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 northwestern and west central parts of the State and lowest in southeast Louisiana.
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  • Adult gobblers typically make up 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.
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  • No nests were lost due to growing season burning by the U.S. Forest Service, but sample size was extremely small. Nevertheless, areas selected for nesting by hens (sparse woody vegetation with little to no herbaceous cover or predominantly grasses) were not typical of sites selected for growing season burns (dense shrubby or woody dominated mid-story).
     
  • 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.