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.


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 ( 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.

Turkey Hunting

2019 Turkey Hunting Schedules

Click here to validate you tag or call 1-844-LACHECK.

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

Area A: April 6 - May 5*

Area B: April 6-28*

Area C: April 6-21*

Youth & Physically Challenged Hunt (restricted to youth and wheelchair confined physically challenged hunters - Areas A, B and C on private land only): March 30-31

*Seasons open in Areas A, B, and C on private lands only. See separate Wildlife Management Area schedules, National Wildlife Refuge schedules (below), and Federal Lands schedules for season dates on those areas.


2019 National Wildlife Refuge Schedules

Contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for information regarding NWR hunts:

Bayou Cocodrie NWR: March 30-31 (Youth Lottery Only)

Bogue Chitto NWR: March 30-31 (Youth Only) and April 6-28

Lake Ophelia NWR: March 30 (Youth Lottery Only) and April 6-21

Tensas NWR: March 30-31 (Youth Only) and April 6-21

Upper Ouachita NWR: March 30 (Youth Lottery Only)


For more details on the 2019 turkey season, refer to the latest hunting regulations.

Migratory and Waterfowl

Get Your Federal Electronic Duck Stamp

Effective August 1, 2014, Louisiana waterfowl hunters can purchase a Federal Duck Stamp online and through license vendors.

The Federal Duck Stamp is required for all waterfowl hunters, including those who are not required to purchase a hunting license. Hunters under the age of 16 are exempt. Hunters, who purchase their Federal Duck Stamp online, phone or mobile, will receive a confirmation number. If you purchase your stamp from a retail vendor or LDWF online licensing, you will receive a printed receipt. Both the confirmation number and printed receipt will be accepted as evidence of the purchase for 45 days and must be possessed while hunting waterfowl. The paper stamp will be mailed to the purchaser. The proof of purchase will expire after 45 days from the date of purchase. All Federal Duck Stamps expire on June 30, regardless of when issued.

Latest News

L.D.W.F. Accepting Applications for Waterfowl Group Hunts on White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area for 2010-11 Hunting Seasons

Release Date: 08/11/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for waterfowl group hunts for up to 12 hunters per group on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).

The cost of the 2010-2011 waterfowl season hunts will be $30,000 for each group and the application form is available on the LDWF Web site at Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010. A completed application form and $2,500 deposit must be submitted to LDWF by the close of business on Aug. 31, 2010.

Interested groups must select one, two-day group hunt per application. When selecting dates from the dates offered it is understood that arrival will be the afternoon before.  The two consecutive days of hunting do not include the arrival day, which will be the day before from 3-5 p.m.

LDWF will then select one application by random lottery drawing for each hunt offered. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must submit a separate application for each two-day group hunt they wish to reserve.

Applications must be accompanied by a bank draft, money order or other liquid instrument made payable to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the amount of $2,500. If the application is selected, the deposit is non-refundable, and the applicants will be notified by mail and required to submit the final payment of $27,500 no later than 14 days prior to arrival.

The fee covers up to 12 hunters and includes the following: transportation to and from the airport (Jennings and Lake Charles), all food and beverages, two-night stay at the White Lake Lodge, professional hunting and fishing guides, hunting and fishing licenses, steel shot shotgun shells for waterfowl hunts and lead shot for skeet range, the use of shotguns and fishing gear, bird and fish cleaning and packaging.

On arrival day, hunters will watch a safety film and then be issued hunting and fishing licenses. If time allows they will shoot skeet in the late afternoon hours. Day two starts with a morning waterfowl hunt from 6-9:30 a.m. After the hunt, the group can fish or shoot clay targets on the skeet range or sporting clays course. On day three a morning waterfowl hunt is scheduled from 6-9:30 a.m. and checkout is no later than noon after lunch.

Applications must be mailed to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Group Hunt, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898 (Physical Address: 2000 Quail Drive, Room 458, Baton Rouge, LA 70808). Contact Wayne Sweeney, hunt coordinator, for more information at 337-479-1894.

For more information, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-479-1894. The attached link will be activated 8 a.m. 8/12/2010.



White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area 2010 Teal Season Lottery Announced

Release Date: 07/20/2010


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2010 lottery teal hunts on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Available dates are Saturday, Sept. 11; Sunday, Sept. 12; Tuesday, Sept. 14; Thursday, Sept. 16; Saturday, Sept. 18; Sunday, Sept. 19; Wednesday, Sept. 22; Saturday, Sept. 25; and Sunday, Sept. 26.

Persons 18 years of age or older may now send applications, available on the LDWF Web site and at LDWF headquarters, to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Teal Hunt, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

Applications must be received by close of business on August 16, 2010. A $5 non-refundable administration fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries must accompany each application. Only one application per hunter will be accepted.

Up to two hunters may apply on an application. All hunters must have appropriate licenses, including a basic hunting license (or Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise license), migratory waterfowl conservation license, federal duck stamp and HIP permit.

Successful applicants will be notified and required to submit an additional check or money order for $250 per hunt party. Applications are non-transferrable. Questions regarding the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area lottery teal hunt should be directed to Wayne Sweeney at 337-479-1894.

For more information, contact Buddy Baker at 225-765-2811 or


2011 Turkey Hunting Seasons Dates, Regulations Proposed

Release Date: 07/15/2010


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries proposed the season dates and regulations revisions for the 2011 turkey hunting season at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission's July 8 meeting.

The recommended statewide opening date is Saturday, March 19.  The season in Area A would extend to April 17, Area B to April 10, and Area C to April 3.  The daily bag limit would be one gobbler, and the season limit would be two gobblers. 

Special private land youth hunts for those 17 years of age and younger and hunts for wheelchair confined hunters are proposed to take place on March 12 and 13. The proposal also includes dates for LDWF Wildlife Management Areas and special lottery hunts. 

Public comment on these issues can be submitted to Kenny Ribbeck, Wildlife Division Administrator, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, by Sept. 8, 2010.

For more information, contact Jimmy Stafford at 225-765-2361 or



Release Date: 07/01/2010

Six men were sentenced on April 23 for hunting deer illegally on Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) by the 10th Judicial District Court in Natchitoches Parish.

Robert L. Belsha, 37, Jeremy C. Martin, 23, John D. Redden, 31, Michael L. Sanders Jr., 23, John H. Saucier III, 27, all of Leesville, each pled guilty to possession of an illegally taken deer.  George F. Sheppard, 45, also of Leesville, pled guilty to not abiding by commission rules and regulations.

The men were charged following an investigation into illegal deer being killed during the bucks only segment of deer season on KNF.  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents began the investigation after receiving information that a doe deer had been killed on KNF during a deer hunt with dogs on Dec. 22, 2009. 

As a result of the investigation, agents were able to document six doe deer that were killed illegally by the men using deer dogs from Dec. 19 through Dec. 26, 2009, on KNF.  LDWF agents seized three illegal deer and an antlerless deer tag.

Judge Dee Hawthorne accepted the guilty pleas and issued a suspended sentence of six months in jail to each man.  Martin was fined $600 plus court costs, with each of the others fined $500 plus court costs.  Redden, Sanders, and Sheppard were each ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $524.54 for their illegal deer.  Belsha was ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $1049.08 for two illegal deer.

All six men were also placed on supervised probation for one year or until their fines and restitution are paid in full.  In addition, Judge Hawthorne suspended the hunting privileges of Martin, Sheppard, Redden, Sanders and Belsha for one year.

Lt. Bill Tyree, Sgt. Curt Belton, and Senior Agents Russell Brack, Scotty Delaney, and Eric Droddy participated in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office.

For more information, contact Capt. Peter Oliver at or 318-487-5634.



Release Date: 07/01/2010

On June 23, 2010, two U.S. Army soldiers pled guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court to illegal hunting activities on Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in 2006 and 2007.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) William M. Hutt, 36, of Pitkin, and SFC Andres I. Medrano, 36, of DeRidder, both pled guilty to one count each of taking deer during a closed season and taking turkey during a closed season.  A third defendant, Roderick R. Lowers (U.S. Army retired), 42, of DeRidder, also reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney?s Office in which his charges were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Hutt and Medrano.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division began the investigation in October 2007, after agents received information that soldiers were killing a large number of deer illegally on the Peason Ridge WMA during training exercises. 

Peason Ridge WMA is owned by the U.S. Army and is used for live fire training exercises by the military.  The 20,000-acre WMA is enclosed by a fence and all access points are locked during live fire training for security and safety concerns.  Hutt, Medrano and Lowers used their military positions to keep the WMA locked down after live fire training exercises in order to poach deer and turkey.

Federal Magistrate Kathleen Kay accepted the guilty pleas and ordered both Hutt and Medrano to each pay a fine and court cost in the amount of $1,920.  She also revoked their hunting privileges for five years and placed them on supervised probation for two years. 

Magistrate Kay also ordered the men to pay restitution to LDWF for the illegally taken deer and turkeys.  Hutt is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $7,374.94 for 11 deer and two turkeys.  Medrano is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $6,357.24 for six deer and four turkeys.

Lowers agreement includes a lifetime ban from hunting on government land and to pay restitution to LDWF in the amount of $524.54 for one deer.

Agents seized two 30-30 caliber rifles, a .223 caliber rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, one skinning gambrel and hoist, one 9-point buck deer rack and cape, four turkey gobbler beards, and one turkey leg spur in connection with the case.

LDWF Lt. Bill Tyree initiated and led the investigation and was assisted by Sgt. Curt Belton, Sgt. Joe Dewil, Senior Agent Ronnie Robertson, Specialist Lynn Bennett, and Fort Polk Game Wardens J.E. Haymon and Elton Herring and Stanley Wellman assisted in the case.

For more information, contact Capt. Peter Oliver at 318-487-5634 or


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