Turkey Hunting in Louisiana

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  • C
  • 40,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 370,528 (20,000 turkey hunters)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Basic Season (excluding Big Game): $15; Big Game: $14; Wild Turkey: $5.50

    Louisiana Wild Turkey license required of all turkey hunters in addition to Basic Season or Big Game licenses.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Basic Season: $150; Big Game: $150; Wild Turkey: $20.50; Turkey (1 day): $36

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

We love Louisiana for its people, lifestyle and culture. The state has a solid duck hunting tradition. Duck hunt the state. Fish it. Enjoy its fine food.

But here at Realtree's Turkey Hunting Nation, we're talking about turkeys.

Some history. According to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), before 1880, Louisiana's estimated wild turkey population was a million birds.

By the 1900s, the state's turkey population saw a steep decline. Starting in 1962, the state initiated a trap-and-transfer restoration program of wild captured turkeys released into suitable habitat.

As noted on the state's website:

During the years following World War II, Louisiana’s eastern wild turkey population was at its lowest point. In 1946 it was reported that only 14 isolated flocks totaling less than 1,500 wild turkeys remained throughout the state. Tireless efforts by LDWF biologists and other staff to restock wild trapped turkeys  resulted in a rebound in Louisiana’s wild turkey population. During this effort, others such as the National Wild Turkey Federation [NWTF], private landowners, and others lended vital support. Today, wild turkeys are distributed across Louisiana and most suitable habitat is occupied.

For a time, solid results were seen from this conservation effort, and numbers grew.

Conservation Challenges

Unfortunately bird numbers have steadily declined of late. Just a handful of years ago, state officials estimated the wild turkey population at 80,000 birds.

As of 2022, according to the NWTF, that number has been cut in half to just 40,000.

We try to keep it honest here, and the fact is, when you consider the declining turkey population, factored in with the limited amount of public land available to turkey hunting, Louisiana has just fair opportunities.

For sure, the state's Wildlife Managment Areas are open to public hunting, but sources say not all hold turkeys or are recommended for turkey hunting.

That said, LDWF’s wildlife management areas offer lottery hunts for youth hunters, physically challenged hunters, disabled veterans, and the general public to hunt alligator, deer, dove, turkey, and waterfowl.

One important note, and it benefits turkey management, is you cannot shoot a bearded hen. Two gobblers per season, one per day, are permitted.

According to the LDWF, up to 20,000 folks pursue wild turkeys in Louisiana each year among licensed hunters. 

Recent harvest data show 5,600 birds were taken during the 2020 season. 

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Louisiana (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

More Realtree turkey hunting.