Hunting

Resident Small Game Program

The Resident Small Game Program involves management, research and population monitoring activities for bobwhite quail, rabbits, and squirrels. Personnel also develop and participate in the wild turkey research conducted by the Department. Cody Cedotal (ccedotal@wlf.la.gov) coordinates the Resident Small Game Program.

To meet public demands for resident small game, the Resident Small Game Program and Technical Services Program offer technical assistance to improve habitat on public and private lands. Program biologists also conduct research to assess and improve management. Several population monitoring surveys are conducted by regional and program biologists to develop population indices and track population trends of small game species.  Personnel also represent LDWF on various committees which are involved in monitoring and formulating regional and national programs which may have impacts on small game wildlife.

Resident Small Game Seasons

2017 – 18 Schedule

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Quail

Nov. 17 – Feb. 28

10

30

Rabbit

Oct. 6 – Feb. 28

8

24

Squirrel

Oct. 6 – Feb. 28

8

24

May 4 – 27*

3

9

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Consult Wildlife Management Area and Federal Land schedules for specific regulations and dates on those areas.

*Spring squirrel season is CLOSED on the Kisatchie National Forest, National Wildlife Refuges, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property and some state Wildlife Management Areas (check season schedules).

Deer Tag Requirements

Prior to hunting deer, all deer hunters, regardless of age or license status, must obtain deer tags and have them in their possession when hunting deer. Immediately upon harvesting a deer, the hunter must tag the deer with the appropriate carcass tag before moving it from the kill site, and the hunter must document the kill on the harvest report card portion of the deer tag license.

The hunter must record the date of kill and the parish of kill on the carcass tag. The tag must remain attached to the deer while kept at camp, or while it is transported to the domicile of the hunter or to a cold storage facility. Hunters who keep the carcass or meat at camp must also comply with the game possession tag regulations. Within 72 hours, the hunter must validate the kill using the toll-free validation phone number 1-844-522-4325 or online.

Hunters harvesting deer on Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) lands should follow the instructions provided to them by LDWF. When deer check stations are in operation, hunters on wildlife management areas (WMAs) can validate deer during mandatory deer checks.

Turkey Restocking Program

Habitat Assessment

Locating suitable release sites for wild turkeys has been key to the success of Louisiana’s turkey restocking program. Over the years, LDWF received many requests from landowners and sportsmen to stock wild turkeys. LDWF continues to get five to ten requests annually. It has been LDWF's policy for many years that restocking requests be evaluated by a regional biologist and/or Turkey Program Leader prior to being approved. Criteria used in the evaluation are the presence or absence of wild turkeys, distance from presently occupied turkey range to request area, amount of suitable habitat at the release site, support by local residents, land use trends, and potential for expansion.

Restocking Summary

LDWF's trapping and relocation efforts have resulted in the capture and release of 3,856 turkeys. Wild turkeys have been released in 45 parishes since 1963. During the mid-1990s, a total of 766 turkeys (480 captured in-state and 286 received from out-of-state) were released at 35 sites in 20 parishes. Most areas in the state capable of supporting viable wild turkey populations have now been restocked.

Management

Turkey habitat management activities include improving turkey habitat on wildlife management areas and the Kisatchie National Forest as well as providing technical assistance to landowners and managers with an interest in improving turkey habitat on their lands. Habitat management techniques frequently used include maintaining openings, planting fall and spring food plots, hardwood composition enhancement, and, in pinelands, prescribed burning.

Wildlife Division personnel provide recommendations to LDWF on hunting seasons and regulations based on the results of the monitoring programs.

Dove Hunting

2018-2019 Season

South Zone

Sept 1-9, Oct 6 – Nov 25, Dec 16 – Jan 14

North Zone

Sept 1 – 23, Oct 6 – Nov 11, Dec 16 – Jan 14

The dove hunting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on all dates in each split, EXCEPT on Sept. 1 opening day on state wildlife management areas and LDWF leased fields, where the hunting hours will be 12 noon to sunset. 

EXCEPTIONS: Elbow Slough WMA lottery hunt participants will also hunt from ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon on Sept. 1 and 2.

Note that on state wildlife management areas and LDWF leased fields non-toxic shot only is required when hunting doves; no lead shot is allowed.

Dove Hunting Zones

The following boundary divides the state into North and South dove season zones: Beginning at the Texas-Louisiana border on La. Hwy. 12; thence east along La. Hwy. 12 to its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 190; thence east along U.S. Hwy. 190 to its intersection with Interstate 12; thence east along I-12 to its intersection with Interstate 10; then east along I-10 to the Mississippi state line.

Bag Limit

Mourning and white-winged doves and fully dressed Eurasian collared- and ringed turtle-doves: Daily bag limit 15 in aggregate, Possession 45 in aggregate, but note: there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared-doves or ringed turtle-doves provided that a fully feathered wing and head remain attached to the carcass of the bird. Fully dressed Eurasian-collared doves and ringed-turtle doves (those without a fully feathered wing and head naturally attached to the carcass) shall be included in the aggregate bag.

Private Dove Lease Fields

2018-2019 Public Dove Hunting Opportunities on WMAs

 

Population Monitoring and Research

The Wildlife Division conducts/sponsors a number of survey and research projects to keep abreast with turkey populations status, turkey habitat needs, basic biology, harvest, and harvest rates. These include poult surveys, gobbling activity surveys, banding, and radio telemetry. While more complete information about these projects is contained in the turkey program reports, several generalizations can be made as a result of these activities:

  • Brood size has been found to be generally largest in the western longleaf region of the State.
  • Adult gobblers typically make up more than 80% of the reported harvest at check stations on a statewide basis.
  • Turkeys are quite mobile. Movements of 5-plus miles is common in contigous habitat. Two radio-tagged hens moved about 20 miles before radio contact was lost.
  • Gobbling generally increases until the start of hunting season, regardless of the start date.
  • Harvest rate can be highly variable depending on the site, bag limit, and season length.

Program

The Wild Turkey Program includes management, restoration, and population monitoring and research of the wild turkey in Louisiana. In order to meet public demands for this resource, Wildlife Division biologists offer technical assistance to improve habitat on public and private lands for the benefit of the wild turkey. In addition, monies for various projects are made available through LDWF's Wild Turkey Stamp Program and the Louisiana State Chapter of The National Wild Turkey Federation's Super Fund Program. Two population monitoring surveys are conducted to develop population indices and to track population trends of wild turkeys. The Program biologist Cody Cedotal (ccedotal@wlf.la.gov) represents LDWF on several technical committees that are involved in monitoring and formulating regional and national programs that can impact on the wild turkey.

Population Status

Prior to 1880, the wild turkey population in Louisiana was estimated to be as high as one million birds. However, by the turn of the century, the state's turkey population started a precipitous decline. Exploitation of our virgin forests, subsistence hunting, market hunting, and unregulated sport hunting played roles in the declining wild turkey population in the state. By 1946, Louisiana's turkey population was estimated to be only 1,463 turkeys. Beginning in 1962, a restoration program that consisted of trapping and releasing wild captured birds into suitable habitat was initiated. Since that time, the state's wild turkey population has grown to an estimated 80,000 birds.

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