Louisiana turkey hunters harvest most birds since reports began in 2009, LDWF announces – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Louisiana’s 2022 turkey harvest was the best since harvest reports began in the state in 2009, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said, with hunters taking 2,846 birds to 1,886 in 2021, an improvement of 50.9%. Four of these birds were captured in Concordia Parish.

Harvesting is based on tag validation data, required by all turkey hunters.

In 2018, the turkey season opening was moved later in an effort to potentially increase breeding and recruitment. This year is the first significant increase in the reported harvest, according to the data, since then.

“Hopefully this increased level of harvest will be maintained or improved in the years to come,” said Cody Cedotal, LDWF Small Game Program Manager. “This would indicate an increase in populations in many parts of the state and may provide evidence that the change in season is working. Ideal weather conditions on the first three weekends of the season, combined with relatively good breeding in parts of the state over the past two years, are likely contributing factors to the increased harvest.

The season started with good weather and an above average harvest reported during the youth weekend and the first two weeks of the season. Even with less than optimal hunting weather over the past two weeks, reported turkey harvests for those weeks are up slightly from previous years’ reports for the same time periods.

Season ratings received from hunters ranged from poor to very good. Many hunters reported increased encounters with jakes, which is an indicator of moderate to good breeding. Similar reports were noted in 2020 and 2021.

Upcoming results from the 2021/2022 Louisiana Big and Small Game Harvest Survey will compare the estimated harvest generated from this survey and assess hunter effort for the 2022 season.

“So far, the results indicated by the reported harvest are extremely encouraging,” Cedotal said. “Even more encouraging is the general dry weather recorded throughout April, potentially creating good nesting and brood-rearing conditions. Hopefully this trend will continue through May and June. Good quality is also essential for the long-term sustainability of turkey populations, so work with your local LDWF biologist and see if additional habitat improvements can be made on your property.

Sharon P. Juarez