Louisiana turkey hunters bag 2,117, best since 2011


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana turkey hunters had their best season in nine years, bagging 2,117 birds from April 4 to May 3.

That’s almost 15% more than last year, and the best since 2,580 birds were harvested in 2011, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Thursday in a news release.

Wild Turkey/Small Game Program Manager Cody Cedotal says the COVID-19 pandemic made the 2020 season unique in many states including Louisiana.

“With the entire state under a stay-at-home order during the time frame, reports indicated increased hunting pressure in some areas, but decreased pressure in others,” he said. In addition to the pandemic, flooding along the Mississippi River, closed some state wildlife management areas.

Cedotal said it’s too early to tell if the increased harvest is a result of change to the season made in 2018, or if people are just hunting more.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission pushed back the start of the turkey season in 2018 in hopes of increasing wild turkey populations by giving the birds more time to breed.

Hunters’ reports this year and last indicated they were seeing more of the adolescent males called jakes, the department said.

“This is an indication of potentially good things to come for 2021,” Cedotal said.

However, he cautioned that intense rain so far during May may have killed some poults, as baby turkeys are called.