting license.

In answer to pleas from instructors, parents, and students asking how they can get kids certified before the 2020 spring turkey season begins, DEC’s Hunter Education Program Administrator, Kelly Stang swiftly sprang into action.

As a result, New York is now offering a fully online hunter education course so that students can get their certificate in time for the fast approaching Youth Turkey Season while in-person classes are suspended.

A notice to that effect was sent to Hunter Ed Instructors statewide. The online course will be available for a limited time, from April 15 through June 30 2020.

DEC also emailed all students who had registered for a hunter education course in March and April that was cancelled due to COVID-19. The email let them know about the online course option if they need to get a hunter education certificate prior to the upcoming season.

The course will cost $19.95 per person. Anyone age 11 or older can take the online course but youth hunters must be between 12 and 15 to hunt. New York State students who successfully complete the course and pass the final exam will get a hunter education certificate.

Starting Wednesday, April 15, the course can be found at

DEC does not keep any of the $19.95 fee which goes directly to the online vendor. Administrators of DEC’s Sportsmen Education Program will revisit the all-online course in June reaffirming the value of in-person instruction. They plan to resume hands-on classes as soon as they are able.

So, with kids and many parents home, it’s a good time to take your online course, sight-in your turkey gun and practice hands-on firearms and hunting safety. The bottom line is there’s still time to get your youth turkey hunter properly credentialed and practiced before for opening day.

You’ll find its been worth the effort right around the first crack of gray dawn, when a big tom breaks the calm with an unmistakable gobble. With a little patience, skill, and luck, you and your youth will soon feel that spit, drum, and gobble resonate deep in your chest.

Then, after giving your youth hunter the green light, at nerve straining, nearly point-blank range, they shoot. Not only will they have bagged an unforgettable tom, but a memory that will last a lifetime.

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

NY Closes All Boat Launches in the State: NYS has closed all boat launches regardless of their jurisdiction. This means all state, county, town and village boat ramps are closed to the public, just in time for striper and fishing season.

This makes absolutely no sense as one of the least likely places in NYS to catch the virus is at a boat ramp or on a boat with your family.

Reminder: 2020 Hudson River Striper Regulation Changes Now in Effect

In the Hudson River and its tributaries:

Slot size limit: 18”- 28” total length

(No fish smaller than 18” or greater than 28” may be kept)

Season dates: April 1st - November 30

Daily possession limit of 1 fish per angler

DEC recommends the use of inline circle hooks but not required until January 2021

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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