Home » Outdoors: Louisiana turkey harvest reaches record high since reporting began in 2009

Outdoors: Louisiana turkey harvest reaches record high since reporting began in 2009

by Russell Hedges

By Trey Iles, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Louisiana’s turkey hunters enjoyed the best year by far from a harvest standpoint in 2024 as they reported taking 3,695 birds during the recently completed season, according to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reported harvest data.

This year was the first since harvest reporting was mandated in 2009 that turkey hunters reported harvesting more than 3,000 birds. The previous high was 2,846 reported in 2022. The last three seasons, 2022-24, were the three best since reported harvest data has been compiled. Reported turkey harvest for the 2024 season was 30.4 percent higher than that from 2023, when 2,833 birds were reported.

In 2018, based upon LDWF staff recommendations, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission pushed back the start of turkey season to aid in reproduction and help sustain turkey populations across the state.

“This clearly indicates increasing turkey populations in many areas of the state and provides additional evidence that the season change is working,’’ said LDWF Small Game/Turkey Program Manager Cody Cedotal. “Many hunters indicated increased encounters with jakes (juvenile turkeys), which is an indicator of good reproduction. Similar reports were noted in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.’’

The 2024 season began with a youth and physically challenged hunt on March 29-31. The statewide season ran from April 6-May 5. Cedotal said the season began with above average reported harvest during the youth weekend and the first two weeks of the season despite some adverse weather conditions throughout the state. Reported turkey harvests for the last two weeks of the season increased slightly from previous years’ reports from the same time period.

Forthcoming results from the 2023/2024 Louisiana Big and Small Game Harvest Survey will allow for a comparison of estimated harvest generated from that survey and an assessment of hunter-effort for the 2024 season. 

“Weather conditions have been somewhat wet throughout April in many parts of the state,’’ Cedotal said. “Hopefully a drier trend will prevail through May and into June to benefit nesting and brood rearing conditions. Good quality habitat is also essential for long-term sustainability of turkey populations.’’

Private landowners can assist in upgrading habitat by contacting LDWF Private Land Biologists. For more information, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/private-land-management-assistance.

For more information on Louisiana turkey populations and hunting, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/subhome/turkey or contact Cody Cedotal at [email protected].

Related Posts